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AAA Music | 7 July 2020

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How We Harness Music to Make Us Achieve More

| On 31, Jan 2020

Everyone has a favourite genre of music. One that makes them feel good, brightens their mood, and helps them get through their day. 

A common interest in a particular genre or band can also help to create bonds between friends. Asking the question “what sort of music do you listen to?” can be a great ice breaker when conversing with someone for the first time. Many friends like to bond by attending concerts and festivals together, soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying the performance through their mutual love for the performers. 

Music is more than just a hobby and a way to bond, though. Humans have harnessed the power of music to help them achieve more for a long time. Here are some of the ways they have done it. 

Improving Focus & Concentration

Walk into any university library, almost anywhere on the planet and one of the first things that will strike you is the vast number of people wearing headphones. Listening to music while studying, revising, or writing assignments is common amongst students, as they use it to help them focus. 

This practice is also common among office workers, particularly those who work in a building with an open plan layout. In both instances, the music can help to drown out background noise created by other people talking, ringing telephones, noisy keyboards, and printers. 

It’s also used by athletes to help them prepare for an event. Success in sport relies on being physically and mentally prepared. Mental preparation helps with being able to focus on technique, and their individual role in the upcoming game. 

The type of music sports people use depends very much on their taste in music. Some may like upbeat tunes that help them to get pumped up, while others may prefer something more sedate and relaxing.

In major tournaments, professional poker players can often be seen with headphones at the table, which they use to reduce stress and enable clear thinking. Formula 1 drivers are also often seen listening to music before the start of a race, with each listening to their own favourite artists, ranging from Michael Jackson to Bruce Springsteen

Improve Productivity in Manufacturing

Factory work in the 20th century was typically very repetitive and monotonous, leading to a lack of focus and concentration from workers. Music was used by many factory owners to fight boredom amongst their employees.

Academics began researching the ability of music to improve a worker’s output, with many reporting favourable findings. In the UK, this concept was taken very seriously, with the BBC producing a daily radio show called Music While You Work. 

This show was broadcast between 1940 and 1967, and was revived a few times later in the century. It played contemporary pop music at an even tempo throughout the working day. This helped to subconsciously speed up the work of the employees in Britain’s factories. 

Increasing Sales and Boosting Brand Recognition 

After finding ways to make people more productive, researchers spent time examining the ways that music can be used to help sell more products. One of the biggest areas for this is in evoking memories.

Music can make you recall a time earlier in your life, from a favourite holiday, a special occasion, or even a whole period of your life. 

Advertisers exploit this by using music to ingrain an association of a song to a particular brand, and then have it be recalled by millions of people for years to come. Examples of this include McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” jingle, which has now been used for over a decade and was launched with a full-length single by Justin Timberlake. 

As well as making people recall memories with music, advertisers can also use music to evoke emotion in the people that listen to their ads. For example, the John Lewis Christmas ads usually contain soft tunes that can stir up positive emotions, while adverts for travel companies are often more upbeat and make people excited about booking a holiday.

Music can be used in many ways to make us achieve more. Whether it is helping us to focus, improving our productivity, or helping businesses sell more of their products, music has proven itself as an effective tool.