Does Music Help You Study?

Science Blog Studying

Whether brushing up on the chapter or cramming all of your notes into your head the night before a test, we all have different methods for studying. Some people need to isolate themselves from all noise/distraction in order to study. Some just don’t do it to begin with. Some people, like me, like to listen to music when they study.

According to the article “Music While You Work,” by Adrian Furnham and Anna Bradley, “Music reduces the tension and boredom that are highly correlated with routine work but acts as a distracter for complex mental work.” Sarah Ransdell conducted a study in which 45 students wrote essays as fast as they could with and without music playing in the background. She found that the music caused students to finish their essays about 60 words per hour slower than without. Joseph Cardillo argues that music can be helpful in studying and stating that “The trick is to be able to access your state of mind at a specific moment and figure out which way you need to go (up or down) to hit your brain’s sweet spot of calm, energized flow as you work on your goals. Using music makes sense because it is natural and has no side effect(s).” (Equinox)

I like listening to music while I study. I feel that it helps me to zone in on my work and focus. In order to successfully study with music, I have to get my mind to a point where the music becomes a background noise and it cancels out any other outside distractions while I’m doing my work. I need to play the right kind of music also. It needs to be something with a more mellow vibe to it. For example, I would have difficulty staying focused if I tried to study while listening to “turn up” music.

I believe that music can definitely help with studying, however, I will admit that it can also be distracting. Everyone reacts differently to music and different types of music. Find a genre that works for you and maybe it will help you concentrate too.

6 thoughts on “Does Music Help You Study?

  1. Corey Michael Lapenna

    I was personally never able to listen to music as I study yet other people I know can. This study i feel is almost a personal based theory due to the fact of how well people can multitask. The study in which you talked about was in my opinion different from actually helping the myth. This is because i find there to be a difference between studying and writing essays and such. For example when I study I personally need it to be quite yet while i do work and other things in which are different i love to listen to music as it allows me to make the time seem to go by much easier.

  2. Ines Anne Montfajon

    I always listen to music when I study too and it helps me to focus and concentrate on my work, but i know that it does not work for some people. Whether listening to music definitely improves test scores is still up in the air. The amount of research done up to this point is not enough to prove that music helps to study. It has proven it could go either way and it’s really up to the individual like it says on this article. .
    When you music does work to help you study it might also be because of other variable such as where you are studying or when you are studying.
    Great post!

  3. Brittney Ann Strazza

    Personally, as much as I enjoy listening to music, I try to be in a quiet environment while studying. Most of the time, having music in the background either distracts me from my work or doesn’t do anything at all for me. In that case, I just keep it turned off. One thing I do know is that Classical music is the type of music recommended for studying. It has many different benefits all of which have been scientifically tested. Listening to Classical music can reduce pain and anxiety. It also has the ability to relax the listener. If you would like to learn more about the effects Classical music has on the brain, this is a great article.

  4. Caitlin Marie Gailey

    I wonder if the reason the null hypothesis was rejected was because of the type of study done. I frequently listen to music while I am studying and doing homework, however it highly depends on what I am doing. I too struggle to write with music in the background as I often pay attention to the lyrics of the song rather than the words I am trying to generate. I would be fascinated with the results if a larger group of students was polled, reducing the risk of chance causing the rejection of the null hypothesis. I would also be interested if students were tested with a variety of academic tasks rather than just writing. It is possible that the subjects chosen for the experiment had no previous experience of writing with music, so any change to their behavior caused these results, not just the music.

  5. Abigail Charlotte Ventosa

    I always listen to music when I’m doing my work or studying. During high school when I would do this my parents would always be so confused as to how I could do this and continue to study efficiently. I was wondering if maybe this is a new thing with our generation, considering we’re around technology all the time and have grown up watching tv, using our phones, and listening to music while multitasking.

  6. Charles Lloyd Johnson

    This has always been a very interesting topic that comes up frequently between students. I know many of my friends can listen to music while they study or do work however, I am not the same way. Whenever I try to listen to music and get work done I always find myself getting distracted by the song and either singing along or just not focusing on my work. The weirdest part is that I can study for math and listen to music. I’m not sure if it has to do with the fact that its not reading and it is just numbers or, the fact that I just like math. Music can effect us is many different ways too. When I workout I use music to get me in the zone and to cancel out everything else around me. I can definitely see how people can use music to study and get in the zone but for me (other than math), it never seems to work. Music overall is a very interesting topic and understanding what it does to the body during specific situations is unique.

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