Using Music as a Motivational Force

Music is a powerful and persuasive force. While some may dispute this as little more than hype, it is important to note that the use of music is occasionally banned from competition as its delivers an unfair advantage to certain individuals. More specifically, it has the capacity to energize and increase endurance throughout the course of competition.

In other instances, competition organisers will allow competitor’s access to the same music and playlist, as this optimizes the potential performance of individuals within a fair and controlled environment. The power of music extends far beyond the realms of competition, however, as it can also help to empower individual performance in both physical and mental challenges.

To understand this further, we need to analyse the specific impact of music on the human mind and the individual ways in which it influences thought processes. Let’s start with its unique ability to engage the body’s sympathetic nervous system, which when activated prepares the human form for action and physical challenges from the surrounding environment. Music can help to elevated heart rates and prime muscles for impending movement, as auditory signals that suddenly increase in frequency and volume trigger a host of physiological arousal.

From a further physical perspective, music also impacts on the coordination of activity across different parts of the brain. There are specific studies that have examined patterns of electrical activity that occur in the brain when music is being played, revealing that the repetitive beats that underpin most musical harmonies synchronize brainwaves that control movement. Often individual movements will be made to match a specific beat, which is why upbeat tunes are considered to be empowering during high energy workouts.

Aside from triggering physical reactions, music can also influence our core thought processes as individuals. It is widely known to improve our mental endurance, for example, primarily as it draws our attention away from the negative aspects of time-consuming tasks and enables more positive thinking. By focusing on upbeat harmonies or our favourite compositions, we can negate the risk of boredom or mental fatigue impacting our performance over a prolonged period of time.

Music is also used as a sales and marketing tool, in order to influence our decision making processes as customers. Brands will often use soft and mellow tunes to trigger an emotive response from customers, which in turn encourages them to purchase a specific product. Existing bricks and mortar casinos also use positive, upbeat music to engage gamblers, while even popular online casino platforms adopt upbeat playlists and audio effects to accompany individual games. Once again, this encourages players to focus more on the experience rather than the process of winning and creates a positive frame of mind that enables them to gamble more.

As you can see, music has the potential to impact on everything from our movement to the way in which we think in a multitude of scenarios. It is important that we understand this, so that we can measure our responses and understand changes in our behaviour.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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