The Scarlet Scroll

Music can help increase productivity and cognitive thinking

Cecilia Lopez, Photo editor

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Created by Mater Dei students, http://bit.ly/scarletscrollspotify is a Spotify playlist with a wide array of musical genres and songs perfect for working.

Music can serve as a form of expression, promoting creativity and relaxation along with the power to evoke emotion. But a question still stands: Does music boost productivity?

A recent study by Dr. Teresa Lesiuk, an assistant professor in the music therapy program at the University of Miami, focuses on how music affects workplace performance. According to The New York Times, she discovered that people who listen to music complete their tasks faster and come up with better concepts than those who don’t because music improves their mood.

“When you’re stressed, you might make a decision more hastily; you have a very narrow focus of attention,” Lesiuk told The New York Times. “When you’re in a positive mood, you’re able to take in more options.”

With the growing use of technology in the classroom, many students have begun to incorporate music into their regular study routine, and some teachers even allow their students to listen to music as they work independently in class.

“I think that for some students it helps them focus better because it kind of drowns out all of the extraneous noise and activity, so they are able to listen to music and focus. And for others it can be a distraction making this very individual depending on the person…” said Dr. Kathleen Montemagni, who has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and is the executive director of learning services in the school’s Muth Family Center for Learning. “But in terms of the brain, we’re talking about auditory processing so if a person has … difficulty with auditory processing and attention sometimes, music will help them a little better.”

Acccording to Montemagni, about half the people in the Learning Center listen to music with headphones while completing work because it helps create a calming and neutral environment.

When choosing music for productivity, Montemagni said, individuals should consider selecting songs that share a similar tone and cadence of a white noise.

“But if you choose music that has lots for words, different volumes and goes up and down it’s probably going to be a little more distracting, so I think you want to be mindful of what your listening to,” she said.

Junior Nathan Matas believes that music is an effective tool for him conducting daily work because it changes his mood, serving as an adrenaline rush at times.

“Rhythms with a steady rock beat, singing in a higher octave attracts me because when a voice has that energy and feeling, it sharpens my mind and cognitive abilities,” said junior in the marching and jazz band,” said Matas, who is a member of the instrumental music program.

For sophomore Madison Warnock, listening to music while working on math is highly beneficial. Being an auditory learner, having something in her mind to think about allows her to retain information, challenge and pace herself.

“It is very effective for me because I find that it does push me to finish my homework or focus more. It helps shut out the world a little bit to focus on other things,” said Warnock, who is a percussionist. “It can be very beneficial to getting work done and being in an environment that you can control and have as your own.”

Check out The Scarlet Scroll staff’s Spotify account, which has many playlists composed of students’ favorite study songs. Enjoy, and let us know if you would like any songs included.

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Music can help increase productivity and cognitive thinking