Does Music Help You Study Or Is Silence Better
You walk into the room and your child is listening to music while they study. Do you tell them to turn it off so they can focus? Or do you encourage them to keep on listening? Read on to find out how to decide what to do.
In my house, we often have music on in the background while we play or do chores. But when Im working, I cant turn it off fast enough. I need quiet to focus! But is that true for everyone?
Some of my students swear they need music to help them focus while studying. Its hard to tell sometimes if they are really focusing better, or if the music is actually making them get off task. It begs the question: does music help or hurt when it comes to studying?
So Does Music Help You Study
From the available research, the answer to that question depends both on what youre listening to and what kind of work youre doing. If youre studying with the intent to remember what you read, you should stick with silence, gentle sounds like binaural beats and white noise, or simple, repetitive, lyric-free music to ensure youre getting maximum value from the time invested.
One final thought is this: use music as a reward rather than a study aid.
After 30 minutes of studying, allow yourself a couple listens to your favorite music. It might even sound better than usual, knowing that you just knocked out some extremely efficient studying. Call it a victory song.
However, if the work youre doing doesnt demand deep memorization or recall, music may indeed offer some benefits to both your efficiency and creativity.
Want to learn even more about the connections between music and the brain? Check out the podcast Music and the Brain over at the Library of Congress.
Competing For Your Brains Bandwidth:
Our short-term memory can only hold so much at any one time. If you listen to music, you are using up some of your brains bandwidth . If the music is not too demanding, you might only be using up a little, leaving plenty for studying.
However, if the music grabs your attention, or the material youre studying is complex or difficult, then it could end up competing too much for the cognitive resources you have.
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Does Music Help You Study Let’s Find Out
“How on earth can you study when you’re listening to that racket?” It’s a phrase we’ve all heard our parents use at some point. But, while ‘the Mozart effect‘ has been widely refuted, there is a large body of scientific research that suggests listening to background music does actually help you study.
The arguments for listening to music while studying?
- It heightens your mood, which leads to positive performance
- Soothing music can reduce stress and anxiety
There are some very significant caveats to be aware of, however, and as with many of these questions, whether someone performs well when listening to music really depends on the person and their individual circumstances and preferences. Here’s what you need to know.
The truth behind the “Mozart effect.” Does listening to classical music actually make you smarter?
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Improves Focus And Concentration
One of the most frequently asked questions we get is ‘Does music help you focus?‘And more often than not our answer is: ‘Yes – but it depends!’One of the main reasons for listening to music while studying is the increase in your focus and concentration. When you listen to music with headphones it conveniently eliminates surrounding noise. Resulting in less distractions and improving your ability to focus on your studies.
FIND OUT what the Best Headphones are for studying on our latest roundup HERE.
Music can also improve your concentration. However we preface this claim with it depends on the type of music. Generally speaking, the genre of music that aids in improving concentration is less intrusive and repetitive. This makes sense, as it creates a white-noise effect. Allowing the brain to tune out and concentrate on the task at hand – studying!
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It Can Even Cure Pain
So, you arrived at the last Conquistadors basketball game, prepared to perform better after a little music therapy. Excited and energized, you played all of your best moves on the court, until you sprained your ankle landing a slam dunk. Ouch! Now, every time you attempt to study, your mind only focuses on the pounding pain in your ankle! Have you tried studying with music? According to USA Today, music is so powerful to the body that it can actually help ease the pain. Studies show that music can meaningfully reduce the perceived intensity of pain, especially in geriatric care, intensive care, or palliative medicine.
Your ankle pain and your midterm stand no chance against your favorite album and focused mind! Similar to how a lullaby would calm you, listening to music can also help you relax as by lowering your blood pressure, easing muscle tension and increasing your attention span.
So Music Does Help You Study It’s Not As Simple As That
While numerous studies indicate a positive correlation between music and study, there are some important points to know about before you get the bass blaring.
Firstly, D. M. Jones et al found that rapid changes in music tempo or type of music can have a negative effect on focus because it is more distracting – it is harder to relegate music to ‘background noise’ when it’s constantly changing all the time.
