I try not to listen to Carly Rae Jepsen or Spotify’s chart-toppers playlist when I work—they make me sing along and the lyrics mess with the words in my head.
Apparently, I’m not the only one. A 2012 study that included a little over 100 participants concluded that worded songs reduce worker attention and performance, recommending music without lyrics in a work environment.
What kind of instrumental music, you ask? A writer for Popular Science strongly suggests video game soundtracks.
“It’s a whole genre designed to simultaneously stimulate your senses and blend into the background of your brain because that’s the point of the soundtrack. It has to engage you, the player, in a task without distracting from it. In fact, the best music would actually direct the listener to the task,” writes Sarah Chodosh.
Josie Brechner, a composer who’s scored music for video games also says that “successful video game music straddles the balance between being engaging and exciting, but also not wanting to make you tear your ears off after the 10th or 100th listen.” This is why we can navigate Hyrule or Pokemon’s different towns and regions as engaged and focused as we can. “And that translates well to doing other work that requires focus and concentration,” says Brechner.
If classical music works well for you, then take that route. But if you’re looking for something new, consider soundtracks from your favorite video games.
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