Should you listen to music while studying?

Many students around the world nowadays feel they need to listen to music while they study for a test, because they believe it will help them ‘concentrate better’. Some even say that without music, they cannot focus at all as it is too quiet. On the other hand, there are also students who find music incredibly distracting and need some silence to really function.  So is it really true that listening to music helps students study better? Or is it really a distraction they’re not aware of?

Music can put us in a better mood

More and more students are using headphones in libraries to study. They all may have different reasons for doing so. But for now, let’s look at the benefits for listening to music. You might have heard of the Mozart effect, which is the idea that listening to Mozart music will make you smarter. This theory is based on research that found listening to complex classical music like Mozart improved test scores, which the researcher argued was based on the music’s ability to stimulate parts of our minds that play a role in mathematical ability. However, later research contradicted this, stating that it only really is beneficial because it brings us in a better mood. This will result in a higher motivation and a better focus to stick with challenging tasks. 

If you really want to listen to music while you want to study, it is better to listen to relaxing music like classical music or acoustic guitar to beat stress. Background music may improve focusing on your study without being distracted by music from the world around you. 

Music can distract us

On the other hand, music can be a distraction, especially under certain circumstances. This is because you are using your “working memory” when you are studying. This means you are holding several parts of information in your head at one time. When there is background music and sound your memory is working less efficiently. As a result, reading comprehension will decrease, because your brain can’t really focus on both tasks at one time. It is often concluded that you have absorbed less information. 

Ultimately, the effects of music on study habits are really dependent on the student and the way they learn. If you are easily distracted, you should avoid listening to music to focus on your work. Conversely, if you are a multitask talent you can find it helpful to listen to music to concentrate.

I hope by now you can decide for yourself if you want to listen to music or not. If you want to read more about how you can get your motivation high, please read this blog.