Using Music to Increase Brain Power and Enhance Performance
Music is medicine for your brain. It benefits your mind in so many ways such as stress relief and increased concentration. In my own life I have found that music therapy reduced anxiety, pain, blood pressure, and improved my sleep quality and mood.
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This post contains a "Secret Sauce" section. The Secret Sauce is a section that I dedicate to personal recommendations, 'ninja tips', and links to secret resources that I use.
- Keep reading or skip-down to the secret sauce.
According to a Johns Hopkins otolaryngologist, “If you want to keep your brain engaged throughout the aging process, playing music is a great tool. It provides a total brain workout.”
Brain and Music - Where Is The Connection?
One of John Hopkins otolaryngologist said the following about music “it is structural, mathematical and architectural. It's based on relationships between one note and the next. You may not be aware of it, but your brain has to do a lot of computing to make sense of it.”
Over the past few years, experts have tried to understand the brain-music connection. What they found out is that when listening to music, the sound waves generated by a stereo get inside the ear canal. From the eardrum, sound drifts via the auditory pathways where the pitch is registered in the language center. Also, the musical notes and rhythm resonate through the motor regions and the brain. Basically, the brain lights up when listening to music.
To find the brain and music connection, Johns Hopkins researchers gathered dozens of rappers and jazz performers. These musicians played music inside a functional magnetic resonance imaging machine. The reason for doing so was to find out which areas of the brains get excited when music is played.
In a study conducted at the Stanford Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience Laboratory, researchers discovered that music plays a critical role in our brains. Not only does it engage sections of the brain that control your attention span but also your memory. According to the researchers, peak brain activity was experienced “during a short period of silence between musical movements.”
The Power of Music
If you are struggling with productivity and the ability to process complex information, listening to music can help you concentrate.
Here are three music strategies that will give you a major boost in concentration, and productivity.
Relax with Classical Music
Ever heard of the “Mozart Effect?” It’s the idea that if children listen to classical Mozart’s music, it helps to boost their intelligence. The idea started around 1991 and is based on a study where listening to classical music boosts brain power.
Several experts have carried out studies to find out if classical music can indeed help to boost brain power. What they discovered is that it enhances one’s ability to solve spatial puzzles and even manipulate shapes.
One of the factors that contributes to this is the absence of words in classical music. Researchers discovered that music with lyrics is distracting compared to classical music. As such, it is relaxing, calming and also helps to relieve stress and anxiety.
One selection from the classical music genre is Beethoven’s ‘Fur Elise.” Students who listened to this music have displayed the ability to retain more information and study for longer. Other classical selections that can help include:
- Vivaldi’s quick temp “Four Seasons”
- 6 Hour Mozart Piano Classical Music Studying Playlist
- Bach Classical Study Playlist
Here is something you can try. Play the above playlists together.
Listen to Customized Instrumental Music
Thanks to technology, you can now listen to customized instrumental music that helps focus your attention and increase memory retention. It gets even better. You can listen to customized music while writing, working or reading.
Focus@Will is not your usual music streaming service. The company specializes in curating music tracks exclusively to improve your brain power allowing you to focus at work. Since this is not an entertainment company, Focus@Will has proprietary music channels based on neuroscience. According to the company, their instrumental music calms the limbic system. This is the part of the brain that regulates memory and emotion. As such, it allows the listener to focus.
There are several characteristics that the app considers in order to influence your brain for the better. These characteristics include:
- Musical key
- Recording style
- Emotional value
Their music is optimized by world-class scientists, producers, and musicologists based on research and study. Focus@Will tracks your usage so as to adapt to your individual needs.
Basically, the customized music works with your brainwave patterns to improve your focus, memory retention and learning.
Be One With Sounds Of Nature
Listening to nature sounds like flowing water can help to improve your concentration and enhance brain power. The reason that nature sounds work best is that they have a soothing and calming effect, unlike bird and animal noises which are distracting.
According to a 2015 study published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, sounds of nature boost memory and mood. In the study, researchers sought to find out the effect of sound masking with sounds of nature in open plan offices. Using sound field analysis via an auditory model and psychological data, researchers discovered that nature sounds improve concentration and work satisfaction.
Scientific evidence has shown that listening to music - specifically classical music, customized instrumental music and nature sounds - boost brain power. Not only that but you will also enjoy the following benefits - increased productivity, improved memory retention, lower stress, and anxiety levels.
Apart from the music above, you can also listen to your favorite playlist. If you listen to music that you enjoy, research has shown that it can improve your productivity and mood. This is based on research at the University of Miami. Personal choice in music is very important. Not only will you be able to complete projects faster but you will feel better, and even come up with better ideas.So, the next time you have a big project at hand, simply take your favorite listening device, cue up a good music playlist or use our recommended playlist above and power through. You will be amazed by your high level of concentration and improved mood.
If you’ve come here for the secret sauce, then I have quite the treat for you. Here are my favorite music therapy tracks:
- the Solfeggio Healing Tones – these are advanced audio frequencies that are claimed to provide incredible benefits. Caution: These tones are Advanced but worth exploring.
- the “Brain Power” tracks by Brain Sync – perfect for focusing your mind, diving into deep thought, and developing mental clarity.
- the Thundering Rainstorm – great for relaxation and sleep therapy.