The science behind music & improved performance

Written by Stuart Haden on October 10, 2018

This quick hack to improve your performance can happen at a flip of a switch. When we listen to music our brainwaves move from the high-beta of normal waking consciousness down into a more meditative state. Alpha and theta, which are sometimes even trance inducing. 

When you plug into some of your favourite tunes levels of stress hormones (norepinephrine and cortisol) can drop. Meanwhile social bonding and reward chemicals (dopamine, endorphins, serotonin and oxytocin) can spike. A recent study by Apple and Sonos (OK they have good reason to be biased?!) noticed that when music was playing laughter (15%), cooking together (33%) and inviting other people over (85%) all increased.

So when you want to get in the mood or in the zone choose your playlist carefully. Personally when I work I love to listen to a good TV or movie soundtrack – haunting, hypnotic and steady. The volume is always set to 2/16 and the earplugs only go in if I want extra focus or to minimise distractions.

So it’s good to make some noise after all. Just notice what you are consuming and when.

“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” Chartres. This posting was inspired by Stealing Fire, Chapter 7: technology