Music is an invaluable companion throughout life for most people. It can enhance your experiences, provide a backing track for your life’s events and moments, bring joy, excitement, and sorrow and enable all kinds of other emotions to flow.
It’s well-known that music can evoke feelings and sensations. However, does it work for increasing your concentration and focus?
At first glance, it may be difficult to tell. For instance, you may have wanted to prepare for an exam while your neighbor was listening to heavy metal tunes and find it excruciatingly difficult. Or, a dedicated drummer banging their drum kit might be too much to bear while you’re trying to focus on a task.
Even if you listen to your favorite music, it can sometimes feel difficult to concentrate on something else while you’re paying attention to the songs or singing the lyrics in your head.
However unlikely it may seem, there is research that suggests that music can, and indeed is, a great tool for enhancing concentration.
According to a Stanford study, “Music moves the brain to pay attention.” While using classical music in a study, researchers discovered that music engaged the areas of the brain which are responsible for paying attention and making predictions.
More interestingly, they found out that some techniques that composers like Bach and Mozart used, help the brain to organize incoming information. This is critical when staying in focus.
This can be because of the many physiological changes that occur when listening to music. According to Dr Masha Godkin, music activates both the left and right brain hemispheres at the same time. This maximizes your brain’s capabilities of learning and remembering things. It also affects your blood pressure and heart rate.
This is great news for anybody with concentration problems, and it’s not useful just for studying or learning. It can help in many situations where there are distractions, such as casinos.
It’s very likely that if you visit any of the casinos listed on casinos.comand play, you’ll notice that many distracting elements can reduce your performance. However, if you decide to listen to slow music with 60/70 BPM (beats per minute), it can help you retain more information, which is crucial when playing certain card games.
There’s an additional reason why listening to music is helpful in this regard. In another study, basketball players performed significantly better if they listened to catchy and upbeat music before their game.
Additionally, musical activity is a cognitive exercise that trains the brain for future challenges. By using music, you’ll be better prepared to handle complicated tasks and it may even lessen the possibility of having Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia in the future.
Other research indicates that music is also connected to memory and emotion. It was confirmed in a study by Petr Janata which found that it helps to retrieve memories. This is also crucial when staying in focus and concentrating.
In another study from the same researcher, functional MRIs of students’ brains were captured as they listened to their favorite childhood songs. Afterwards, they responded to questions on whether they knew the songs, if they were enjoyable, etc. The study revealed that memory, emotions and music are linked.
Because music is linked to emotions, it helps to listen to your favorite music because you have emotions attached to it. Along with mindfulness and other techniques, it can help you manage your mood. Even though you might be inclined to listen to a specific type of music, if you leave preferences aside, there are some genres which are better for concentrating. Some features are shared in most concentration-friendly genressuch as a lack of lyrics and ambience-like sounds. Here are some of them:
- Jazz: This genre can boost your creativity and reduce stress. However, for better results, it’s preferable to listen to mellower jazz and not upbeat tunes.
- Lofi Hip Hop: Because of the low BPM and lack of lyrics, this is another good genre for concentration.
- Electronic Music: Ambient EDM, New Age and other downbeat genres are great for concentration and staying in focus.
- Classical: Symphonic music is believed to improve your mood and increase your productivity, which goes hand in hand with staying in focus.
Hopefully, you can see a pattern here. When you need to concentrate, it’s better to use music with no lyrics, low BPMs and unobtrusive sounds.
Even though music is a great tool when focusing, there are some drawbacks. Like any tool, it needs to be used properly to get the best results. After all, you wouldn’t use a hammer as a paperweight, right? Here are some cases against using music for concentration.
Music can distract you, and this is one of the most obvious things everyday experience tells you. Even though this is great when you feel stressed or sad, it can keep your focus away from the task at hand.
The best way to solve this is by listening to music according to the parameters mentioned above. Loud or fast music, or lyrics that you enjoy a lot can be detrimental.
Music that can trigger constant interruptions in your attention can make it difficult to understand reading material. This, as you probably guessed, is more of a problem with fast and loud music.
Again, unobtrusive music can enhance your reading comprehension, so choosing the right genre is key.
There are many reasons why you should listen to music, and these go far beyond enjoyment. Music can exert a positive influence on many cognitive tasks and be a helpful ally when in need of concentration.
That said, always consider how distracting a particular song or genre is before using it for focusing purposes. Also, consider that everything mentioned in this text works well as general rules but each individual experiences music differently. Experimenting is key to finding out what works best for you.