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The Secret Connection Between Music and Performance


Listening to Music on the Train

Image by CarbonNYC via Flickr

Have you ever wondered how to boost your personal performance, when learning, working and problem solving? Do you enjoy listening to music? Most people would agree that music has a powerful effect on their mood and state of mind. Music can create an almost instantaneous change in how we feel and our energy level. The evidence is in, both scientifically and anecdotally, that you can power boost your performance by aligning specific music selections with specific activities. You have nothing to lose by trying these practical neuroscience-based practices. The worst case scenario is that you will enjoy the music.

Studies by the National Academy of Sciences suggest that background music stimulates the brain to absorb and retain knowledge. Georgi Lozanov, referred to as the “father of accelerated learning,” advocates the use of music, as it has an observable effect on retention and memory. Don Campbell popularized the idea that listening to Mozart (The Mozart Effect) improves learning performance and IQ. Neuroscientists have since reported that the effects of classical music are temporary and there is no long-term improvement on IQ. This finding is positive, however, because the disagreement between Don Campbell’s work and the neuroscience community centers on how long the improvement lasts and the exact nature of the improvement, instead of on whether or not there is improvement.

There seems to be universal accord that music has an impact on our mood and temporarily improves performance in different areas. The overarching condition of doing anything well is that we need to be in the proper state of mind. So, why not use music more, even if the effects are short-term?

Music can activate a memory of an event or period of your life. As an example, a childhood song like “Old McDonald Had a Farm” may seem playful, silly and funny. However, it may create feelings of sadness depending on what was happening when the song anchored the memory. A happy song played during a gloomy and difficult experience will likely trigger sad and depressing feelings when you hear it. The common sense approach is to select music that helps you feel motivated, energized,safe, secure, confident and competent. These are prerequisites for consistent performance excellence.

Music with lyrics are best for breaks between activities, recreational listening and elevating your energy levels. Listening to words is likely to distract you when learning or working. When you listen to music with words, be aware of the meaning of the words. They may affect your mood as much as the melody. The benefits of an upbeat and energizing melody with a pleasing rhythm may be cancelled out by negative and wounding words.

Classical music has the soundest scientific and experiential base to improve learning and cognitive performance. The following list is a way to get started with accelerated learning and breakthrough thinking.

Active Learning– read material, aloud or silently, for the first time to the beat of the music.

Mozart (According to Don Campbell, Mozart strengthens the mind.)

Brahms: Violin Concerto in D major

Beethoven: Concerto #5 for piano – E Flat major; Concerto for Violin in D major

Memorizing– play while reading material (aloud or silently) you need to memorize for meetings, interviews, negotiations, presentations, trainings or examinations.

Bach: BrandenburgConcertos; Preludes and Fugues for Organ

Vivalidi: The Four Seasons; Five Concertos for Flute

Handel: Water Music; Royal Fireworks Music

Creativity – play while problem solving, “brainstorming,” creative writing, doing art, inventing.

Tchaikovsky, P.: The Nutcracker Suite

Debussy: La mer; Prelude a l’apres midi d’un Faun

Ravel: Daphne et Chloe

In conclusion, music may not increase your long-term IQ, but it sure will accelerate your learning, memory and creativity. Besides, performance may be more important than IQ. Music affects your mood and state of mind. Even if you don’t consider yourself “musical,” you can still receive positive effects.

Author Message:
You may not be aware that our organization is a trusted and respected source of reliable practical neuroscience solutions for personal and organizational development.  We have been creating and delivering brain-based human development solutions, since 1992. The message that follows directs you to a quick, easy, and low cost solution you may be searching for.

Now that you know more about how music effects performance, are you ready to combine this knowledge with even more important information about your brainpower?  A fun way to continue your journey of self development is discovering how your brain is wired for success. Your personalized Brain PathWays report gives you practical neuroscience tools, based on your brain strengths to “be the best you can be.” The on-line process takes less than 15 minutes, the results last a life time. Click to purchase your Brain PathWays online self-assessment and download your report today.

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6 comments on “The Secret Connection Between Music and Performance

  1. failed fat lady
    June 18, 2011

    Your information Helped me Thanks you Much

    • brainpathways
      August 2, 2011

      Thank you for your kind words and encouragement to carry on our work we started in 1992. It’s good to get feedback and know we help people. Some days, you just wonder if you are making a difference. Can you relate to this?

      We work in the field of practical neuroscience to help people live a better, more prosperous and peaceful life with less stress. My orientation is “start small,” “start where you are,” and, “don’t forget to start.” There seems to be a great need for foundational information on the power and potential of peoples imagination and capability to create better lives for themselves. Music is indeed an activator for higher brain function and can be used safely and effectively when following the trust worthy research based practices. I would be most interested in knowing how our article “The Secret Connection Between Music and Perofmrance Execellence” helped you.

      Feel free to contact me directly through the web site below.

      I hope you revisit our blog. Let us know more about your interests and needs so future articles and resources can be directed to you and others who walk in your shoes.

      Best and kindest regards,

      Stephen Hager
      The Hadron Group
      Creators of brain based human development tools since 1992
      http://www.brainpathways.net

  2. Leana
    June 24, 2011

    Where exactly is the facebook like button ?

    • brainpathways
      August 2, 2011

      If that means you liked the article, thanks! We don’t have the facebook like button active here, but you can find it on our facebook page here.

  3. Naomi
    June 24, 2011

    Excellent article, refreshing page template, carry on the great work

    • brainpathways
      August 2, 2011

      Dear Naomi,

      Thank you for your kind words and encouragment to carry on our work started in 1992.

      We work in the field of practical neuroscience to help people live a better, more prosperous and peaceful life with less stress. My orientation is “start small,” “start where you are,” and, “don’t forget to start.” There seems to be a great need for foundational information on the power and potential of peoples imagination and capability to create better lives for them selves. Music is indeed an activator for higher brain function and can be used safely and effectively when following the trust worthy research based practices. The article you referred to was “The Secret Connection Between Music and Performance Excellence.”

      I hope you revisit our blog. Let us know more about your interests so future articles and resources can be directed to your needs.

      Best and kindest regards,
      Stephen Hager
      The Hadron Group
      Creators of brain based human development tools since 1992
      http://www.brainpathways.net

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