The magic of music

The magic of music
The magic of music


You don’t have to be a musical talent to improve your well-being and even your health with music. Different studies show that music can have a positive effect on emotions, the experience of stress, and performance.

Music does something to you

Here are some interesting facts from various publications:

  • Listening to music has a significant psychological effect that may improve sporting achievements. The right music reduces the feeling of stress and tiredness.
  • Music can have beneficial effects on people’s sleep and quality of life.
  • Your tempo of breathing adjusts to the tempo of the music.
  • Dementia symptoms can be postponed by listening to music.
  • Children perform better after listening to Mozart.
  • When you listen to music your brain is creating expectations. As a result, there is a difference in brain activity if you hear a false note instead of the right one.
  • Your perceive the quality of a product or service to be higher when you listen to music. For instance, when hearing the right music people are willing to spend 37 percent more money on a product or service.
  • When you hear French music in the wine department of a supermarket you will be more inclined to buy French wine.

Music in the work environment

Most people listen to music every day, and apart from coffee they also need music to start their day.  Almost everybody thinks that music makes work more fun. Music also proves to provide added value to employees in their work environment. Besides having a positive effect on productivity it can also contribute to employees’ wellbeing and staff solidarity. Music evokes a feeling of recognition and personal attention and stimulates interaction.  Of course not every type of music or volume level will have a positive effect or be suitable for an organisation.

In a recent article in daily newspaper NRC, Erik Scherder, professor in clinical neuropsychology (VU University, Amsterdam) says that there is certainly a group of employees for whom music will have a stimulating effect. We’ve all been there, he says; during the day our concentration levels slip. In that event, an external stimulus may be needed to give your brain a boost.


Apart from emotions, music triggers many more reactions in people. For instance, it also affects our perception of time and as a result our speed of movement. Our notion of the length of time that we stay in a certain place is related to the tempo of the music.  Faster music makes our actions more hasty. In addition, consumers indicate that music reflects a company’s image, for instance the tune of Coca-Cola or Nikon. 70% of interviewed consumers indicates that music in a store is image-defining, and 10% of them perceived the waiting time to be shorter than it really was.

Higher work pace

89% of the employees indicates that they perceive background music as a positive and motivating stimulus. They hint that music with lyrics should be avoided and that cheerful and up-tempo music contributes most to a higher work pace.

Better concentration with sea murmur or whale sounds

Employees indicate that they enjoy (background) music as it prevents them from being disturbed by ambient sounds and other noise. But the music should not be louder than 70 dB, because otherwise it could be disturbing and even damage our hearing. Concentration is stimulated not so much by intently listening to music, but more by the sounds in the background (for instance a murmuring sea, whale sounds or raindrops tapping on a window).

The new shut door

Employees are wearing headphones/earbuds because it makes them feel relaxed and happy, but also to focus better or make recurring tasks more fun. Instead of shutting the door we put on headphones to create our own cocoon, says music psychologist Anneli Haake.

Just say hello

Music brings people together; just give it a try in the office. Make sure that everybody is listening to the same song, or that a playlist is composed together. What would happen if you would come into the office on Monday morning and you hear the song ‘Just say hello’…?

Sharing your favourite music is not only great fun, it also tells you something about yourself. This explains for instance the success of Die Verrückte Halbe Stunde (crazy 30 minutes) on Radio 538. On this radio show business units can submit five tracks they are crazy about and announce the first song.

Get going with music

An inspiring work environment is key in bringing out best in people. Fortunately music is given more room in the work environment nowadays. Music in offices can positively influence the perception and well-being of customers and employees.  We are curious about the sound of your organisation and your experiences with music in the work environment. And make sure to notice how music can strengthen your organisation’s DNA.

Want to learn more? Please contact Inge de Bekker.

Our young professionals Roland, Phireau, Christel & Carlijn deepened their knowledge of music using the following sources:

Music: Carefree – Kevin MacLeod ( | Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License