Should you study with music or not?
I get this question a lot, and I’ve seen plenty of answers that range from a simple, “No,” to, “Only listen to classical,” to people excitedly trying to link me to their epic female vocal trance playlist (I’m not even mad about this).
What does science have to say about it, though?
Well, to find out, today I’m talking with Junaid Kalmadi and Adam Hewett – two of the people behind a web app called Brain.fm.
Brain.fm is an app that uses artificial intelligence to generate ultra-precise music designed to improve your brain’s performance. They have “sessions” designed for several purposes, including:
- Focus and creativity
Now, I’m a pretty excitable person, and I’m always on the lookout for new apps, tools, and resources that can improve the way I work. However, I’m also pretty skeptical of things that make bold claims – which is why I try to cite so many studies in my videos.
That’s why Brain.fm kept me hooked after the initial curiosity – they’ve actually conducted studies comparing brain performance under multiple conditions – silence, normal music, and their own generated music. Another one of their co-founders – Giovanni Santostasi – is a neuroscientist who works at Northwestern University’s Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory.
I’ve also tested Brain.fm myself and have found it helpful. I’m not yet entirely sure if it works better than my study playlist, but it’s at least as good, and I’m looking forward to testing it out over a longer period of time going forward.
So, in short, I’m pretty excited about Brain.fm, and I had a lot of fun picking Adam and Junaid’s brains about how music can affect our ability to study and work – and maybe even affect other areas (Adam says Brain.fm has essentially cured him of insomnia that he suffered from for years).
Hope you enjoy the episode!
Things mentioned in this episode:
- Try out Brain.fm (there’s a monthly fee, but you can do 7 sessions for free before needing to pay)
- Brain.fm’s collection of research on music and brain performance
- Huge reddit thread with people’s thoughts on Brain.fm (plus a ton of questions answered by Adam)
- Neural oscillation (brain waves)
- Chrono Cross soundtrack
- Xenoblade Chronicles X soundtrack
- DDR music
- Beatmania IIDX music
- Study on slow-wave sleep and memory
- Sleep headphone mask
- The War of Art
- Ancillary Justice
- How to Win Friends and Influence People
- Think and Grow Rich
Want more cool stuff? You can find all sorts of great tools at my Resources page.