The Truth About The Mozart Effect
The theory of the Mozart Effect appeared in 1991. It suggests that listening to Mozarts classical music can improve your brain power, particularly if you listen to his works from an early age. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a child prodigy who was composing at the age of five.
The theory obviously worked for him, leading to an estimated IQ level of 155, just five short of genius. But can Mozarts concertos help you study?
Many misconceptions have arisen from the theory, including getting a permanent boost to your IQ level if you listen to Mozart for just ten minutes each day. Many studies, such as the 1993 research undertaken by Rauscher and Shaw, concluded Mozarts music could lead to an increase in spatial reasoning. This is a loose term for general cognitive function in children and adults.
The theory created widespread media hype, prompting the Governor of Georgia in the US to bestow CDs of Mozarts music to every baby born during 1998. However, since the concept of the Mozart effect took off, subsequent studies have found that there is no direct link between listening to this music and an increase in IQ, undermining the seemingly easy win option of popping some Mozart on your playlist and watching the top exam scores come rolling in.
While the wider claims of the Mozart Effect are largely unfounded, is it effective music to study to? Quite possibly.
How Can Listening To Music Reduce Stress
Stress the feeling of emotional tension, overwhelm, or feeling unable to cope affects us mentally and physically.
Stress has a biological impact that causes your body to release specific hormones and chemicals that activate your brain in certain ways. For example, when we are highly stressed, our heart rate and blood pressure can go up, and our adrenal gland begins producing cortisol, also known as the stress hormone.
Short term, cortisol can help us find the focus and energy we need to deal with a difficult situation, but when the body is exposed to excess cortisol for a prolonged period of time, it causes perpetual, exhausting states of fight, flight, or freeze. Ongoing or chronic stress can lead to developing an anxiety disorder, depression, chronic pain, and more.
Across time and space, music has had tremendous success as a tool for stress relief. While some types of music such as classical and ambient have long been studied for their calming effects, listening to your personal favorite music of any genre also has benefits.
- lower our heart rate and cortisol levels
- release endorphins and improve our sense of well-being
- distract us, reducing physical and emotional stress levels
- reduce stress-related symptoms, whether used in a clinical environment or in daily life
Some recent findings include the following:
How Does Listening To Music Help You Concentrate
As with the other benefits we list in this article, it does depend on what youre listening to. Give the metal and miss and pop on some Classic FM or chill out sounds. Listening to music when youre not studying can also have positive effects on your ability to concentrate when you do knuckle down to some work too.
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Can Someone Efficiently Study While Listening To Music
I have always wondered how people can concentrate while watching TV or listening to music. When I am studying, I need silence to concentrate, otherwise I do not retain information and I am unable to think to my best ability. My sister on the other hand has always been a great student, and she told me that she couldnt study or do homework without the music on. When I heard this I was shocked because I didnt think it was possible to be better at something while multitasking rather than concentrating solely on one thing. In 9th grade, I had a teacher who played classical music when we took exams, thinking this would be beneficial. People have different views on this topic, but I cannot seem to understand how multitasking can be better than focusing on one thing at a time.
When you listen to music with lyrics, you are activating language-processing centers of the brain. This means that while you are trying to concentrate on one thing, you may not even realize it but you are also concentrating on the lyrics to the song you are listening to. This can cause confusion and can lead to less concentration and difficulty retaining information.
Studying while listening to music is not beneficial when there are lyrics because it activates the language-processing centers of the brain but listening to music without lyrics can be quite beneficial to some people. What works for you?
Students Favorite Study Music
In our survey, students recommended instrumental, classical, jazz, electronic, and film or video game soundtracks. I listen to all sorts of music when Im studying, but it really depends on what type of studying Im doing to help decide on a genre, says Jessica V., a fourth-year student at the Metropolitan State University of Denver in Colorado. Its always good to listen to classical music when youre trying to read textbooks or write important papers. Other times, you need music that will keep you pumped and you from falling asleep. Then I usually go for something upbeat. If youre working on a creative task, try an ambient noise soundtrack : A 2012 study found that the moderate background noise of a coffee shop or TV can enhance creativity .
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Remember That Every Student Is Different
Some students will thrive in their study time with music. But some students need absolute silence while they study. Generally their study needs will guide their desire to listen or not listen to music. But for some students that find focusing in general difficult, you may have to impost some limits that they would not prefer.
