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Have you ever found yourself plugging in your headphones and hitting play on your favorite album when getting ready to work on a project? Turned on a sound track of ocean waves to help you get to sleep? Or even noticed your mood lift when listening to upbeat music on your drive to work? You might have even heard of the study that resulted in the term “The Mozart Effect,” which was coined after it showed that college students performed better on math problems when listening to classical music.

As one of your five senses, sound can improve concentration, decrease headache pain, lift your mood, and promote relaxation through the use of music sound therapy. Below we’ve listed what types of music to listen to for common conditions you may be experiencing day-to-day.

Trouble Focusing

For those that deal with concentration problems, especially in the workplace and at school, music has amazing properties for therapeutic intervention. Sound engages the brain in a unique way. When music provides order and structure, these properties can work as antidotes to lack of attention. Generally, music with an upbeat tempo, instrumental sounds, and a moderate noise level, work best for concentration. Ideally, the music should feature major notes and be familiar to you. When music is new and unusual, the sound can be overwhelming and complex, and therefore, become a distraction, rather than increasing concentration.


Because headaches can often be such a physical and visceral experience, we were not surprised to learn that music therapy, when combined with some sort of physical activity, can decrease pain. For example, when combining relaxation exercises, like yoga, with background music, it can help to lower pain. We suggest picking music that is uplifting or calm when simultaneously exercising.

Low Mood

When people experience low moods or depression, we found that participating in making music can be helpful. Energizing music, upbeat tempos, and uplifting sounds and lyrics often can be the most helpful elements to enhance and improve mood. Additionally, one could try clapping along to both familiar and unfamiliar music to boost energy and alertness. This allows people to express themselves in nonverbal ways, which can help those that struggle to articulate the problems behind low mood and depression.

Stress and Anxiety

Smooth sounds with gentle transitions often help with relaxation and to ease tensions. The most beneficial sounds include those with slow melodies and depth, along with lower frequencies and transitions. Ever wonder why nature sounds, such as rain or water, help with relaxation? The consistent frequencies have a calming effect on the nervous system.


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