Studying with music playing is a pretty common practice, but I’ve always wondered if it would hinder my ability to remember the information I’m trying to study. I’ve never cared enough to stop listening to music while doing schoolwork, in fact, I’m listening to Otis by Jay Z right now, which probably isn’t the most incredible studying music. So, what makes a song good for studying, and are there even any songs that are good for studying, or should we stick to silence?
USA Today College has informed me that it really depends on what it is that you’re listening to and what subject you’re working on. It’s better to listen to lyric-less music when you’re writing or reading, or otherwise using the language part of your brain. However, if you’re working on math homework, you’re probably okay to listen to all the lyrics your heart desires. This is because it may depend on your mood- if you’re in a angrier mood, you should listen to relaxing music so that your mood becomes more centered, which is the best point at which to study.
In a different study done at the University of Wales, they researched something a bit different. They looked at how much it matters if the test-taker enjoys the music that they’re listening to while taking it. What they found is that it didn’t really matter if the person liked the music or not, but what did matter was if you were listening to music at all. The constant group that took the test without any music got better scores than the people listening to music. It was also found that, although music listeners didn’t have as high of an average score as the non-music listeners, there was a significant amount of variation in the test results. What this means is that there could be a big difference between how music will affect your studying versus my studying.
After finding out more about the correlation between music and studying, I would say it’s safe to do whatever you think is best for you. If you study some nights with music and some nights without, maybe you can find out for yourself if you retain certain information better depending on the night. The cause of the bad scores or the lack of concentration could also be a third, confounding, variable. Maybe the reason your studying isn’t helping you very much is because of the distractions of your phone or the location in which you are studying. It seems like you should look at your own actions and decide yourself how music listening while studying will affect you. But maybe don’t go listening to rap if you’re easily distracted by lyrics.