Nootropics And Music

Nootropics And Music

Nootropics And Music

still remember the first time someone told me they don’t listen to music. I was like, “What do you mean you don’t listen to music? Everybody listens to music!” As it turns out, I was wrong. Not everybody listens to music. However, most people do.

Music’s always been a big part of my life. I play several instruments and rarely go a day without picking one up or listening to at least a few tunes. I’ve had several people ask me if there are any nootropics for music. As it turns out, there are.

Nootropics And Music

Who doesn’t love music? The answer is some people, but not many. According to Statista, more than half of all American adults listen to music every single day. In people ages 18-34, it’s more than two-thirds.

What about people who play an instrument? In the United States, about 10% of people between the ages of 18-49 played a musical instrument in the past year. And between the ages of 50-64, it’s about 6%.

Whether you’re looking for something to make listening to music more enjoyable or learning to play an instrument a little easier, there may be a nootropic that can help. Music itself may even have nootropic properties. Let’s take a look at some specific nootropics and then we’ll see what kind of nootropic effects music can have.

Nootropics For Listening To Music

It’s no secret that certain substances can make listening to music more enjoyable. As a kid, I remember my father getting a six-pack of cheap beer and playing records every Saturday afternoon. Alcohol is served in just about every concert venue in the country and there’s a reason for that. It can help you loosen up and enjoy both yourself and the music.

Monkey playing guitar

But alcohol isn’t the only substance commonly used to enhance music. Go to just about any rock concert (or jazz or folk or blues or… you get the idea) and you’ll likely smell the unmistakable scent of marijuana smoke. Hallucinogens like LSD and psilocybin (magic) mushrooms are also popular with many types of music. Go to a rave and you’ll see a lot of people on ecstasy (MDMA) dancing like crazy.

People have been using substances to enhance music for as long as music has been around. But many of those substances come with serious potential side effects or are flat-out illegal. And that brings us to nootropics. What are some nootropics that can enhance listening to music? Unfortunately, this isn’t something that has really been studied. So I have to go by my own experience and what I’ve heard from others.


music notes

I’ve noticed a mild increase in listening enjoyment while taking L-theanine, particularly in combination with caffeine. This effect isn’t huge, but I’ve caught myself singing along more than I normally would. Anything that has the potential to relax you, especially if you’re prone to anxiety, may make listening to music more enjoyable.

L-theanine is a non-essential amino acid found naturally in green tea. It is also a popular nootropic used to reduce anxiety. You can learn more here: L-Theanine – A Calming Nootropic.


I definitely enjoy listening to music more when I’ve taking fasoracetam. Like L-theanine, it is used to reduce anxiety and can also increase focus and attention. Fasoracetam is a member of the racetam family of drugs, a category that includes a number of other nootropics.

On its own or stacked with other racetams, I find that fasoracetam makes me enjoy music more. When stacked with aniracetam, another anxiety-reducing racetam, this effect is the most noticeable. You can learn more here: Fasoracetam – An Anxiety-Reducing Nootropic.

Mucuna Pruriens

Woman listening to music

While this one can reduce anxiety, mucuna is better known for its ability to increase motivation and improve mood. Mucuna pruriens (or just mucuna for short) is a plant that grows naturally in several parts of the world. It is known to contain a number of active substances, particularly levodopa (L-dopa). Our bodies use L-dopa to create the neurotransmitter dopamine. As you may know, dopamine plays a vital role in pleasure and reward, among other things.

When I experimented with mucuna a few years ago, I was surprised by its wide variety of effects. It took several days of use for them to become noticeable. The greatest overall effect was that I found myself getting lost in things easier, taking more pleasure in them. One of those things was music. When taking mucuna, I caught myself listening to even more music than usual. You can learn more here: Mucuna Pruriens For Anxiety, Motivation, and Mood.


This is another nootropic plant and anxiolytic (anxiety reducer). Of the four nootropics for music listening mentioned here, it’s the one I’ve noticed the smallest effect from. But whenever I’ve taken ashwagandha regularly, I’ve tended to listen to more music than usual.

I’m not the only one who’s noticed this. I’ve talked to a few other ashwagandha users who report that it makes them enjoy music more. One of ashwagandha’s downsides is that, like mucuna, it needs to be taken for days or even weeks before its full effects are felt. But once enough time has passed, it can make music more enjoyable. You can learn more here: The Many Benefits of Ashwagandha.

