Does your favourite type of music improve your concentration? A novel Concentration measurement approach.

Our project is to find out whether your favourite music helps to concentrate on a task using a appartus that we built.
Chenaya Senadheera Gavin Fanstone
Grade 6



IF you listen to your favourite music THEN you will be able to concentrate better BECAUSE your favourite music helps you to pay attention to the task at hand by blocking out background noise.



How this research idea created?

We both love music. Gavin takes Piano lessons and Chenaya takes Harp lessons. We also like to listen to music. We listen to music in our leisure time. Sometimes we listen to music during we do our homework. We wanted to find out whether the music we listen to helps us to concentrate.  Then we are thinking about the following questions. 

  1.        (a) What percent of the participants usually listen to music while working?

(b) Which age group usually listens to music the most while working?

  1. Which age group concentrated the best with Classical, Pop, Rock, Calming and No Music?
  2.         (a) What percent of the participants thought they concentrate better on music?

(b) What type of music did the participants think would improve their concentration?

(c) Were they correct when compared with the test results?

  1. What percent of the participants concentrated best with their favourite music?


Summary of the Literature Review:


  • Solving a math problem while listening to music versus without music. Then comparing the correctness and their solving speed.
  • Memorizing a set of words while listening to music and without music. Then compare the number of words recited correctly.
  • Checking the influence of music by mapping the brain using a method called fMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging)


  • Learning requires the brain to analyze and remember information, therefore No Music works the best.
  • If your workspace is noisy, then your brain will try to handle all the individual pieces of data in the noise. Therefore turning Music On is the best.
  • People who listened to music while doing repetitive tasks performed faster and made fewer errors. Classical Music is the best for this type of work.



Controlled: Apparatus, types of music, age groups

Manipulated (Independent): Types of music played, location of the test 

Responding (Depending): Speed, Time, Distance


To build apparatus:

  1. Gather Materials
  2. Straighten and bend the wire into your desired shape
  3. Put wire into the Nerf Bullet to make a “wand”
  4. Prepare battery pack
  5. Add lights and any needed electrical tape
  6. Put nails and rubber stoppers on the ends of the big wires
  7. To conduct the experiment:  
  8. Clean headphones with baby wipes
  9. Connect headphones
  10.  Go through instructions with the tester
  11. Start stopwatch and song on iPad or computer
  12.  Run test once with every type of music and silence


Test Procedure:

  1. The participant fills out the survey questions on the data collection form
  2. Make sure the participant understands that their concentration is measured by the Speed of the test. 
  3. A participant carries the tracer 2 times without music to get comfortable
  4. A participant carries the tracer along the wire three times for each type of music) in the sequence of No music, Calming, Classical, Pop, Rock. 
  5. Record the length and time for each run


A sample of the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet with data:

Important:  During Stage 2, the length and time that indicates here are the averages of the three tests. Excel is used to calculating averages and therefore it is shown as one number. 


1.  What percent of the participant usually listens to music while working?

2. Which age group usually listens to music while working?

3. What percent of the participants thought they would concentrate better with music?

4. What type of music did the participant think would improve their concentration?

5.  What type of music ACTUALLY improved the participant's concentration?

6. Which age group concentrated the best with which type of music?

7. What percent of the participants concentrated best with their favourite music? 


  • For the majority of participants, their favourite type of music was the least helpful to improve their concentration. According to this research, 77% of the participants did not concentrate best with their favourite music, and 23% did.
  • 83% of the participants concentrated best with some type of music (Classical, Pop, Rock or Calming) compared to No Music at all. Rock music helps participants to concentrate the best, followed closely by Pop and Classical music. However, the participants thought Rock is the least helpful music for concentration.
  • Calming music is the least helpful type of music for concentration. However, the majority of the participants thought  Calming music would help in concentrating.
  • Each age group concentrated best with a different type of music.





  • The outcome of this experiment can apply to the following institutes when selecting background music:
    • Homes 
    • Libraries
    • Workplaces/Factories
    • Educational Institutes (schools and universities) 
  • The outcome can be used by the scientist and psychologists when they work with kids, youth, adults, and seniors with concentration difficulties.


  • Our findings answer the question, does your favourite type of music improve your concentration?
  • The findings show what type of music helps you concentrate.
  • The experiment results are based on a wide age range ( 5 to 70+ years old). Most of the available research only focuses on a narrow age group range.
  • The findings prove the opposite of common sense. (i.e. common sense would be calming music helps to concentrate)
  • This experiment can be used as a foundation to develop future research on the effects of music on brain functions

Sources Of Error


Test Apparatus:

  • Mark the wire with a distance scale and Improve the apparatus to automatically start and stop the timer.
  • Paint the tracer in a different color than the wire to improve visibility.

Test Method:

  • Complete more tests to increase the accuracy of the conclusions.
  • Provide clear instruction to ensure everyone follows the same test procedure.
  • Let each participant practice to be comfortable with the test apparatus before collecting data.

Become familiar with how favourite music affects the brain. 


  1. What Listening to Music at Work Does to Your Brain, July 20 2016, Tom Popomaronis, INC. 
  2. Exploring age-specific preferences in listening, Music Machinery ,
  3. How Music Affects Your Concentration, Dec 13 2016, Georgina Lawton, Bustle,
  4. Music's Effect on Concentration as a Science Project, A.T Gardner, Seattle Pi,
  5. Favourite music genres among consumers in the United States as of July 2018, by age group, September 2018, Statista,
  6. The Impact of Listening to Music on Cognitive Performance, 2013,  Arielle S. Dolegui, Inquiries Journal,
  7. Effect of Voice-part Training and Music Complexity on Focus of Attention to Melody or Harmony, 2009, Lindsey R. Williams, JSTOR,
  8. Effect of Preferred Music as a Distraction on Music Majors' and Non music Majors' Selective Attention, 2006, Alice-Ann Darrow, Christopher Johnson, Shawn Agnew, Erin Rink Fuller and Mihoko Uchisaka, JSTOR,


We would like to thank

  •  All of the Test participants 
  •  Hillhurst School Science Fair coordinators
  • Our Parents
  • Our brothers: Stephen Fanstone and Lavindu Senadheera for helping us to find and test participants