• We Grow SA

How to supercharge your brain with music



Ever wondered why we were taught to sing our ABCs? Or maybe you’ve experienced having a song stuck in your head, driving you absolutely nuts, wondering how it’s even possible that you know all these lyrics?


That’s because adding a tune to something makes it more memorable. Music has the power to shape and stimulate the brain, and there’s plenty of science to prove it!


It all started when psychologists who studied human brain function and learning noticed the potential music had to improve learning process and knowledge retention. It's been proven that when listening to music, both the left and right brain hemispheres are activated at the same time, which maximises learning and improves memory.


It starts in the womb


Do you remember the first time you heard music? Unlikely, because it was probably when you were in the womb! Studies show that unborn babies start positively responding to various noises during the final trimester – when learning and familiarisation with the world begins. Playing music to babies in the womb gives them a little head start on cognitive capability.


Use it for language-learning!


Learning a new language has its difficulties, but research has shown that music can make it easier.


Songs across genres, and particularly rap, are full of words! Listening to music in a language you are learning is a fun and effective way to familiarize yourself with the vocabulary of that language. By listening to music repetitively, your mind becomes programmed with the pronunciation, intonation and meaning of the language.


Relax to Retain


The “Mozart Effect” is a theory that suggests listening to classical composers reduces stress and therefore enhances brain activity – even showing a 12% increase in students’ overall performance. So the next time you’re studying, consider playing Beethoven’s “Für Elise” to help your brain soak up the material a little better!


Play an instrument to boost your memory


Along with listening to it, playing music can benefit the brain, too and even keeps it young. Because playing an instrument requires focusing on multiple things at once (coordinating hand movements, keeping rhythm, reading the music), it trains your mind to expand its working memory capacity. This will make you a better learner and able to retain a broad capacity of info without your brain getting bogged down. The complexity of learning to play music improves your brain’s capacity to problem-solve, which is why children who are trained in music from a young age tend to grasp maths and engineering with ease.


Harness the music of nature


Music is said to be derived from the sounds of nature, so why not take it back to basics and use what you have in your backyard as auditory enhancements to your learning?


A study on how nature sounds have a restorative effect on our brain function revealed 6-to-1 people performed better at an assigned task when they were listening to the sound of mountain stream water. So hey, that water feature for your desk might be worth the investment!


Find your specific sound


So, can music really help you focus while learning? Yes! Mainly, because it makes us happy. Listening to music triggers the release of dopamine, which fuels our excitement for dealing with a task at hand, which results in more productive learning sessions! So even if it’s not the calming chords of classical or the gentle hum of nature, listening to any genre that inspires you will release dopamine.

Find more hacks on how to get the most out of your learning in our online learning library, where we have access to tons of self-development courses!


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