Music is pleasurable, whether philosophers or ordinary people alike agree it. But the answer to questions like “Is listening music good for reading and working” and “What kind of songs works better in improving efficiency” seems to depend on personality all along and won’t come to a uniform conclusion.
Nowadays, however, you might get a relatively authoritative answer from scientific investigations that music do increase the productivity of people, but not always, and not all the music work.
To better work or study with music, there are 5 factors you should know.
1. When you are doing repetitive, boring tasks, listening music can boost your productivity
Assembly-line workers or quality control workers often need to concentrate on their work. But the concentration tends to fade over time due to the lack of enjoyment. In this case, music can increase their productivity and accuracy.
Interestingly, music works better when it’s played periodically at the time when workers’ concentration is most likely to decline, rather than continuously. And the best choice for them is upbeat and rhythmic music with less lyrics, or lyrics that are very familiar.
2. Simple, repetitive and less informative music won’t reduce your attention on working
A small study about environmental music in 2012 shows that if you play music in the workplace, the music with many lyrics will reduce people’s attention while the pure music with no lyrics won’t.
The clearer the external “information” is, the more it interferes with your performance. To put it simply, the music with informative lyrics may not be best choice for all the people while studying and working.
3. Listening music before performing creative tasks can boost your motivation
Fast and upbeat music can improve your mood and boost your motivation. In a cross-culture study, for example, the Canadian college students who listened to Mozart’s music performed significantly better on IQ tests than those who listened to Albinoni’s slow-paced music.
And comparing to unfamiliar classical music, the Japanese students drew more and better pictures after listening to their favorite songs.
4. The music you are familiar with works better
When we listen to a familiar melody, the areas of the brain that generate attention and intense become more active. It’s not hard to realize that your attention will be simply distracted by the demand to “adapt to unfamiliar melody” while you can hum along without pressure listening to an old favorite song.
5. Listening music during break time is also effective
Some people may not get used to playing music at work, but don’t mind listening to their favorite songs during lunch break or other break time. A study for underage student shows that listening music during breaks or between 2 tasks can improve their academic performance the ability of focus for a long time.
So, if you don’t feel like listening any melody while writing a paper or doing any other serious task, try do it for a few minutes while taking a break and drinking coffee.
These tips above can help you choose proper music in different situations and performance better in different types of task. But, you’d better make your own decision taking your personality into consideration. After all, music preference is a rather personal thing. Hope you will be able to accomplish your task efficiently in a relaxed and happy mood.