Headphones and Homework Aren’t Such a Great Couple

coverEver since I got to college, I constantly find myself picking up my headphones on my way out of my room to do school work or to study. The two reasons I do this is because I get distracted easily and music soothes my mind when I am stressed about school.

Many of you may think that music is distracting while doing school work, but personally I believe the bathroom air hand dryer going off next to my floor’s study room to be a professional at breaking my focus. Also, trying to do work in the commons and being able to hear other people talk is something I am not very fond of.

Everyone has different kinds of music for different situations. Whether it be trying to amp yourself up before a sports game or listening to sad music after a break-up, there always seems to be music that can fit any situation you are currently in. While I am trying to crank out my school work, I prefer to listen to hip hop. Not hip hop music with heavy bass and screaming rappers, hip hop music with mellow, relaxing beats. This form of music is what I believe to be perfect for trying to get school work done.

Now into the research of how music effects school work. Through the numerous number of studies a read on this particular topic, all had two underlying themes: music effects your short term memory and that listening to music is still multi-tasking (which is very bad). Many trails following a format of having a group of people try memorize something in quiet versus with music playing show that the group that had the music playing in the background do worse. multitasking_93455Also, even though you may not realize this, music is multi-tasking. Listening to music requires your brain to be spending much needed energy on deciphering vibrations into music. Thus, whenever you are making your body do any kind of multi-tasking, you will not perform at as high of a level.

Even though music does slightly effect your cognitive learning skills and is considered multi-tasking, I will continue to take that loss and throw on my noise cancellation Beats as I bang out all my school work.


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6 thoughts on “Headphones and Homework Aren’t Such a Great Couple

  1. Milan Deon Smith

    This article was quite interesting. I have found during my time in college that nice smooth soothing music can in fact enhance my focus to study. Then I did a little research on my own and found something that says there are in fact different genre’s of music that can be more affective at increasing your ability to gather info while listening to the music. Heres the link http://www.fastweb.com/student-life/articles/the-best-study-music-what-to-listen-to-while-studying

  2. Sean Patrick Hickey

    I have read many times that music and school work don’t pair well and your post makes another one, but yet I still find myself listening to music when I do homework. Whenever I try to do homework without music it just feels weird. I can hear whats going on outside and it feels like I can hear every little thing going on in my dorm. But listening to music can definitely distract me as well, sometimes ill start listening to a song and I’ll completely zone out from my homework and 30 minutes later ill realize that I haven’t gotten anything done. Despite this I don’t see myself doing homework without music anytime soon, but you should check out this, https://www.goconqr.com/en/examtime/blog/music-for-studying/ , it says that classical music can actually aid in studying, I’ve tried it and its definitely less distracting.

  3. Dominic DeCinque

    When I was in high school, one of my teachers taught that listening to music cannot help, but damage your performance while doing anything related to school work. I am like you now that I am here at Penn State. I always listen to music when walking to and from class. It passes the time and I am a huge fan of all different types of music. For me, music never helps me do my school work. My teacher in high school taught me to never listen to music while studying, reading, or writing. As you pointed out, music is multi-tasking. No matter how much you think you aren’t thinking about it, you are. Changing the song, managing the volume, or thinking of the words throws a person off while trying to study. Here is a link discussing the pros and cons of listening to music while studying.

  4. cmt5658

    I personally have always been distracted by music while doing work, but I have observed that while I sit in the quiet rooms in the library almost everyone has their headphones in. While this topic is really interesting, I think you could have included some studies or real like proven facts to expand on your post. (http://www.inquiriesjournal.com/articles/762/2/the-impact-of-listening-to-music-on-cognitive-performance) That study focuses on different types of music and volumes, as well as uses silence as a control group. In conclusion, the silent group scored the highest score.

  5. Taylor Rodrigues

    Really great article! I can definitely relate to this as well ( and can relate to your choice of music I love hip hop). I like how you explained how music with “mellow and relaxing beats,” are more helpful for studying rather than music with heavy bass and loud noises. In this article by USA Today, http://college.usatoday.com/2012/09/10/should-you-listen-to-music-while-you-study/
    they state how listening to music while studying is better than going on social media, however it states while doing “language based work,” try to keep away from listening to music!

  6. Nicholas E Schneider

    While I’m glad that i read your article as It was well written and offered strong insight into why listening to music while studying can be counterproductive, i considered skipping reading your post all together because I’m afraid to hear the truth! Honestly, i spend a huge portion of my day listening to music. Whether I’m walking through campus on my way to class, studying for an upcoming exam in my room or working on a project in the library, i almost always have my headphones in my ears. This may sound ridiculous, but even if it was guaranteed that listening to music while studying negatively impacts grades, i still wouldn’t be able to kick the earbuds. There’s just something about listening to music that makes wading through piles of class notes and study guides that much easier.

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