Nootropics For Playing Music

I was trained as a classical pianist as a child. In my preteens, I took a couple years of drum lessons. Then, at the age of thirteen, I got my first guitar and taught myself to play. Between the piano and drum lessons I already had a solid understanding of music theory, so my focus was mostly on technique. A few years later, I also started learning some bass guitar technique.

Child playing music

In other words, I’m a multi-instrumentalist and have been playing music for almost my entire life. I know how hard it can be to learn a new instrument and how many hours of practice it takes to become a decent musician. On the one hand, I’m lucky: I started playing while I was still a child, when my young brain soaked up new information like a sponge. But on the other hand, there’s a big advantage I have now that I didn’t then: nootropics.

While I haven’t used any of these nootropics to learn a new instrument, I have used some of them to learn a challenging new piece of music and to take my playing to the next level. Generally, any nootropic capable of improving focus, memory, and learning should help with learning to play an instrument.


This is and has been for several years one of the most popular nootropics used around the world. Classified as a eugeroic (wakefulness-promoting agent), modafinil can increase focus, alertness, and improve learning. I’ve talked to a few musicians who have used modafinil to help them improve and have heard very good things.

While I haven’t used modafinil to learn how to play a new instrument, I have used it to help me learn a few particularly difficult pieces of music. I’m definitely able to stay focused longer and find it easier to get into that elusive flow state. You can learn more here: Modafinil – A Powerful and Popular Nootropic.


Woman playing guitar

Like modafinil, this is another eugeroic. Armodafinil is extremely similar to modafinil. The only real differences are that it’s slightly more potent and its effects last a little longer. Other than that, armodafinil’s benefits are identical to modafinil.

I’ve used armodafinil in the same way I’ve used modafinil: to help me learn a new piece of music (usually a guitar solo) that is challenging. And I’ve heard the same thing from other musicians: that armodafinil has helped them to improve. You can learn more here: Armodafinil For Cognitive Enhancement.

Caffeine & L-Theanine

Not only have I found this combo to make listening to music more enjoyable, I’ve also found it helps me practice. This shouldn’t be particularly surprising. Caffeine is a well-known cognitive enhancer and the most popular nootropic used around the world. And when taken with L-theanine, it can have an even more powerful nootropic effect.

If you’re new to nootropics, caffeine and L-theanine can be a great place to start. This combo always helps me to get into whatever I’m working on. I’ve talked to lots of musicians who’ve benefited from this simple-yet-effective nootropic stack. You can learn more here: L-Theanine and Caffeine – The Perfect Combo.

Music As A Nootropic

Why do we love music so much? If you asked ten people, you’d likely get ten different answers. But at the heart of each, there’d be a common thread: because it changes the way we feel. Music has the power to transform our emotions, from tears to laughter and everything in between. But what about focus? How about memory? Motivation?

In other words, can music have a nootropic effect? The short answer: maybe. The long: it’s complicated. In 1993, a study was published showing that listening to classical music improved spatial ability. This was dubbed The Monootropicszart Effect and the media had a field day with it.

Guitar player

However, more recent studies have found that listening to classical music does not directly improve spatial ability. A study published in 2001 found that while listening to Mozart could improve spatial ability, it did not do so directly – it did so by its effect on arousal and mood.

It’s no secret that music can improve mood and make you feel more alert. If it does have a nootropic effect, it’s likely – at least in part – because of this. Personally, I often like to listen to music while I work. However, I’ve noticed something: that music can’t have lyrics, otherwise it has a negative impact on my productivity.

And it’s not just me. A study published in 2012 found that while some background music can increase satisfaction and productivity in the workplace, music with lyrics had a significant negative effect. So if you’re hoping to get a nootropic effect from listening to music, pick something without lyrics that won’t distract you.


g clef music notes

More and more people are using nootropics to make listening to music more enjoyable and learning to play an instrument easier. Music itself may even have a nootropic effect – if only indirectly. Personally, I can’t imagine life without it.

Have you used any nootropics to enjoy music more or to play an instrument? Or have you found certain types of music to have a nootropic effect? Leave your answer in the comments section at the bottom.

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