I’ve been told listening to classical music, like Mozart, makes you smarter but I am happy to say, that’s only partially correct. It’s not only classical music that boosts mental activity.
Don’t go running to your boss’ office waving this article to in their face quite yet because they questioned whether a person could completely concentrate on their tasks when listening to any music.
Surprisingly there is a small study that documents nine out of 10 workers who performed better while listening to music. According to the Telegraph (UK), 88% of test-takers had better (accurate) test results and 81% completed their work faster when music was playing.
As a writer, I’ve written my best articles while listening to music, for the apparent reason, music invokes emotion and allows me to tap into a particular feeling that I might be writing about, but I find I am much faster at compiling my thoughts when I wrote while listening to music.
“Music is a very powerful management tool if you want to increase the efficiency of your workforce,” said Dr. David Lewis, a neuropsychologist and chairman of Mindlab International, the company that conducted the research. He also believes music alters our mental and emotional state of mind and makes us more confident about the work we are doing. Interesting.
For the experiment, 26 participants had a series of different tasks to complete for five days in a row – including spell-checking, equation solving, mathematical word problems, data entry and abstract reasoning. The workers completed these tasks while listening to one of four music genres or no music at all, to see which had the greater effect on accuracy and speed of correct responses.
The study, which was conducted by Mindlab International on behalf of MusicWorks, the joint campaign from music licensing companies PRS for Music and PPL, found that participants made the most mistakes when not listening to any music at all.
“Music is a key tool for business success,” said Christine Geissmar, operations director at PPL.
I don’t know why, but I was curious, to know if listening to music was beneficial, so I looked this information up, and it’s fascinating to learn that certain job tasks may be better suited to a particular genre of music:
Classical music: You are most likely better at solving mathematical problems when listening to classical music; it’s also the second best genre for overall accuracy and spell-checking, the study found.
Pop music: The study showed that 58% were able to complete data entry faster than when listening to no music at all. Overall, pop music is good for getting work done and cut down mistakes by 14%, compared to not listening to music.
Ambient music, is a style of instrumental music with electronic textures and no persistent beat used to create or enhance a mood or atmosphere.
Ambient music: Is good for those lucky folks who work with equations. The study indicated workers had their highest level of accuracy.
Lastly and one of my favorites, dance music. I can write to dance music all day long. For me, listening to dance music gets my creative juices flowing. It also aids me when experiencing writer’s block.
Dance music: A person’s overall work performance is improved when listening to dance music and results in the highest overall in accuracy, speed, spell-checking, solving equations and tackling tricky mathematical word problems, and increased proof-reading speed by 20% and were able to complete abstract reasoning tasks more quickly.
The next time your boss pulls you into the office to discuss productivity suggest the “Music at Work” initiative. Since dance music appears to be the genre that increases and affects our overall productivity for the better, we are including one of our ‘Bigger. Better. Kinkster! Soundcloud playlists: