The Rhythm and the Work - how music improves performance

The Rhythm and the Work - how music improves performance

Music has the ability to improve performance. If it can make you move.

I have a routine when I sit down to write. It includes a beverage of some sort, right now I have my trusty coffee, and some music. Usually, the music is something slow and relaxing. Something without words. My go-to is the Spa music channel on Apple. Occasionally, I’ll try some lofi (low fidelity) music.

I’ve always been the type of person that likes some white noise in the background when I am focusing. When I was in college this held true. When I went back and got my Masters a year or so ago the same still held true.

For some activities where I need to be focused, I will listen to music with a faster beat. For example, I’ve recently taken to listening to pop music, usually the Fall Out Boy Spotify channel, when I play Apex.

I’m not alone in this regard. If you look around, it is pretty common to see people listening to music when they are working, working out, or doing any other variety of activities.

Until now, I thought that people used music to boost their mood or put them into a more relaxed state when they need to be focused. While that could be true, it seems there is a scientific reason so many of us like to have music playing in the background.

Researchers from Japan have completed a study and learned that music “with a groove”, defined as music that makes the listener want to move to the music, improves brain function.

That isn’t all. If you go back a decade or so, research was already saying that music improves performance. In this instance, a study from 2010 found that music can increase workout capacity and delay fatigue in athletes. Could the same be true for professionals?

Ok, so we should add music to boost our performance. Got it.

But, what about compounding effects? I have the ability to stand up when I work via a standing desk. Does standing contribute to performance as well? Apparently, it does. A [study]( study found those who,work and fewer musculoskeletal problems.) in the UK found that people who stand while working reported better engagement. Not to mention a few musculoskeletal issues. Wait…did I just spell musculoskeletal right on the first try?

Reading the Tea Leaves

I decided to write about this topic today because 1) I read the articles and they interested me; 2) I don’t want to always be the harbinger of doom around the economy. So, I wanted to lighten things up today. Plus, I do watch for things I do in my life and try to figure out if others would benefit from me sharing those things. Such as when I wrote about my routine for writing.

That said, I do tend to focus on the business world, so let me tie the above work into that for a moment.

How do these things all go together? Music improves performance, standing up to work as well, and the business world. In virtual reality.

I’ve already seen one startup that is focusing on leveraging the virtual reality world to improve workouts. I don’t think we are too far from work environments in the virtual world where you stand and move around to interact with people. Meanwhile, you might have music playing in the background. Heck, imagine wearing an Oculus headset where you have Apple’s Spa channel playing and you are walking towards a serene waterfall for a work break.