How Music Can Help Your Child Learn
Research on the effects of music on learning has been in progress for decades. When research on the Mozart Effect – the theory that listening to Mozart’s music can temporarily improve performance, and perhaps even IQ – became popularized in the late 1950s, parents everywhere began to try and expose their children to more classical music. The theory became so popular that Georgia’s governor even proposed a budget allowing for every baby born in Georgia to receive a classical music CD. Do Georgia’s children now have IQs that surpass the national average? Can Mozart really make our children smarter?
As with most theories, critics’ verdicts on the Mozart Effect have been controversial. But what is not generally controversial though, and is supported by a strong body of evidence, is the fact that ongoing music education does help children across a wide range of criteria – including overall academic performance. A Canadian research group from McMaster University compared two groups of six children between the ages of 4 and 6 one group took Suzuki music lessons and the other had no musical instruction. The results, which were published in the online journal Brain on September 20, 2006, showed that the children who received musical instruction excelled above their peers in memory skills as well as ‘non-musical’ abilities such as literacy, mathematics and even IQ.
Make room, math and science – perhaps it’s time music finds its place as part of the core curriculum!
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How Can Brainscape Help You Study More Effectively
Another thing that may help you focus on your studies? Using the Brainscape app. One of the reasons students like studying with music in the background is because they find studying to be, well, boring. The music makes the experience more pleasurable although, as weve seen, it doesnt do you any cognitive favors.
Brainscapes adaptive flashcard system is built from the ground up around methods like spaced repetition and active recall to make studying easier and more effective. Moreover, the information is delivered in super manageable bite-sizes with a cornucopia of features designed to grip your attention and keep you engaged while preparing for your exam.
So, while theres no magical pill or a single tip thatll make you learn better, Brainscape can swing the needle in the right direction.
Still cant imagine studying without music to help you focus? Wed recommend checking out our complete guide to focusing better to find something that works for you, without handicapping how much you remember.
Can Music Affect Creativity Levels
Can music put you in a more creative mood? Once again, the evidence says yes.
Researchers conducting a study found that people who listen to music tend to have more innovative solutions to problems than those who work in silence. They placed participants in five groups and had them listen while they performed tasks designed to test their ability to think creatively.
One group listened to happy music, while the others listened to sad, calm, and anxious music, respectively. The other group performed tasks in silence. According to the results, the group that listened to happy music showed more flexibility in their thinking and found more solutions to their tasks than the other groups.6
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Is Music Bad For Studying
Music can be bad for studying if it changes too rapidly. Seek out more sustained sounds with longer repetitive tracks. Dont change songs frequently or use medleys. Many people say they find the music less useful for language study and reading fiction the latter is likely because it requires your brain to imagine and visualise the world of the book.
Best Genres To Study To
Music is universal, and everyones tastes are different. You might be experiencing that right now with a roommate or a group of friends. What soothes one person might drive the other one to pull their hair out. Sound familiar? Since we all have different personalities, music preferences and even study habits youre probably wondering which type of music is best. Weve done the homework for you with some suggested genres and examples of each that may help put your brain in the right frame of mind. Take a listen.
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What Kind Of Music Can Help You Study
There are many ways to enjoy the memory-boosting effects of music. Music that helps you focus will often fall into one or more of these categories:
|12Hz 27Hz||Highly alert, problem-solving|
Binaural beats work by generating two different tones, one for each ear . While one tone might resonate at a frequency of 210Hz, the other may resonate at 200Hz.As you listen to the different frequencies, your brain resolves the dissonance into a third sound, an integration of the two. The third sound is the binaural beat. So, why use binaural beats? Well, binaural beats can be used in tandem with music that helps you focus. In fact, many songs specifically designed to increase focus and concentration layer binaural beats into the music for an added brain-boosting effect.
Binaural beats can be used to mimic different brainwave states of the brain. When the brain hears a specific frequency, it seeks to fall into alignment with that frequency. It resonates with the binaural beat to match its output with what it hears.
Binaural beats are just one aural avenue you can take for better focus. In fact, weve put together a playlist of music that helps you focus a compilation of binaural beats, ambient sounds, and some soothing instrumental tracks designed to guide you to centered awareness.
What is your favorite thing to listen to for increased focus and awareness? Tell us in the comments below!
