Using Music to Boost Focus and Improve Learning

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Music is mostly associated with entertainment, energy, relaxation and various human emotions, but it can also be a powerful tool for boosting concentration, as well as our receptiveness towards learning. Unknown to many, it is possible to play certain types of music while studying or working, and boost our respective learning capacities. Read on as we discuss exactly how and why it works.

Simultaneous Stimulation of Left and Right Hemispheres of the Brain

Under normal circumstances, we are generally used to utilizing one hemisphere of our brain predominantly while studying, which is of course, the left, logical hemisphere. Now, it should be understood that at no point in time during our waking hours are either of the two hemispheres completely inactive, but depending on the particular task in question, one of the two will become significantly more dominating than the other, while the less active section will take a backseat.

Since music stimulates both sides of the human brain simultaneously, even the right brain now actively aids the listener in his/her lessons. The results have been associated with faster learning speeds and better retention of knowledge in our LTM.

Is All Music Capable of Boosting Focus?

As you might have already guessed, the answer is no, all music does not or cannot boost focus. In fact, a large majority of musical tracks across the various genres will lead to distraction. Loud music from extreme genres such as heavy metal can even lead to temporary numbness of the brain.

As a general rule, it is best to avoid loud musical genres, high volume and any lyrical tracks altogether. Lyrics in music disengage our brain, as listening and interpreting the words take up some of the brain power that we are trying to maximize and focus somewhere else. The human brain is not designed to multitask, so lyrics in concentration music won’t work too well.

What Kind of Music Boosts Focus Then?

You will need a live audio streaming app and website like Spoon to get started on your musical exploration. To find out exactly which kind of music works for you best, a bit of experimentation is in order. Listening to beautiful but different types of relaxing soundtracks with the goal of finding out what makes your brain tick is in itself quite an enjoyable concept!

That being said, it is possible to minimize your efforts by browsing certain specific musical categories. These would be the genres that are well-known for improving information processing power, knowledge retention and concentration. Examples include but aren’t limited to:

  • Classical Music: Mozart, Beethoven and Vivaldi are ideal choices in the classical music genre
  • Harmonious music of nature: Crashing waves, falling rain, flowing water, crackling fire, etc. all contribute towards creating a rhythmic mindset that is more receptive to learning
  • Cinematic themes and theme music from popular video games that were created to inspire positive emotions and energy
  • Any familiar but non-lyrical track set to 50 – 80 beats per minute
  • Binaural beats which simultaneously stimulate both the right and left brain

There is always the possibility of finding something new that works particularly well for you though. That’s part of what makes the whole experience so enjoyable. It should be mentioned that white, brown and pink noise have been associated with improved levels of focus as well, but they were not included in this list because they cannot be classified as music. These are not background noises but they can have a somewhat similar effect on the human brain as those left by background music, albeit to a lesser degree. Feel free to check them out as well while you are exploring. 

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