Photo credit: Lauren Mancke

5 Types of Music That Increase Your Productivity, According to Science

Melissa Chu
Jumpstart Your Dream Life
4 min readMar 26, 2018


Music has a way of permeating through empty corners and filling up environments with substance. It can help you relax, make you well up in tears, or feel alive.

But can it make you more productive?

We use music to set the tone of our environment and our mood, whether we’re unwinding after work or throwing a party. But in an age when many of us spend our time staring at a computer screen, music has also become a mode of escape from outside distractions or dull tasks.

So how useful is music when it comes to focusing on your work?

Let’s take a look at the science behind music and productivity.

Does Music Make You More Productive?

Teresa Lesiuk, an assistant professor in the music therapy program at the University of Miami, does research on the effect of music listening on work performance. According to Dr. Lesiuk’s research, those who listened to music completed their tasks more quickly and had better ideas than those who didn’t overall.

But there are some types of music that worsen productivity. Several studies have shown that popular music interferes with reading comprehension and information processing.

Based on these studies then, music can have a positive effect in your work. However, its effect on productivity depends on the situation and type of music.

So, What Type of Music Doesn’t Work?

When I work, I find it very hard to concentrate when people are talking. Similarly, listening to music with lyrics is almost as distracting.

It turns out I’m not alone. Music can be considered a form of multi-tasking, where the listener is switching back and forth between a task and the music, as opposed to the music simply playing a background role.

Once again, this depends on the type of music and the listener’s habits. Dr. Haake does research on music listening at work, and she identified certain factors that could determine whether music is distracting:

  • Complex musical structure. Songs with a more complex musical structure, such as Frank Zappa’s “Muffin Man” can…



Melissa Chu
Jumpstart Your Dream Life

I write about living better, creating great work, and making an impact. Get your guide to achieving your goals at