Discover Your Brain Strengths to Navigate Life
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.
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