T H E   B R A I N   O N    M U S I C

Have you ever used music at work to jack up productivity or change your mood? Interestingly some rhythms. such as baroque, induce enzymes in the brain and add amazing well being and focus.  Other tunes leave you punchy … and unable to focus. Has it happened to you?

Music holds an immensely powerful influence over the brain and yet few workplaces  benefit from addictive musical sounds. Listen to inspirational music and calm your thinking to see how it works. Or ratchet up brainpower with Makeba’s, Pata Pata. Then read on to discover what research could offer your day.

Across genres, you’ll find that music puts you in touch with your inner beliefs and desires and the cadence can create an amazing mental landscape for you to read, relax or reflect on your day.

Or it can make you moody, edgy and anxious. How so? Music shifts your brain waves that control how neurons talk to one another.



Gregorian chant creates quiet in our minds and can reduce stress.

Slower Baroque music, such as Bach, Handel or Vivaldi can create mentally stimulating environments for creativity and new innovations.

Classical music, such as Haydn and Mozart, often improves concentration and memory when played in the background.

Romantic music, such as Schubert, Schumann, Tchaikovsky , Chopin and Liszt, enhances our senses and increases a sense of sympathy and love.

Impressionist music, such as Debussy, Faure and Ravel, can unlock dreamlike images that put us in touch with our unconscious thoughts and belief systems.

Jazz, blues, soul or calypso music can uplift and inspire us, releasing deep joy or even deep sadness, conveying wit and affirming our common humanity.

Salsa, rhumba, merengue and any form of South American music sets our hearts racing, gets us moving, both relaxing us and awakening us at the same time.

Big band, Top 40 and country music engage our emotions and comfort us.

Rock music, from Elvis Presley to the Rolling Stones, stirs passion and activity, and so can release daily tensions. Rock can also mask pain and cover up unpleasant noises. It also has the power to create dissonance, stress or physical pain if we are not in the mood for energizing.

Ambient or New Age music such as Stephen Halpern and Brian Eno has no dominant rhythm, so it elongates the sense of space and time, inducing a state of relaxed alertness.

Heavy metal and hip-hop music excites our nervous system, and sometimes leads us into acting out dynamic behavior and self-expression.

Religious and sacred music such as hymns and gospel moves us to feel grounded in the moment, and leads to deep peace and spiritual awareness. Sacred music often helps us to transcend pain.

Consider what tomorrow could bring at work if you swing a bar or two of mental and musical acumen into a project today. It’s also fun to match the music with the moment and watch what you learn

by Dr. Ellen F. Weber M.D.
Nov 14th, 2008