Likewise, listening to music with lyrics can also be a distraction. “Music with lyrics is very likely to have a problematic effect when you’re writing or reading,” said Clifford Nass, Communication Professor at Stanford University, speaking to USA Today in 2012. “Probably less of an effect on math, if you’re not using the language parts of your brain.” This is because if you’re listening to lyrics but also paying attention to words on a page, your brain is more likely to get confused between all the different words.
The argument for music as a stress reliever relies on that music being relaxing – heavy beats are unlikely to keep your blood pressure down. A study by Hallam et al into school pupils completing a maths task found that they performed best with calming music, second with silence, and worst with aggressive music.4
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Study Performance Is Depends On Environment
As mentioned in our previous article , we now know that music is only useful for studying when you can listen to the same music while taking the exam. Alternatively a person who studies in silence gets better exam results when taking the exam in silence. Therefor we conclude that since most exams take place in silence its best to study in silence. Perhaps you should study using ear muffs?
Creating A Playlist Of Your Own
Creating playlists of your choice seems like the wisest thing to do for enhancing your study experience. The emphasis on listening to music that helps you study is to ensure a productive outcome eventually. But, thats going to be possible only if you also enjoy what youre listening to. That is the key. If classical music or instrumental rock may not have worked out well for you, you can create a playlist of the other types of music to listen to while studying. Make sure that you try out and experiment with all the genres a little ahead of time, so that, when youre preparing for your exams, you can just play your concrete music-study playlist and benefit from it. In that sense, youre not only listening to music you enjoy, but youre also listening to music while studying!
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Can Listening To Music Actually Help You Concentrate
Are you the kind of person who enjoys listening to music when carrying out certain tasks – for instance, while studying for an exam, driving a car, or reading a book? A common belief shared by many is that listening to background music helps improve focus, blocks out distractions, and even makes a tedious task more enjoyable. Yet despite the prevalence of music in our daily lives, little is known about how this soundtrack affects brain function.
A recently published article in “Psychomusicology: Music, Mind, and Brain” by Tram Nguyen, a Scientist on the Cambridge Brain Sciences team, examined the effects of background music on memory by using music to alter the listener’s mood and arousal states . Participants completed three memory tasks while listening to four types of music:
It Improves Your Mood
Music doesnt just motivate you. It can also help reduce stress and promote a more positive mindset.
Research suggests that a good mood generally improves your learning outcomes. Youll likely have more success with studying and learning new material when youre feeling good.
Studying can be stressful, especially when you dont entirely understand the subject material. If you feel overwhelmed or upset, putting on some music can help you relax and work more effectively.
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End Your Study Session With Classical Music
We now understand that music and memory are strongly linked in the brain, and that music can be beneficial to study. All that studying, however, has made you exhausted! You close the textbooks and lay beneath your blankets, but your mind is still buzzing from all of the information youve acquired. Cant sleep? Well, music can even help you close out the night after studying. Listening to classical music has been shown to effectively treat insomnia in college students, making it a safe, cheap alternative to sleep-inducing meds .
Tips For Listening To Music While Studying
Ultimately, there are many different variables that decide whether someone studies better with music. If you want to try it, follow these tips to ensure you’re still getting the most from your study time:
For extra help with your study, check out Studiosity. Our subject specialists can provide you with one-to-one help in real time, while our writing feedback service gives you constructive feedback on your essays, all with a 24-hour turnaround.
The best bit? You may already have access to Studiosity for free through your education provider. Take a look to see if your university or school has access here.
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The Impact Of Music On Studying
We cant elaborate on the effects of music on learning and studies without mentioning the Mozart effect. Surely you have heard of it. Research has revealed that listening to Mozart can actually make you smarter and improve your test scores. How? According to research, music stimulates parts of your mind that put you in a better mood.
Its not just the Mozart effect. A study conducted in the 1990s also revealed the Blur Effect. Kids who listen to Blur actually do quite well on their tests.
How does this work? What does music have to do with your mind? Does Music Help You Study? Well, music puts you in a better mood. As a result, you are willing to push yourself harder and are motivated not to give up. Your productivity gets a boost with music.
