When you’re listening to Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 4 or Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, you don’t want inferior headphones marring your listening enjoyment.
If you’re a lover of music, you can’t afford to do anything rash when it comes to buying equipment to enhance your listening pleasure. This is of particular importance if you use music to enhance your productivity or concentration.
You just have to look around the workplace – music has become a big part of the modern-day office. If it were hampering productivity in any way, the practice of donning headphones and listening to music while working would have been stopped long ago.
Noisy Chatter or Soothing Music?
The open-plan office is always noisy, and listening to the inane chatter and laughter of colleagues is enough to halt productivity in its tracks. It’s either that or the peace of shutting that sound out and allowing the music to take over.
It just happens that for years scientists have been looking at the effects of music on the brain and whether it indeed assists with work productivity.
Research on music and productivity is still fairly new, with findings being fairly preliminary, and sometimes conflicting. Just look at yourself though. Music that you love has the power to uplift you and improve your mood. Certainly, instrumental music as opposed to music with lyrics seems to improve one’s ability to concentrate on the task at hand.
Music can lift depression towards Productivity
When you do research, your findings will reveal that music has a strong impact on our emotions. Research also suggests that music can actually help with anxiety and depression. It’s a known fact that being depressed is debilitating. People who are depressed just aren’t motivated to do anything.
There is a certain niche of research known as neuromusicology which looks at how the nervous system responds to music. The number of brain areas activated by music isn’t the same for everyone. How music impacts your ability to concentrate will vary from person to person.
For the most part, research suggests that listening to music can improve creativity and efficiency, but that it was best to avoid music with lyrics when working on tasks that require intense concentration.
Silence can be golden or isolating
So many students complain that they just can’t concentrate, but the trick is to use the right strategies to unlock that ability to concentrate.
The Tremeloes ‘Silence is Golden’ reached number 1 on the UK’s Singles chart way back in the 1960s. Silence can be golden indeed, but is that silence conducive to good study sessions? Isn’t that morbid silence isolating?
Music has positive effects on the human Brain
Studies show that music produces a number of positive effects on the human brain. Both the left- and right brain are activated, and it’s this activation of both hemispheres that maximizes learning, improves memory and enhances productivity.
It was Dr. Costas Karageorghis, a sports psychologist and a leading expert on the effects of music and performance that said in one of his studies that music could increase the performance of a runner by as much as 15%.
Music can have a dopaminergic effect on the brain. Dopamine stimulates the prefrontal cortex. It is this part of the brain that is responsible for organizing and planning as well as the ability to be more productive.
Listen to familiar music
It will be beneficial to listen to music that you love and are familiar with when studying. The reason for this is that new music might have you concentrating too much on the music and not on your studies.
You want to listen intently so as not to miss anything. With familiar music, you know what’s coming and concentrating on what lies ahead doesn’t become your primary focus.
Apart from reducing stress, there are medical schools that actually encourage students to listen to music. Students are stressed when it comes to studying, and soothing music can decrease heart rate and anxiety levels.
Headphones allow for unhindered productivity
Thank goodness for cutting edge TV headphones because they make it possible to literally immerse yourself into music presented on TV without bothering anyone around you. You also don’t have to be bound to the proximity of the TV. With bluetooth technology, students and everyone else love that they can still be out and about doing stuff.
When you’ve found the headphones you fancy, you can still be productive, as the wireless headphones mean flexibility instead of being desk-bound.
An expert in the music therapy program at the University of Miami does research on the effect of listening to music and how it affects work performance. The expert says that those who listened to good music completed their tasks more quickly than those who didn’t.
But what is ‘good’ music you may add? After all, there’s that saying ‘different strokes for different folks’. It goes without saying that Death Metal, a subgenre of heavy metal music, emo, punk and screamo for instance, characterized by chaotic, heavy sounds, will stir and agitate instead of soothing and calming.
Even experts differ on opinions
It has been claimed by many that extreme music leads to anger, perhaps because of the negative lyrics which just serve to distract. Then again there are many who claim that violent music doesn’t influence listeners one bit.
Music certainly isn’t a one-size-fits-all types of entertainment, but there are certain types of music that are better to listen to if you want to study or you’re busy at your computer with an assignment.
Nothing should stop you benefiting from music
No need to make your study or work times boring and quiet. Associate professor of music education at the University of Miami, Teresa Lesiuk says that the connection between listening to music you like and a better mood is strong.
She went on to say that about 90% of the time people have positive experiences when listening to music they love, and being upbeat is helpful for being productive and getting more work done.
1. McGrawHill. The scientific study of the effects of music on the brain. Available at https://www.accessscience.com/content/neuromusicology/449970
2. Florida National University.The Benefits of Studying with Music.
Available at https://www.fnu.edu/benefits-studying-music/
3. ScienceNewsfortudents.Explainer: What is dopamine?. Available at https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/explainer-what-dopamine
4. Brunel University London. Music increases exercise endurance by 15 per cent
Avaiable at https://www.brunel.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/articles/Music-increases-exercise-endurance-by-15-per-cent
5. Longwood Seminar Music. Music as Medicine: The impact of healing harmonies. Available at https://hms.harvard.edu/sites/default/files/assets/Sites/Longwood_Seminars/Longwood%20Seminar%20Music%20Reading%20Pack.pdf
6. Sage Jurnals.The effect of music listening on work performance. Available at https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0305735605050650
7. BusinessInsider.Listening to music at work can make you more productive, according to research. Available at https://www.businessinsider.com/listening-to-music-at-work-can-make-you-more-productive-2018-4?IR=T