Music is an essential soundtrack to falling in love. But did you know that what you listen to BEFORE your date can affect its chances of success? Match.com’s relationship expert Kate Taylor tells you how to hit the right note before you’ve even met.
Next time you’re getting ready for a hot date, don’t just recklessly press Play on your MP3 player, or turn on the radio. Instead, plan your playlist. Why? Because science is discovering music can have a huge effect on your mood. If you want to have the best possible date, here are my Dos and Don’ts of choosing your pre-date music.
DON’T… Listen to music your ex loved.
Music and memory are inextricably linked, because they both utilise the same area of the brain: the medial pre-frontal cortex. Recall is especially strong when the music brings back emotionally charged memories – like the song that was playing when you met your ex, or the track you sobbed to for 48 straight hours after you split. The music/memory connection is so powerful, scientists are using it to help Alzheimer sufferers reconnect with their past. Great for them, but nothing you want to get involved in before a new date. So lock your ex’s Chaz n’ Dave albums up in the loft, and instead try the following:
DO: Listen to something brand new
Want perfect recall of a lovely first date? Then prime the memory-centre of your brain by listening to music you haven’t heard before, right up to the time you meet. Your brain will connect this new music to your new partner. Later on, hearing the music again will bring back sweet memories of your time together. Similarly, if you want to make yourself unforgettable, touch or kiss your partner when a popular song is playing on the radio. Whenever they hear that music, they’ll automatically think of you.
DON’T… Listen to pessimistic lyrics
If you want to start your date with a positive mind set, don’t listen to defiant break-up tunes like Ceelo Green’s “Forget You” or Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”. Also, don’t listen to sad songs like Celine Dion’s “All By Myself” or anything by Dolly Parton. Even if they’re set to an upbeat melody, negative lyrics have a powerful effect on your mood, and your behaviour. Psychologists call this effect “priming” – when a person’s mindset is subconsciously influenced by external stimuli. If you want to prime your mind to get the most from a date, listen to positive songs that portray love in an optimistic light. Try “Summer Love” by Justin Timberlake, or “With You” by Chris Brown.
DO… Listen to music without lyrics
For the strongest boost to your pre-date mood, try classical music – particularly Baroque. Studies have found that Baroque has an almost unique ability to calm listeners’ nerves. (They now play it in children’s hospital wards.) It’s also been shown to help students study for tests, and aid patients’ recovery. The reason might be the tempo: Baroque music typically is played to a speed of 60 to 70 BPM – the same as your resting heart-rate. Many studies have shown human’s unconsciously match their heartbeat to music they listen to, which is why dance music is so exciting, and slow chamber music is sooooo… sooooo… Sorry, what were we talking about? Oh yes. If you don’t have any Baroque, start out with Handel’s Water Music or Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. Or run a YouTube search, or grab your iPhone and listen online to Calm Radio/Baroque on the TuneIn radio app.
DON’T… Just listen – sing!
If you want to be at your best on your date, sing along to music before you go out. Researchers studying mental performance discovered candidates who sang along to songs before taking cognitive tests scored higher than those who didn’t. And interestingly, they also scored higher on a satisfaction-with-life questionnaire too. Don’t know what to sing? Follow the suggestions above for positive tunes, or try a simple blast of “Itsy Bitsy Spider”. I’m serious! A separate study on music discovered that children’s songs made listeners feel more empathetic, cheerful and trusting: all qualities related to their own childhoods.
DO…Get ready for your date with match.com’s Pre-date Playlist
Put our playlist tips into practice with match.com’s Pre-Date Playlist on Spotify, including classical tracks and positive party tunes to calm and energise you for your hot date.