Music as motivation?


Editor’s Note — The following is from a series of stories submitted by Fairfield High School students.

You are not in the mood to clean, but you need to. Suddenly you are turning up your speaker and blasting your favorite jams. Why do we do this? Is music a form of real motivation? This question puzzles me as I put my headphones in to go for a run.

Today there are so many different genres and styles of music, but we all listen to at least one. We listen to music to cure boredom, have fun with friends, and strangest of all, to motivate ourselves. Normally you would not give it a second thought when you turn your music on low to study. It’s normal for us; but why do we do it?

I have researched the effects of music on the brain and found that the brain releases dopamine when listening to music, as reported by Charles Sturt University. Dopamine is one of the feel good hormone. This hormone works specifically for goal-oriented behaviors. Music also stimulates the section of your brain that controls motivation. This stimulation could cause you to work harder and faster than without music.

Music has such a huge effect on the brain that it has even been banned from professional sports. Athletes such as runners can not use their favorite tunes during a race because music has been known to help runners create a faster pace. A sports psychologist, Dr. Karageorghis, has even called it a sport enhancing drug. He says that, “music distracts people from exhaustion and pain, increases endurance, boosts mood and even increases metabolic efficiency.”

Though each of these consequences of listening to music during exercise are positive, they could give athletes an unfair advantage during competition. That is why professional sports like track and field have banned athletes from music listening during events.

Other sports such as cheerleading and gymnastics actually use music for their events. The music helps performers to remember their steps, while also motivating crowds. As a cheerleader, I can tell you that music definitely makes me have more fun. This is not a coincidence or even the fact that I enjoy the music; it is because the music once again, triggers a dopamine release, making any activity more enjoyable. It also makes the performance more enjoyable to a crowd.

The motivation from music is powerful. That is why it has become such a huge part of our daily routines. We use it when we clean, cook, dance, exercise and even study. Who knew something so normalized as entertainment is actually one of our most positive influencers?

Maybe the next time you turn on your music to do regular activities you will think of this article and know that what you are listening to is actually affecting your brain in some pretty amazing ways. What music motivates you?

Sources: and

By Payton Harvey

Fairfield H.S.

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