Music has long been hailed as a motivational and mood-lifting tool. The power that music has to change your thoughts and perspective is incredible to say the least. Surely we’ve all had a bad day and turned to our favorite tunes to feel better at some point or another. That alone gives music its merits, but studies have shown that music also has the ability to be a great performance enhancer when paired with other activities.
Let’s take a look at how music is used in several very different industries.
Mentally Strenuous Games
Any game that requires tons of focus and brain processing can benefit from having a constant stream of background music. There are numerous examples of this, but one that immediately comes to mind is card players.
Similar to many other industries that require intense attention and mental processing, poker players often use music to help them get into the zone. In the early days of the game, there may have been a pianist in a social club providing some atmospheric music for the players. Later on when the walkman was invented, we began to see a growing number of players that instead chose tunes over table talk. This has many advantages, like cutting out the mind games from rival players and instead focusing on cards and odds.
Away from the tables, online poker players are still using music to stay focused on the task at hand. While card players are a great example, this really does apply to any industry or activity where intense concentration and repetitive motions are needed. YouTube and Twitch streamers that play poker, chess, or even video games are often seen with their favorite music playing to help them keep their mind working.
Music in the Operating Room
Surgeons and doctors are well known for listening to music while they’re operating. This is such a cliche that you’ve probably seen it in numerous films or medical shows like Grey’s Anatomy. Since it’s so common, perhaps there really is a benefit besides just having some background noise.
You have to imagine that the life of a surgeon is remarkably stressful. Regardless of how much experience and training you have, you still constantly need to go to great lengths to ensure that an operation goes well. Surgeons listen to their favorite music to help manage their anxiety and bring up the somber mood in the operating room.
Unfortunately they didn’t mention the genre they prefer, so you have to wonder if they’re listening to classics or perhaps newer releases? According to a study from the University of Texas medical branch, when surgeons listen to their favorite music their stitching technique is faster and more consistent. This is further proof that music can be used as an aid in performance across many different industries.
Music and Athletes
While we’ve so far mentioned music as an aid for focus, what about utilizing it as a tool to get you pumped up? There is a long established connection between athletes and music and this can be found from the high school level all the way to the major leagues. In the locker room before games, sports teams are normally listening to some high-tempo music that gets their adrenaline going. Between their favorite songs and a motivational speech from their coach, they leave the locker room with a frenzied mindset and ready to take on the world.
Next time you’re at the gym working out, you may notice a few people with headphones on getting in the zone before a big lift in the same way.
Ok, so athletes use music as a performance enhancer, but what about the fans as well? Since humans started watching sporting events in big arenas in the times of the Roman coliseum, music has been used in much the same way as the athletes. Music gets the fans excited and participating in the spectacle. In modern times, songs like Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes can be found playing during sporting events around the world. This song gets the crowd cheering and singing along, making them an integral part of the event, not just a spectator. Music bridges the athlete and the fans, building up a bond between them.
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