Countless times I have found myself sitting in the library dozing off or not paying attention. It’s ironic because I go to the library for the quietness so I can concentrate. Yet, when it’s too quiet I get bored or lose focus in what I’m doing. In search of a happy medium, I stumbled upon a website that recommended some light background music (Centura par. 4).
The Stanford University School of Medicine conducted an experiment in 2007 to see if music helps the brain pay attention. The study was composed of pictures of multiple individuals and their brains while they were listening to musical symphonies. The findings backed up the recommendation made by Centura College. Light background music activated parts of the brain that deal with attention, memory, and even prediction making (Baker par. 2). The pictures were taken using an fMRI, which essentially allowed the researchers to see the brain at work. The study found that the musical composition helped the individuals collect the presentment. Jonathan Berger, a professor of music and a musician, explains how music benefits the brain and helps sharpen it for future endeavors. Apparently, long-term music appreciation can lead to better prediction of affairs and help individuals keep in thought (par. 14).
According to an article written by Sheela Doraiswamy, there are many benefits to listening to music in general. She says that music has been noticed to enhance memory, math ability, and even attention span. Music can apparently also lessen the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Already it seems reasonable to start listening to music because the negatives of listening to music outweigh the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Doraiswamy mentions a study that took place at the University of Wales. The test was a memory test based on students’ capability to call to mind items in a certain sequence. The students performed the test in exactly five different scenarios. Although this test proved to be non-beneficial to the idea that music is helpful, the researchers at the University of Wales recognized that the study was random and that music’s’ effect could vary on every individual. Doraiswamy mentions a study from the University of Dayton that found that students performed better on an examination if classical music was used in the background.
One study conducted by Glenn Schellenberg, a psych professor in the University of Toronto, revealed that certain music actually negatively affects one’s ability to understand readings. Essentially, Schellenberg recommends music listeners to listen to calmer music when trying to study or do work that requires focus. Melanie Fineman, a student at Brown University, also recommends listening to music while studying.
Music can benefit study, depending on the type of music being played. Music also can also reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, so it’ll be more beneficial than destructive. Personally, I listened to music the entire time I was preparing this blog post, and the music itself did not distract me once.