Many students listen to music while they study or revise, believing it helps them concentrate better. On the flip side, there are those who find music incredibly distracting and need silence to function best during work or study. Music can have both positive and negative effects on studying, depending on the student and the type of music. In this article, we will look at the best study music – what to listen to while studying.
Pros of Listening to Music While Studying
Music that is soothing and relaxing can help students to beat stress or anxiety while studying. Music may improve focus on a task by providing motivation, improving mood, and aiding endurance. Sometimes, students have found that music helps them with memorization, likely by creating a positive mood, which indirectly boosts memory formation.
Cons of Listening to Music While Studying
However, students who listen to music with lyrics while completing reading or writing tasks tend to be less efficient and come away having absorbed less information. Loud music can have adverse effects on reading comprehension and on mood, making the focus more difficult.
Quite often, students who use music to help them memorize sometimes need to listen to music while taking the test in order to reap the benefits of this study method. In the silent test-taking environment, these students may find it more difficult to recall the information.
What Does Science Say?
The theory that listening to music, particularly classical music, makes people smarter, was developed in the early 1990s. It’s not clearly established, at least scientifically, that listening to classical music, or any music for that matter, actually makes a person smarter or more intelligent.
Music has a great role to play in a student’s life and career. Studies and research have found that depending on the type of music, it can actually help students to focus more while studying. In this post, we will look at the best music type or playlist that can help you study better.
Choosing the Best Study Music for You
What is the best study music to listen to?
When it comes to studying, many students are of the opinion that as long as it’s getting done every day, it doesn’t really matter how. However, half an hour of true focus can achieve much the same as four hours of badly executed study time. Although thorough planning, nearby distractions and even time of day can play a part in the success of a study session, the piece of the puzzle that we’ll focus on today is choosing the right music for studying.
Start With Something You Know
It’s important to remember that there’s music for every occasion and so the best music for concentration might not be your first choice on a normal day. Think about the sort of music that you play whilst online gaming – do you ever turn it down for when you need to concentrate? Perhaps you have a playlist that you switch to when you know that the gameplay will be confusing; that might just be your best study music.
If you’re able to start by finding one or two songs that really help you to focus then that can be a great place to start. Music plays a big role in all of our lives, so it’s key to find something that suits your own tastes. Working from the tracks you’ve found, try a search through an app like Spotify to help find more tracks that are similar. Their algorithms can see which tracks people listen to and match you up to new songs that you might enjoy.
Stay Away From Lyrics
Whilst you might enjoy songs like Lovely by Billie Eilish, which is stretching as far as Australia as a frontrunner for the Triple J Hottest 100 award, to get you pumped for the gym, something a little more soothing is often better for studying. Choosing tracks that have few or no words tends to be an easy way to allow yourself to absorb information more readily, without the distraction of lyrics.
However, a lack of lyrics doesn’t have to mean a lack of interest. For those who like indie or alternative music, there are plenty of bands that play purely instrumental music which is both captivating and modern. For people who prefer something a little closer to the Ibiza scene, you’ll be spoilt for choice with ‘Chill Out’ house playlists.
If you happen to be a fan of classical then plenty of modern pianists are finding great success at the moment with striking ambient piano music. Film soundtracks can also be a source of great inspiration during study time. Whichever genre you prefer, it is guaranteed that you’ll find brilliant music that’s lyric-free.
Try Classical Music
“Classical music is peaceful and harmonious making it one of the best options to listen to when studying.”
Classical music is known for being both peaceful and harmonious, creating a calm and serene study environment for the listen. It’s recommended as one of the best studying genres for students because listeners report side effects like better mood and increased productivity. As far as side effects go, those aren’t too shabby!
It Doesn’t Have to be Music
If you’re still struggling to find anything that really interests you musically, then another angle to come from is ‘ambient noise’. Although many people might laugh at the idea of studying whilst listening to ocean sounds, there’s a wealth of research to suggest that listening to sounds from nature helps us to relax and focus.
You could choose the aforementioned ocean sounds, with gently lapping waves and the occasional sea-bird. You could instead opt for a woodland soundtrack with songbirds and crunching leaves, or a trickling stream with quietly croaking frogs or a summer meadow with the swish of long grass. There are tens of thousands of ambient noise playlists that you can make your way through. If you’re one of the people who finds the idea a bit silly, then have a go anyway; if you’re listening through headphones then nobody even needs to know!
The most important thing to take away from this is to review what you’re listening to. You don’t have to make drastic changes all at once, but making a conscious effort to broaden your listening to more ‘study friendly’ genres of music will really pay off. A month or so down the line you could have hours and hours of your own study playlist music (or even be using a premade one) and the minute you put that playlist on your brain will make the switch into focus mode.
Listening to music can calm you down, leading to more conscientious studying, elevating your mood, motivating you to stay focused and studying for longer periods of time. However, it really depends on what to listen to while studying.
At the end of the day, what actually matters is that whatever you’re listening to doesn’t distract you, calms you and truly puts your mind into study mode so that you can be productive and retain as much information as possible.
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