Music power

Music, therapy and motivation

When the going gets tough, we often turn to music. According to Curtis Dean, recent research confirms that music can motivate, energise  and soothe.

The neuroscience of music

Have you ever noticed how music has become one of today’s most frequent “go-to places” for many individuals? If you have, then you know for sure how music can relax, soothe, calm, and motivate you. Even if you don’t have any experience with music (which seems impossible!), research attests to the positive effects of music on one’s life. In fact, there is a specific branch of neuroscience that is largely focused on the effects of music on the nervous system: neuromusicology.

It has been found that music plays an integral role in one’s overall being, which accounts for the growing use of music therapy. Thanks to the wonderful connection of music and the mind, scholars, and experts have established a deeper understanding of how music affects every human being.

Benefits for young and old

Whether you are simply listening to your kind of music or playing an instrument, music, in general, has shown itself to have beneficial therapeutic properties.

Music, it seems, can make you feel lighter and happier, ease negative thoughts and transform your mind. But, quite apart from the mental and emotional benefits, music can have a direct impact on cognitive and brain functions. The implication for taking music lessons at a young age seems obvious, but in fact, the same benefits can apply to adults as well:

Losing your energy to work? Music can help you with your productivity. Stress over deadlines and due dates? Music helps you focus and concentrate on the tasks at hand. Lacking the positive mindset for your duties and goals? Music can help you be more motivated.

Universal panacea?

Despite strong evidence for the beneficial impact of music, there are certain individuals who simply cannot find the silver lining when it comes to music. It seems that the way music affects your mental, emotional, and physical state has something to do with your belief system, which is of course very subjective. As all human opinion is to a greater or lesser extent subjective, the effects of music vary from person to person.

A certain song will affect different people differently. A certain genre might make one person feel more alive and motivated but it does not mean that it will offer the same thing to the others. What one person finds energizing could have the opposite effect on others.

Musical motivation

Just how does music motivate a person? Here are five major ways in which music can have a positive impact:

Fatigue reduction

Stress, anxiety, and fatigue are all major demotivators. But since music has been found to decrease the production of the stress hormones, it can bring you back to a motivated state quite naturally. Music can also break up monotonous routines, keeping your mind fresh, combatting tiredness, stress, and fatigued.


Recent studies have established a connection between auditory neurons and motor neurons. This is why when someone hears a good beat or melody, stimulating dance, movement – and motivation.


Music improves certain cognitive functions and can significantly help you focus and concentrate, as many students have found. Music can also block out distractions and as things get done, motivation to do more is enhanced.

Physical Strength

The benefits of music  extend byond mental and emotional aspects. In fact, it can help you with your physical activities, strength, and mobility. As auditory and motor neurons connect, your body responds accordingly.


Getting through a tough job is always a challenge, but if you are motivated, and we have seen how music helps here, you will definitely improve your overall performance.

Final Thoughts

These things may already be self-apparent – even cliched – to the many people who already use music to enable them focus, become energized or keep going. If you had any doubt, more formal studies now point in the same direction. So, the next you would feel down, sad, stress, or anything that demotivates you, get listening – or better still – get playing!



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Curtis Dean writes on behalf of Sage Music School in New York, where lessons are based on the science, research and psychology of learning.

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