Many people have used binaural beats set in music to help them with studying, sleeping, and creating. It was Heinrich Wilhelm Dove in 1839 that discovered the brainwaves or binaural beats, but it was not until 1973 when Scientific America produced Auditory Beats in the Brain written by Gerald Oster. It was at this time when there was some exciting ways that the beats could be used therapeutically, but it was not until later when The Monroe Institute, founded by Robert Monroe set out to produce recordings that reproduced the four main brainwave frequencies.
The brainwaves that occur naturally in the brain are alpha frequencies, which occurs at 8hz – 13.9hz, theta brainwaves occurs at 4Hz to 7.9Hz, beta frequencies at 14Hz to 30Hz, and delta frequencies at 0.1Hz to 3.9Hz. The different brainwave frequencies produces different functions in the brain. For instance, when the brain is sleeping, it is in delta state, which is a very relaxed state, while beta brainwaves deal with the awakened mind, when the mind is at its sharpest.
Many companies and individuals produce music that includes one of the beats. For instance, if you need to feel alert but you are very sluggish, you could listen to beta brainwave frequencies and the idea is that your brain is then forced into the beta state, making you feel more alert. This is especially useful for students that study long hours or professionals that work extended hours.
Can the brain be forced into a state? It depends on who you ask, if you are a skeptic, and you feel sleepy but want to be in the beta state, putting on headphones with beta binaural beats, is probably not going to do much for you because your subconscious mind is resistant. However, for children that are hyperactive, many parents believe that having specific binaural beats put to music in their home or vehicle does indeed calm their child since children are much more receptive naturally and it isn't something that is being forced upon them.
Currently, binaural brainwave beats is not something that the public school system uses to keep their students in a beta state, and even if they attempted to do so, it would cause too many problems. Parents may feel the school system is playing with the natural rhythm of the brainwaves, so no one knows for sure if it works in a school setting and it is hard to imagine any research going on in schools.
On the other hand, adults that wish to attempt to alter their current brainwave state, can certainly experiment on themselves by listening to music with binaural beats. Many people are convinced that it works and others are on the fence and not convinced one way or the other. The truth is, the human brain does in fact naturally go through the four binaural beats everyday when you are asleep, relaxed, alert, and creative. Lastly, listening to binaural beats is certainly worthy of investigation to help you with creativity, alertness, relaxation, or sleeping patterns.