A constant most of us have in our lives is music.

It’s on the radio we hear, the ringtone that sounds when someone calls, the commercials in between the TV shows we watch, and even the drumming of spoons on a table.

Truth be told, music can be made out of anything — your voice, the keyboard of the device you’re reading this off of, or even a cup.

Music can define who we are, and each culture often has their own style of music.

So I guess we can all agree that music is pretty great. But can it help you to work more effectively?

Studies show that music can absolutely make you more productive at work! Some general restrictions may apply, though.

For instance, unfamiliar music and music with lyrics are distracting. Both create curiosity in the brain, forcing listeners to shift their focus from the task at hand and focus more on what will come next or what the artist is saying.

But classical music (more specifically, Baroque) or ambient noise works rather well if you have more exacting work to do. There are no lyrics, so they work well when you’re just looking for something to fill the silence without it being too distracting.

Another good option is video game music. Just think about it. Video games require high amounts of concentration, and the designers want their music to enhance the players’ focus on the game without getting them too distracted. Video game music is designed for focus!

So, how does this work? How can music help us to work more effectively?

Here’s the science behind it:

When we listen to music, dopamine is produced all around the brain.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, and is most often known for creating a “feel-good” state. Some call it a “happiness chemical.” When it’s released, it’s that feeling you get when you receive a present you always wanted or when you eat a piece of cake you’ve been eyeing. It’s like getting a reward.

So, that happy mood you’re in when you’re listening to music? That’s why you’re able to work better. You can thank dopamine for that.

All in all, there is ultimately nothing wrong with listening to music during work. Just make sure to choose your music genre carefully!  


Ciotti, G. (2015, Aug. 27). How music affects your personality. Help Scout. Retrieved from helpscout.net/blog/music-productivity/

Cooper, B. B. (2013, Dec. 6). The surprising science behind what music does to our brains. Fast Company. Retrieved from fastcompany.com/3022942/the-surprising-science-behind-what-music-does-to-our-brains