Music is powerful. It can influence emotions, the atmosphere of a room and a person’s relationship to the world around them. But did you know that music could potentially lead to higher levels of concentration, attention to detail and work performance?
A study carried out in 2009 was conducted to investigate the correlation between work concentration level and background music by having participants take a variety of attention tests to measure their focus before, after and having not listened to motivating or ‘concentration’ background music.
The testing group consisted of thirty-two college students who were separated into three controlled groups, and all were given the attention test. Group A listened to background music while being tested for 10 minutes; group B had no background music at all; and group C listened to the music for 10 minutes prior to the attention test. The test was conducted in a "noise free" environment.
The findings showed that, in comparison with group B ("no music at all"), group C (those who listened to music prior to testing) obtained higher scores in attentiveness – most probably a supplemental effect of the music. But group A (those who listened to music during the attention test) showed extremely high levels of variation in attention test scoring. This shows that background music does affect people's job-site behaviour. In fact, all three test conditions – no background music at all, background music before the work shift, and background music during work – have all affected worker performance on different levels;
Group C (music prior to test) ranked the highest (with 138.0); then group B (no music) followed in (with 131.1); then group A (music during test) was last (with 114.63). Therefore listening to concentration music before beginning a task seems to be the way to be the most productive! Stick it on while making your morning coffee or having breakfast. While getting dressed, or while setting up for the day’s work.
The theory behind music stimulating better work performance is that music is transmitted directly to the human cerebral cortex, and when music is played mood and emotion are elevated. This transmission triggers an endorphin rush which ‘subsequently diminish[es] the level of pain or anxiety, as well as increasing “happiness”’, which therefore increases positive attitude towards the task at hand. The researchers analysed ‘the pattern of brain waves’ and ‘discovered that Western style classical music increases the section of a brain wave; making an uptight and nervous person, relax and calm down’.
So it’s time to pop on your Mozart and get to work!
This is great news for people working from home right now. With the home environment so disrupted by the collision of work and home life, everyone is finding concentrating difficult these days – never mind the pandemic casually happening in the background! We miss the office atmosphere, having coworkers around us to bounce off of and motivate us. But in the meantime, until we can get back to the office, some of these Spotify playlists might be able to help with your concentration levels – let us know which was your favourite!
Concentration Maximum – Spotify
Full of chilled, relaxing piano solos, this contemporary playlist features simple but modern music that slows everything down for a little while.
Featuring over 1000 instrumental and piano classical songs, this no-vocals playlist is intended to create an atmosphere of focus. Updated regularly and featuring over 100 ours of songs, this playlist has classical artists like Schubert and Brahms alongside classic movie and TV scores from the likes of Hans Zimmer’s ‘The Pacific’ and Thomas Newman’s ‘The Shawshank Redemption’.
Electronic Concentration – Spotify
If classical isn’t really your thing and the sound of a piano juts doesn’t chill you out, then a gawk at Spotify’s Electronic Concentration might be for you. Less chilled than the others and more focused on motivation, the pulsing but quiet and persistent beats might just be the thing to get you raring to go!
Natural Concentration – Spotify
Maybe music concentration methods aren’t for you at all. Maybe you want to be a little more in touch with nature, whether you’re under the harsh office fluorescents or sitting in your home office. This nature playlist has a litany of soothing sounds, waves crashing on the shore, birds by the brook, rain falling on trees and plenty more to bring a little oasis of calm into your day.
Instrumental Study – Spotify
This relaxing piano instrumental playlist pulls from a variety of artists, all united in their musical vision; soft soothing pieces. Intricate but not fussy, this music helps create an atmosphere of focused calm.
Workday Jazz – Spotify
If some smooth jazz is more your thing, then this workday Jazz playlist might just be everything that’s been missing form your work from home routine. A playlist filled with soft jazzy piano pieces, these reimaginings of classics like ‘Moon River’ and ‘Send in the ‘Clowns’ will have you humming along as you work.
Deadline Drums – Spotify
Are you someone who works well under pressure? Then boy, is this the playlist for you! A pulsing playlist full of rhythmic African beats, the pounding motivates and quickens the pulse to meet that deadline!