Studies can undoubtedly get mundane at times. You find your attention deviating due to the repetition. But music ensures that you dont lose your way. And its not at all hearsay. All this is backed by science and research.
Many studies have revealed the close link between music, memory, and emotion. Theres a reason that memorizing song lyrics is easier than learning your lessons. Your brain uses patterns to process and recall information. So why not leverage this and use music to improve your learning ability and performance in studies?
Music Aids You To Concentrate More
Students who prepare for an exam feel like the absence of any sound in the environment doesnt help them to concentrate. It is due to the pressure that their brain experiences at that moment.
There are some kinds of songs that can improve ones ability to concentrate. Classical music is a good example. Even the science proved that kids and adults who might be listening to classical music dont just experience relaxation but enjoy improved ability to stay attentive and focused. So, why not try to listen to your favorite hits while reading or doing your assignment on mathematics.
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What Type Of Study Are You Doing
Listening to music is not compatible with all types of study. Researchers in Australia and the UK have found that music decreases peopleâs capacity to carry out reading comprehension and writing exercises. This is especially the case with music containing vocals. In this instance, youâre asking your brain to process two sets of words at once. Obvious to say, then, that your capacity to comprehend and process study material is going to be impacted if part of your brain is attending to the lyrics.
Evidence suggests that listening to music may help memory retention, but it also advises that people are better able to recall information when they are in a similar environment in which it was learned. So, unless schools start allowing students to listen to music during tests and exams, it may actually be counter-productive to study with music, particularly if youâre completing practice test and exam questions.
So does listening to music help you stay awake and study? Well, the current science suggests that music can be beneficial to study provided that it is something relaxing, and not too fast, loud or word-heavy. With that being said, research suggests that it is best avoided for test- and exam-condition study. To help your recall ability in these situations, it is best to try and mirror these environments as closely as possible.
Study In Silence Or Listen To Music
Year 11 and 12 exams are fast approaching. Teenagers across Australia are holing themselves away for their final slog of study and revision. Heads down and headphones on. What’s their study soundtrack? Pop? Classical? Ambient whale sounds?
There’s a whole industry geared towards ‘brain music’. Spotify, iTunes, YouTube and mozarteffect.com all tout ‘revision soundtracks’ and ‘concentration music’ to stream or download. Their relaxing strings, ‘alpha waves’ or binaural beats promise students increased focus, relaxation and brain power.
Dare to question whether listening to music might … ahem … be a distraction to your teenage child’s study, however, and you’re likely to be shot down by cries of outrage and incredulity. “But it helps me concentrate!’ they insist, “It calms me down”, “It helps me study for longer”.
Music is a major part of a teenager’s life. It’s deeply connected to their language, emotions and developing identity. Neurologists have confirmed that the music we relate to in adolescence has a stronger grip on our emotions and memory than music we enjoy at any other period of our lives.
And music has never been more accessible or portable. Today we stream music from our phones or watches to discreet earbuds or wireless, noise-cancelling headphones. Shopping malls, gyms, offices – libraries even – are full of people going about their day-to-day cocooned in their private audio worlds.
The case for music
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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.
Background Music Is Disruptive For Phonological Short
This is a fancy way of saying music, in particular music with vocals, is disruptive for the learning process that takes place while reading. A 1989 study found that in general no background sound was best for short-term memory, followed by noise, instrumental music and finally music with lyrics. Music with lyrics was the most disruptive.
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Music Can Help Distract Your Brain From Distressing Thoughts
The most difficult part of learning and studying is to set yourself free from those disturbing thoughts. Some things can come to prevent you from understanding and internalizing what you have been reading.
Listening to music is a good solution to keep those thoughts at bay. Listening to instrumental songs can be so helpful to your case. This way, your mind stays free from anything that causes distraction, allowing you to concentrate.
The best gift that music gives to people could be its therapeutic effect on your soul. It does not matter whether youre happy or sad because theres always good hits that will match your mood. Everybody can relate to the need to hear good music.
Regardless of your age, preference, or race, there will be a song that turns to be your favorite. Listening to it no matter what youre doing is no doubt a good idea.