How music increases your productivity.
We don’t have to be musicians to love music or for music to play an important role in our lives. I haven’t met a person who dislikes music, and that does not come as a surprise.
After all, who doesn’t love music? Not only is music a form of entertainment, but music is also good for us. Over the decades, there has been growing research evidence showing the endless benefits of music. In this article, I will be focusing on how music increases productivity.
Music & The Brain
Before I move on to what types of music are excellent for boosting productivity, let’s explore the basics about sounds and how our bodies interact with them.
Apart from our ears, the other key player in our body’s interaction with music is the brain. Our brain is a walnut-shaped organ made up of many regions that cross-communicate to allow us to interact with our environment.
The region that processes sound is called the auditory cortex.
When a sound is produced, our ears receive this input and pass it to the auditory cortex. From here, a cascade of complex processes occur in our brain, and this system is what enables us to perceive what we hear and react accordingly.
Now that we have a general idea about what happens when we listen to music, let’s dive into what and how music increases your productivity.
Music For Productivity
As the music body continues to evolve through generations, there is now a a long list of music genres that exist today. However, not all music are good for our productivity, and research has given us some suggestions. So what music should we listen to when we study or work?
Classical music simply refers to music composed in the classical period (roughly between 1730AD and 1820AD) and one particularly famous composer of this era is Wolfgang Mozart.
The Mozart effect is a well-known theory claims that listening to Mozart’s music makes you smarter.
In 1993, scientists at the University of California concluded from their study that listening to Mozart’s pieces significantly improved spatial reasoning skills for 10-15 minutes compared to silence or other relaxation audios.
However, subsequent research showed that this effect was not consistent across studies and the evidence that listening to Mozart directly raises intelligence levels is inconclusive.
Despite this, Mozart’s music, or classical music in general, is still a popular choice for productivity music. This is attributed to the calming and stress-reducing effects that classical music listening provides, which leads to us being able to have a clearer headspace to work effectively.
Until this day, parents still play Mozart to their young children and my friends still listen to classical sonatas before a test to calm their nerves.
You’ve probably heard about LoFi music and the hype around its effectiveness in enhancing focus levels, but what is it exactly?
LoFi has a unique style which fuses elements from Jazz, HipHop, and Electronica.
LoFi music began to gain popularity in the 1990s and is short for “Low Fidelity”. Interestingly, the fidelity of a music production refers to its quality, thus low fidelity means poor quality music.
But as absurd as it sounds, it’s true; LoFi music contains distorted elements and sounds that are considered imperfections. The producers intended to include these elements and deliberately make them audible to us.
Now onto the real question: what makes LoFi good for studying? It turns out that the deliberate technical flaws in LoFi music is the answer: when our brain picks out the sound differences in LoFi music, it enters into a focus mode which supports the claims that LoFi music is an effective study music.
Other than classical and LoFi music, 432 hertz (hz) music is also popular among many for its calming effects. Hertz (hz) is the unit for frequency, and music frequency is essentially music pitch; the higher the music frequency, the higher the pitch. For a deeper understanding on the history and derivation of this value, you can read this article.
Musicians and theorists have claimed that listening to 432hz music has beneficial effects on our bodies. Although there have been debates around the frequency (some believe it should be 440hz, others 438hz), the general consensus is 432.
There are two reasons for this. Firstly, 432hz is “mathematically consistent with the patterns of the universe, vibrating with Phi, the Golden Ratio” and thus considered magical. Secondly, 432hz oscillates with the documented natural frequency of our universe. Therefore, many people believe that music tuned to 432hz possess healing and calming powers, which increases concentration.
Now that I’ve explained some types of music that are potentially suitable to be our study companions, I’d like to share with you my recommendations on study music playlists.
Study Playlist Recommendations
When it comes to tasks that require more focus such as memorising information, I prefer listening to instrumentals. I’ve been listening to RelaxDaily for the longest time; throughout the 4 years that I was in secondary school, this was my go-to study playlist.
Back then, I had to listen to it on YouTube, but you can now find it on Spotify too. I listened to this so often that it became my “focus button” – the moment this playlist started, I automatically entered into study mood.
The second playlist is, of course, LoFi music. The first time i came across LoFi music was in 2017 from a YouTube channel called ChilledCow, which is now known as LoFi Girl. My favourite playlist is titled 1 A.M study session, and I usually only listen to this playlist when I do night study sessions. Lofi Girl is also on Spotify, but you’ll miss out on having the iconic LoFi Girl as a study companion.
Lastly, I love listening to movie theme songs, especially during the last stretch leading up to exams. While, these songs do not fit into any of the categories I’ve mentioned, they contain an inspirational element, and have never failed to keep me focused for hours.
Hans Zimmer, who is a film score composer for over 40 movie theme songs, is number one for me. Some of my all-time favourites by him are Time from the movie Inception and Tennessee from Pearl Harbour. Apart from songs by Hans Zimmer, there are plenty of other excellent movie theme songs, and a particularly good playlist on Spotify is called Inspirational movie theme song.
There you have it: how music increases your productivity. Certain types of music are effective in helping us to improve focus while others are excellent in soothing our nerves or helping us stay motivated. Ultimately, music has the potential to enable us to achieve a better state of mind to work more effectively.
Having said that, I believe that it all comes down to individual choices; no matter how much research evidence praises a particular music, it won’t work if you don’t like it. So listen to any music you like. After all, music is neither the golden pill to attaining maximum productivity nor is it the magic bullet that destroys all productivity.
I hope you’ve found this article helpful!
If you’d like some recommendations on the best productivity apps for students, you can check out this article.