Waiting in the queue for job interview

How music can help you when you’re feeling nervous

According to Mind, researchers found that music releases dopamine, the feel-good chemical in your brain. It also found that this feel-good chemical goes up 9% when listening to music you enjoy and it can help us before nervous situations too, such as an interview.

Music can have such a positive impact in your life. Not only is it those shared moments with family and friends, but it can help reduce stress, manage pain, help us sleep better, improve motivation, improve our mood and help reduce symptoms of depression.

According to Mind, researchers found that music releases dopamine, the feel-good chemical in your brain. It also found that this feel-good chemical goes up 9% when listening to music you enjoy.

And it can help us before nervous situations too, such as an interview. That’s because it can help induce confidence. Music to yours ears? Don’t stop there.

Recently, Dr Simon Procter, Director of Education and Research at Nordoff Robbins spoke about exactly this. We’ve picked out some of the top tips from his conversation.

Top tips for using music before an interview

Pick music you know and that helps you identify yourself. When we are in control, it gives us confidence.

Dr Simon Procter said “People often have their own preferred music for getting in the mood for a night out, setting the scene for romance, remembering people they have lost, focusing on work, or for something stressful like a job interview.”

“The exact choice of music clearly won’t be the same for everyone. This is another reason people might listen to music before a nervous situation – music is deeply linked to our own unique sense of self and our identity.”

“So, on the way to a job interview we are likely to want to hear music that not only has a physiological effect on us, but also assures us of our sense of who we are.”

Pick a tempo and genre that suits you and the interview.

This could be high tempo, hip-hop, or a slower, chilled tempo, depending on whether you want to be pumped up or in a reflective state of mind.

“There is undoubtedly a physiological connection between the energy, articulation and tempo of the music we listen to and our bodily responses to it”, says Dr Simon Procter.

“Culturally, faster music is highly associated with being “geed up” or “pumped” and this may be the frame of mind in which people want to arrive at an interview. An example would be the music played ahead of a boxing match, which is very definitely there to achieve a certain bodily and mental state.”

This insight would correlate with the findings of a study, which revealed hip hop and high tempo pop as favoured genres people listen to before an interview. However, this isn’t necessarily true for everyone.

“While some will look for fast and energetic music, others will prefer more “chilled” sounds which may help them to arrive feeling calm and collected and able to think more reflectively.”

As we see more people being mindful, this trend for more chilled music is on the up. And it shouldn’t just be down to personal preference, think what kind of interview you are attending. This will ultimately influence whether you want to arrive relatively pumped up or in a more reflective frame of mind.

A song at 133 BPM could be your go to song.

The speed of a song has a different effect on us. So faster music will make us feel different to slower music. The average BPM of 133 sits higher than the average adult’s resting heart rate but also below that of high-intensity exercise, putting it in the optimal place to ‘gee’ us up. But there is more to it than just BPM.

“It’s also about the shape of the melody, the rate of harmonic change, the “smoothness” or “jaggedness” of the rhythm that can create that physically and psychologically effect. Or it might simply be that there are a lot of great songs at 133 BPM, a beat that cuts across many genres.”

Good luck with your next job interview!