What’s the science behind music and concentration?
When you need to concentrate, adding extra noise to the equation sounds like the last thing you’d want to do. However, music can be used to distance you from distractions around you.
It is believed by some that we have two ‘attention systems’, one which is linked to our conscious attention – e.g. what we’re choosing to focus on – and one which is our subconscious attention, listening to the noises around us that may signify a need to react or escape.
As a result, it can be hard not to feel distracted when you’re working in a potentially noisy environment like an agency or café because your brain is trying to filter through all the different sounds. That’s where music comes in.
Music can be used to drown out the distractions of your subconscious attention, making it easier for you to focus on your work.
What kind of music helps concentration?
According to Northcentral University, there are a number of music recommendations for maximum concentration:
- Go classical – You may not want to go to a symphony concert, but the soothing sounds of classical orchestra music seem to increase mood and productivity.
- Consider tempo – Music with 60-70 beats per minute like Beethoven’s Fur Elise appears to help you focus for longer and retain more information.
- Spa music – Ambient sounds that you would expect to hear on a soundtrack during a spa treatment can help you relax.
- Nature sounds – Like ambient music, the sounds of babbling brooks, birds, wind and rain are very calming and make great background noise.
- Electronic music – New Age and ambient EDM music are a good choice for those who don’t like classical. Any music with little to no lyrics is best.
- Sound control – The volume of your study music is key. Don’t drown out your own thoughts. Remember, it’s supposed to be in the background.
Does it really work?
I can’t say it works for everyone, but I can say that it’s working for me right now.
When I first started putting this blog together, I was listening to K-Pop (Korean pop). It’s fast-paced, catchy, and I can’t understand a word of it, yet I still love it. However, according to everything above… it’s too up-tempo to help me concentrate.
So, I switched to the sound of rain. The sounds of the agency and the outside world have drifted away, hidden under the gentle pitter-patter of nature, but it’s obviously not so catchy that I feel I need to throw any shapes. Perfect.
Listen to our playlists
We decided to have a little fun and make a few playlists of our own. They may be a bit too much fun to keep you focused, but have a listen and see which department you could see yourself singing along with…