A lot of traders like to listen to music while they trade, and they do it to pass time or to help elevate their trading psychology edge.
For me, it’s the latter. And for this reason, I strategically choose the type of music I listen to while trading.
I like classical music. I am by no means an expert on it, but I enjoy it thoroughly.
In fact, every day when I wake up, my routine is exactly the same: I meditate, brew myself some nice coffee, turn on my workstation…
Then, I load some classical music on Spotify while glancing over the news and setting myself up for the trading session.
I enjoy classical music because I feel it does not physically saturate my senses, nor does it overwhelm me with emotions.
Obviously, it is different for different people. Some may get their day going by blasting rock and roll as they brush their teeth; others may prefer hip hop. For me, it is classical music all the way.
Of course, not every classical piece is the same. Some will trigger within me a range of incredibly strong, sometimes overwhelming emotions. But I’m not referring to that kind of classical music. I’m referring to the calming and soothing type.
Like Chopin and Beethoven, for instance.
I find the steady tempo and volume of some of their masterpieces very conducive to peak performance than other styles of music, music with lyrics, or even silence.
Are there any scientific findings that would support this claim? Not to my knowledge. This is just a personal (and subjective) appreciation.
The fact is, music affects different brains in different ways. Some people can listen to Metallica while studying and processing various sorts of information. Some can only listen to rap, or Mozart, or whatever else. Others can’t even listen to anything.
But in general, here’s what science has to say about music and its effect on us:
1. Music with a fixed tempo is proven to increase accuracy
2. Music without vocals is proven to be better for focus and attention.
3. Music in a major key is proven to lift the mood of the listener.
Let’s view that one by one.
#1- Increased Accuracy
A study done involving radiologists found that listening to music (baroque classical) improved their efficiency and accuracy as they accomplished repetitive tasks that they already knew how to do well — diagnosis, and so on.
They actually performed better than another group who did not choose to listen to any music at all.
So, if you’re going through a list of potential trade candidates and looking for recognizable patterns, then by all means, load some music. See if that helps you get the work done with more efficiency.
#2- Increased Focus
A study done involving 102 workers concluded that background music with lyrics had significant negative effects on concentration and attention.
So if you’re ever tempted to play Metallica’s Four Horseman on loudspeakers as you trying to nail your entry, position size, and exit, just… don’t.
Instead, try something calm, soothing, perhaps even neutral like ambient sounds. The same research shows this helps increase your focus.
#3- Instant Mood Lift
A study on how background music can affect anxiety, satisfaction with communication, and productivity revealed that listeners exposed to music (in a major key) were more productive.
They were also more satisfied in their communication with others as compared to those who listened to music in dissonant tones and minor keys.
In order words, music can alter your mood for better or for worse, depending on what you’re listening to.
And since moods will often drive behavior, you can see how listening to the right music when trading becomes of utmost importance.
Now, based on my reading of those studies, my interpretation is that any type of music could achieve different results for different people.
It’s up to you to find what works best for you. But one common thread in those studies is that music that’s played too loudly tends to totally distract the listener from whatever mental task they’re supposed to be accomplishing.
What’s more, the benefits one gets from music aren’t definitive. While there is, indeed, changes happening in the brain (apparent increase in certain brain activities), the effects seem to stop soon after the music stops, and so, the changes have no lasting impact on the brain.
Also, as we’ve already seen, any significant and reliable changes in performance (say, in trading) are more related to how music makes us feel in the moment rather than it having any direct impact on IQ, EQ, mental agility, and so on…
[Side note: If you want something that directly produces measurable changes in your brain, pick up a meditation practice.]
But still, the short-term benefits of music are great because if you listen to something that you find calm and soothing while trading, you may perform better. You may see a loss in a more positive light. You may even let your profits run longer.
Is that a promise?
No. I can’t promise that if you listen to music you’ll become a better trader. But what I can promise is that when you develop a routine that enhances your trading psychology edge and that helps you stick with your proven trading system, then reaching your market goals is just be a matter of time.
Wishing you a profitable trading week.
Memorable Lines From This Post
Music can alter your mood for better or for worse, depending on what you’re listening to. And since moods will often drive behavior, you can see how listening to the right music when trading becomes of utmost importance.
The short-term benefits of music are great because if you listen to something that you find calm and soothing while trading, you may perform better. You may see a loss in a more positive light. You may even let your profits run longer.
When you develop a routine that enhances your trading psychology edge and that helps you stick with your proven trading system, then reaching your market goals is just be a matter of time.