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The best music to listen to while you work or study



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You have probably heard that classical music is good for studying, doing tests and working creatively. This idea stems from the "Mozart effect", a term that came up in 1

993 when scientists discovered that listening to Mozart & # 39; s Sonata for 10 minutes resulted in better spatial reasoning skills – a certain kind of intelligence involving images in your brain be visualized and manipulated.

The findings in that 1993 study, however, were blown out of proportion and classical music became synonymous with intelligence: so synonymous that in 1998 the then governor of Georgia Zell Miller proposed a classic cassette tape to every baby born in the state, free of charge, so that the baby & # 39; s would become smart.

Although the Mozart effect has since been more or less debunked, some experts still claim that music can offer our brains other benefits, namely concentration and productivity.

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How can music help us to concentrate?

Consider these few reasons why music can help you by browsing your to-do list:

Generating Positive Emotions: People are usually more productive and efficient when happy (recent research confirms this), and the right kind music can put a little spice in your step. In fact, people who listen to music are generally happier than people who don't listen to music.

You feel cheerful: Sometimes work and life feel boring. If you are bored, a cheerful tune can make somber tasks more attractive.

Another noise is drowned out: If you have ever worked in a coffee shop or office with an open floor plan, you have probably been driven to the wall by the sound of someone sniffing or shuffling their feet. Listening to music, in particular through good headphones can drown out distracting sounds.

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If you cannot tolerate the sounds of your working environment, use music to drown them out. Sarah Tew / CNET

Can music really make you more productive?

Research into music for productivity is not convincing to say the least. Some studies show that background music can improve your episodic memory and overall cognitive performance, but other research suggests that background music can actually be a disadvantage for your ability to concentrate and learn. Still others say that it has no effect somehow.

There are factors that also influence background music: some studies suggest that background music should be text-free to promote productivity; other studies simply say that whether music helps to concentrate depends on how much an employee loves the music or not.

Note that the studies discussed in this section measure slightly differently than the aforementioned Mozart effect. While the Mozart effect measures the ability of music to improve intelligence after the music stops playing, music investigates productivity for background music or music being played while your attention is focused on something else (your work).

What kind of music helps us to focus?

With no real scientific consensus in mind, it is worth looking at the handful of research studies into different types of music and their ability to help with concentration.

Classical music

Despite the hassle of the Mozart effect, some studies still suggest that classical music can help people learn and focus (just not as impressive as the 1990s would believe). For example, one study found that students who listened to classical music during the lecture learned more than students who listened to the same lecture without classical music. However, some studies suggest that classical (or any type of complex) music is best when performing simple tasks, rather than complicated ones.

Ambient music

Ambient music is a style of soft, tone-based music that uses ambient sounds such as the humming of an air conditioner or the murmur of TV noise. Ambient music often lacks a real beat, usually has no lyrics and becomes the already existing background noise – this is why environmental sounds such as white noise are often used with sleeping aids .

A study found that white noise can help people with ADHD to ignore noisy environments and perform tasks more efficiently. However, there is still a lot of work to be done when it comes to understanding when ambient noise helps and when not, according to recent research from the University of Alberta.

Nature Sounds

We already know that spending time in nature is good for our physical health. It appears that listening to natural sounds, even when you are stuck in an office, can stimulate your mood and promote deep focus. Researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York discovered that calming natural noises, such as rainfall, can mask intrusive noises and help employees stay on their way.

This Nature Sounds playlist on Spotify has more than a million monthly listeners, a good indication that the playlist works for something, whether it's relaxation, sleep or focus.

What type of music you should avoid

Just as certain music styles can help you focus and get things done, other styles can sabotage your efforts, no matter how strong your work ethic is. There is no research that explicitly compares the effects of different types of music on productivity, but most people can probably agree that it is best to avoid distracting styles, such as dubstep music and heavy metal, while working .

But it really all comes down to personal preference. And it's not like experimenting with background music can really hurt – we are talking about music here, not whether a food additive is safe or not . The worst result is a slow day at work and maybe a bit of scolding from your boss.

You must know yourself well enough to understand which types of music and sounds help you focus, and which do not. If you find yourself struggling to concentrate with the classic 80s rock in the background, it might be a good idea to switch off the Guns N & # 39; Roses and switch to something with less electrical power guitar.

It is worth experimenting to find out what kind of music helps you focus. Personally, I cannot listen to music, regardless of style or tempo, that has lyrics. I tried and failed. I just get too caught up in the words and can't concentrate on the task I have to perform.

Instead, I have discovered that I am concentrating much better when listening to soft electronic music or natural sounds (especially rain and waterfalls). Some of my most productive days are the result of simply turning on a floor fan to block out disturbing noises.

Ultimately, as with all things, do what works best for you.

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a doctor or other qualified health care professional for any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.


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