One of the most common questions that so many students ask me is, ‘ Does studying with music help or not ?’ after days of research with hundreds of research, I have found that the answer to this question is entirely subjective. It depends on the type of student and also the kind of music. There is logic on both sides. After reading this article, you will decide if listening to music while studying will be good for you or not.
Why studying with music helps?
There are so many students out there who are relying on music while studying and getting great results. Here are some benefits of listening to music while studying:
Decreased Fatigue: When you listen to music, you don’t feel the stress of studying for long hours. The fatigue of sitting down on your desk and putting in the effort of studying feels a lot easier. Music can help you feel relaxed and assist you in enduring more stressful circumstances.
Increased motivation: Have you ever tried to pull off an all-nighter? How did it feel? I’m pretty sure it felt like the end of the world. Maybe you thought of a reward to award yourself at the end of such a session. According to research, music can activate the same reward centers in your brain, just like many other things you enjoy.
Activating the reward centers can keep you motivated to study longer hours. It can also help you to study harder for the subsequent study sessions.
Improving your mood: You can never really study in a poor mood. That is the last thing you would want to do if you want to study effectively. A good mood generally has good study outcomes. You will have more improved retention if you are in a cheerful mood.
Listening to music while studying can help you elevate your mood and get rid of your worries for the time being. This can help you study and help you with the retention of the information you are learning.
Increased focus: In a 2011 study with around 45 boys with ADHD, it was discovered that background music, although a distraction for some of them, most had a better performance in the classroom. Also, another study from the Standford University of medicine stated that music, especially classical music, can help our brain absorb information more easily. So if you are struggling to learn any new information, maybe music can help you learn that information.
For many students, music acts as a tool to cancel out other external noises which are distracting and disturbing. It helps to create an ambient environment suitable for studying. This results in increased focus and concentration.
Better Memorization: Several studies have found out that classical music has helped adults perform better memory tasks. It is thought that music stimulates your brain just like exercise stimulates your body. These studies believe that certain types of music can help you perform better performing high cognitive tasks.
Why does studying with music hurts?
Not everyone agrees with all the pros mentioned above. Here are some reasons why music can be a source of a nuisance while you are studying.
Distraction: We all want to give our 100% focus while we are studying. But although some people find music to be focusing, there is an instance that music can also distract you. Your favorite tunes might lure you away from your studies. Especially when you are trying to solve a complex equation or physics problem, you would need to be at your cognitive peak without being distracted.
So, listening to music while studying might not be so helpful for you then.
Lower reading comprehension: You would want to read faster and comprehend what you learn. But certain types of music, usually fast, loud music, can make it hard to understand a topic. Every subject requires good comprehension before cramming; music can get in the middle of your understanding and cause problems grasping the actual concept. Maybe music is not the way to go while you are trying to comprehend something new.
Considering these pros and cons, should you listen to music while studying? It depends on the task. The chart below is a solution on which type of music should you hear in different circumstances:
What kind of music should you listen to while studying?
Here are some criteria that you can follow. These are some general guidelines. But if you are not comfortable with any of them or would like to do something else, you can try that too.
- Avoid music with lyrics: Just give it a thought; you are trying to solve the most complex calculus problems while Taylor swift is ringing lyrics of her ex-boyfriend in your ears. Distracting!
- Keep the volume low: You would want the sound to be soothing and relaxing. Keeping the volume low is going to help you with that.
- Stick to songs without much emotions: Listening to songs that are closely attached to you can be very distracting and can ruin your focus.
- Listen to ad-free music: The last thing you would want while listening to a piece of soothing music is to get an ad in the middle of the study session. Make sure you have it covered.
- Find slow instrumental music: Research says listening to classical music while studying helps focus and memory. But if you are not comfortable with it, try out soft ambient instrumentals. Maybe you can try out an extension like me, Noisli!
Best study music while studying
Here are some songs that can help you study with maximum concentration and improve your productivity while studying.
- Brain Food: This instrumental playlist with no lyrics is perfect for every study session. You can even use it for any productive work that you are doing. It has a very gentle touch to it. It can keep you on track with its relaxing music and get rid of all the exam stress.
- Chill Tracks: This is a complete playlist with many electronic songs if that is what you are into. Some of the songs might have lyrics, so it might not be perfect if you are learning something very complex.
- Instrumental Study: This is another alternative for you if you are looking for soothing study music. All the music is theatrical and relaxing, which is perfect for your study sessions.
- Just focus: This playlist is mainly focused on creating an isolated study environment. If you want to get rid of all the distractions around you, this playlist can take you with its ambient tone.
- Classical Concentration/ Lofi Study Beats: This playlist has a straightforward beat to it. There are so many different mixes of classical compositions that populate this playlist which is perfect for both keeping you productive and focused.
It’s your choice if you are going to listen to music or not. But according to my suggestion, listening to music while doing a high cognitive task is not really a good idea. Studying with music can help if the job you are doing does not require much mental effort. Even if you like hearing music at all times, you should follow the above general guidelines to keep yourself productive. And lastly, check out the playlists given above, as they can lift your spirits for studying and make you feel motivated.