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Music impacts our lives in more ways than one. It inspires us to dream, gets us moving when we’re working out or at the club, and helps us relax or stay motivated, depending on our mood. Is it therefore any surprise that music may also help us become better traders?

The link between music and cognitive function is a well-established one. Music has been proven to enhance reading and literacy skills, spatial-temporal reasoning, mathematical abilities and emotional intelligence. It has also been linked to positive physiological improvements such as pain relief, reduced blood pressure and improved immunity functions.[1]  What else could a trader want?

In the following article we will talk about five ways listening to music may help improve your trades. It’s important to keep in mind that, when it comes to music and trading, correlation does not equal causation! There is absolutely no substitute for developing strong trading skills. That being said, here’s five ways listening to music may improve trading performance.

Listening to music can reduce stress

If you plan on becoming an excellent trader, you need to manage your emotions. Managing how you react to stress is one of the best ways of accomplishing that. Listening to music while you trade may help you reduce stress so that you can concentrate on executing the right trades at the right time. Music may help you eliminate negativity bias, allowing you to focus on positive experiences.[2] It’s not always easy to trigger positive, reassuring thoughts when you’re trading the economic calendar. Try to improve your mental state by turning on your favourite tune.

Listening to music can improve processing speed

Research has found that processing speed performance greatly improves when listening to certain kinds of music (in this case, Mozart).[3] Processing speed – a measure of cognitive efficiency that involves quickly and fluently performing tasks – is extremely important for traders, who must constantly juggle vast quantities of information in order to enter or exit a position. In order to multitask effectively, traders must be alert and assertive. Listening to your favourite song may greatly aid in that respect.

Listening to music may increase concentration

Medical research has established a direct link between listening to music and increased concentration. According to a study conducted by the Stanford University of Medicine, “[M]usic engages the areas of the brain involved with paying attention, making predictions and updating the event of memory.”[4]

When trading the financial markets, it’s important to respond with heightened attention to news events, emerging trends and other factors that could impact your trade. The research is pretty clear that having music on in the background may improve your concentration and your overall responsiveness.

Listening to music may improve memory

Researchers have shown that listening to music, especially classical music, improves the recall of information. The impact is so direct that researchers have been able to pinpoint certain types of music that have the most profound effect on memory. Traders looking to memorize financial terms, concepts and strategies   may learn this information while a song is playing. By doing so, traders will be able to recall what they learned simply by “playing” the song in their head![5]

Listening to music can make trading more fun

We don’t need science to prove this point. Trading (and perhaps most things in life) are much more fun when our favourite songs are playing in the background. People listen to music while working, cleaning, studying, training or driving. Why should trading be any different? A more enjoyable trading experience will keep you motivated to keep going.

Wrap Up

While music alone can’t improve your trades, it can greatly reduce stress and remove daily distractions that often get in the way of success. Listening to music may improve concentration, enhance productivity and keep you relaxed. In the high-octane pressure cooker of the financial markets, these traits may mean the difference between realizing profit and blowing out your account.

If you decide to experiment with music, it’s important to start off slowly. Make sure your trading alerts are still audible and that your music player isn’t slowing down your CPU. It may be best to listen to music on your phone, tablet or any other device that isn’t attached to your main workstation.

[1] [eMed Expert. How music Affects Us and Promotes Health.

[2] 12 Ways to Reduce Stress with Music.

[3] William R. Klemm (April 30, 2015). “Music’s Effects on Cognitive Function of the Elderly.” Pyshology Today.

[4] Washington University in St. Louis (August 21, 2013). “How to Increase Concentration and Retention.”

[5] eMed Expert. How music Affects Us and Promotes Health.

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