Proven To Improve Brain Functions
Perhaps one of the most compelling reasons to listen to music during a study session is because music is proven to help improve cognitive performance. Basically, music helps your brain function! Background music may enhance performance on cognitive tasks. One older study found that listening to music allowed test takers to complete more questions in the time allotted and get more answers right. More recent research suggests that whether or not music improves cognitive function depends on whether the music first improves a persons emotional state . If you want to improve brain performance while studying, evidence now shows that you must first improve your emotional state by listening to music that you enjoy!
Musical activity serves as a cognitive exercise for the brain which trains it for more challenges in the future. Therefore, people who have musical training early on, specifically before age seven, have healthier brains and are less likely to suffer from debilitating diseases like Alzheimers or Dementia. But you dont have to wait for a certain age before benefitting from music. Regardless of whether youre a freshman or senior, you can start exercising your brain now, simply by having your favorite device and earphones handy for any study session.
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Music Helps You Concentrate
Similar to helping you focus, gentle music will enable you to concentrate on what youre doing. Brain imaging scans show that music activates both the left and right sides of the brain at the same time the activation of both hemispheres simultaneously can intensify learning abilities. Firing up different areas of your brain helps it stay in shape. Brain cells are known to die from inactivity so use them or lose them! And boosting your brainpower can be as easy as listening to some lovely sounds.
What Kind Of Music Works Best
Listening to music while you study or work doesnt always make you less productive or efficient.
If you prefer to study with music, theres no need to give it up. Keeping these tips in mind can help you find the most helpful music for work and study:
- Avoid music with lyrics. Any music that has lyrics in a language you understand will probably prove more distracting than helpful.
- Choose slow, instrumental music. Existing research generally focuses on classical music, but if you dont enjoy this genre, you could also consider soft electronic, space, or ambient the kind you might hear at a spa or while getting a massage.
- Avoid surprising or experimental music. Music that changes abruptly or lacks a fixed rhythm can leave you guessing about what to expect. This can distract your brain and keep you from focusing on your work.
- Keep the volume low. Study music should stay at a background volume. If its too loud, it could disrupt your thinking process.
- Stick to songs you dont have strong feelings about. Listening to music you either love or hate can affect your ability to concentrate.
- Stream commercial-free music, if possible. Picture this: Youre listening to your instrumental Pandora station when a toilet paper commercial cuts in, annoying you and derailing your train of thought. Enough said.
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How It Can Help
It would be fantastic if you could put on a playlist or song that could help you knock out a problem set or memorize all those dates for your history final, wouldnt it?
Unfortunately, music isnt quite that powerful. It mostly helps in indirect ways, but those benefits can still make a big difference.
How Much Does Listening To Music Affect Your Studying
Music has long been known to have a powerful effect on the mind. Many people reach for a pair of headphones as the first step in studying or completing classwork, while others prefer peace and quiet with no audible distractions at all. Understanding how music affects mood and memory can help you determine when music is appropriate during your studies and how it affects your long-term results to use this tool to its fullest as you study for your exams.
Music and Improved Performance
Numerous studies have indicated that music can improve mental performance by activating the brain and promoting a more creative mental environment. More recent studies have found that listening to music you enjoy can boost your mood, which intensifies mental focus and improves willpower to keep you successfully on task, even when youd rather be doing something else. If you cant find a quiet environment in which to study, pulling on a pair of headphones can also be beneficial, helping you to create a more peaceful and personalized environment free of distractions. Additionally, music can help you stay focused on repetitive-type tasks, improving your efficiency and helping you to complete more studying in less time when you feel energized and excited about your work. Finding the right music that inspires you without distracting you from your studies can be extremely beneficial, especially if you are struggling to find the time or the motivation to hit the books.
Music and Decreased Performance
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Does The Tempo Of Music Affect Concentration
Another factor in cognitive enhancement is how fast or slow your chosen study music happens to be.
A super fast tempo can leave you susceptible to an earworm. This secretive creature is a small snippet of tune or lyric that remorselessly repeats over and over in your brain. It was identified by the psychologist, Dr. Cornelius Eckhart in 1979 and has blighted many study sessions ever since.
Apparently, the remedy could be to listen to the tune in its entirety, chew gum or simply find another piece of music, preferably one thats played at a slower speed.
Music to study to is arguably more beneficial when it has a leisurely pace, helping to stimulate your brain but not cause overstimulation to the point of loss of concentration on the study topic youre trying to focus on.