Your Musical Self

Using music to learn, heal, and live

Music and Productivity: 5 Ideas for Using Music To Boost Performance

Does listening to music boost productivity? It's an interesting question. The research is inconclusive, but based on what we know about music's effect on our brain, here are 5 ideas for the most effective music to use. Read More

Music as Walls

Lately I've been experimenting with using music as walls. I'm working in a new environment where there is a lot of distracting noise. If I choose the right music I find I can totally block out all the distractions and isolate myself in my workspace.

That means I'm using music as walls! Cool!

Musicians and productivity?

I enjoyed your article! It's too bad that so few studies have been done and that the results are somewhat inconclusive. I also think it would be very interesting if a study were done to see if those individuals who are musicians (individuals who play musical instruments as a hobby, or who compose music) tend to be more productive workers or students.

Thank you for including the tips about tempo, instrumental music as opposed to music with words, and including insights about effectively using white noise. Good read!

"Music is a universal language, and needs not be translated. With it soul speaks to soul." -Berthoid Auerbach

Music Magnetizes the bodys bio rhythm

Music is a mathematical structure. From their most primal state to present popular music, melody, chords, beats, song form and the rhythm of our surroundings, thoughts and movements are all mathematical structures.

The brain is not the only factor in the learning process. The bio rhythm is extremely important in the process. The brain remembers what has happened after the body's bio rhythm has been actively engaged.

Try these:
* Count while learning a new task or thought chain.
* Listen to wordless music while learning something new.
* Apply words of new thought chains to a rhythmic pattern.
* Then turn the music off and follow the repeat in your mind.

You will notice the thoughts associated with the patterns resurface each time you are reminded of that particular rhythmic pattern.

Music and anxiety vs performance

Nice series of articles, and this one's no exception, Kimberly! I have a line of research that is getting sent out for review soon on mathematics performance and studying while listening to music.

Although math is not "productivity," I think some of the same mechanisms are in play: anxiety from high-stress situations, mood-state issues, and cognition issues. What I've found in literature reviews:

1. Anxiety - music helps, of course. But SO many of the studies got messed up by the Mozart Effect media craze that they were not using subject-preferred music, which is our "thing" in therapy, but difficult to do large-scale, quantitative research with.

2. Mood - be in a good one, maybe music can get you there. Higher mood, higher productivity - makes sense. Even when thinking about work songs for slaves in the South back to Viking warships rowing to the beat.

3. Cognition - there seems to be no evidence of music improving cognition in terms of spatial, mathematics, reading or other academic tasks. Anxiety is down, mood is up, but music listening (and therefore processing) may interfere with working memory and confound the processes of executive function. This is separate from MEFT, though, for all you NMTers out there.

Typo and Thank You

Nice 'inconclusive' article ;) But the line that rang truest for me was "Enya uses words, but because of how she sings them, you can't understand what she's saying".

Also, you may wish to fix this line "trying toE increase turnover" in the first paragraph. /spelling nazi

Music in the classroom

I use music daily in my kindergarten classroom - to teach rhythm, rhyme, beat, genre, instrumentation, but also to help with pre-literacy skills. I find as well, that when I'm feeling stressed, or the children are getting rambunctious, playing music helps all of us. Sometimes I play my guitar (which benefits me the most) and sometimes I use a variety of CDs.

Learning rhythm and rhyme in music helps children to learn to read - what a bonus !


I think music can influence people and make them feel happy or sad, energetic or relaxed. Music is a great escape also from the worries of life. Music also seems to go with the period of time in our lifes, whatever we mare going through may depend on the type of music we listen to. I love music and think it is healthy to listen to and enjoy. Everyone should have a favorite type or favorite musical group.

I use music to take a break

I use music to take a break rather than do it
while doing something else.

I have read the work of

I have read the work of Csikszentmihalyi and his ideas about flow. I think what is so special about music is FLOW itself. When I am feeling confused or down, it forces my brain to keep going and keep thinking without getting stuck in a rut! Yeah!!!

I do know about Csikszentmihalyi...

I have not personally read Csikszentmihalyi's book, Flow, but my husband has and we have had lengthy discussions about the concept. Thank you for bringing it up here! That book is definitely on my "to read" list. ~Kimberly

good ebook

recently read a cool ebook about the use of music to enhance its effectiveness:

Boost your efficiency through listening to music – faster, easier, nicer

recently read a cool ebook about the use of music to enhance its effectiveness, under title:
Boost your efficiency through listening to music – faster, easier, nicer:

New research on music at work

I have carried out PhD research on the effects of music in the workplace, and I found that music could be distracting while working, but could also help to manage other distractions in the office environment. It could be very relaxing, but only if people felt they had control over the music. Feel free to read further on
Regards, Dr A Haake

Songs with lyrics

I find that often I'll find a new song I love and end up listening to it probably 20 times until I stop paying attention to the lyrics, then I add it to my youtube list of songs I love and the lyrics don't distract me as much but I know they are songs that I love more than most of the lyric-less ones.

Just my 2 cents.

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Kimberly Sena Moore is a board certified music therapist, blogger, and professor at the University of Miami.


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