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The Student-Run Newspaper of Townsend Harris High School at Queens College

The Classic

The Student-Run Newspaper of Townsend Harris High School at Queens College

The Classic

Does music improve studying?

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Zerlina Yau
Is it helpful to listen to music while studying?
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Music is said to boost concentration and mood, leading to a more productive study session, prompting many students to listen to it while studying. On the other hand, others believe that music distracts the mind and prevents them from staying on task. This debate has initiated many different studies and conversations on the pros and cons of studying with music among Harrisites. 

There are several reasons why listening to music while studying is helpful. A study from 2019 proves that listening to music triggers the release of dopamine in the brain, which is associated with the feeling of receiving a reward. This is significant because music can provide motivation when studying to increase the session’s productivity, and to learn new information. 

Freshman Dylan Wang said, “I study more effectively when I listen to music. It makes me feel more relaxed, especially when it is music that piques my interest or makes me feel at ease.”

In addition, music establishes a positive and relaxing ambiance that will decrease one’s stress level and anxiety, ultimately allowing for greater concentration. Studies from 2013 indicate that music changes the way the physical body responds to things under stress. Because music reduces a person’s stress, they can study without pressure from outside factors. Research also suggests that studying in a good mood improves the results of learning, and chances are that material will be retained without stress and a happier mood. 

Sophomore Max Chen said, “Listening to music usually helps me focus or calm myself, however sometimes I may use it to energize myself or gain motivation to do something.” 

Additionally, music can block out background noise and enhance a studying environment. For most people, the right soundtrack can establish a stable and relaxing study routine. A style of music that is often listened to while studying is classical or instrumental music. Studies have shown that this style of consistent and soothing music helps the brain absorb information easier, while also engaging it to make sense of new information more effectively. Due to varying preferences, any style of music that best suits an individual can improve their concentration and focus.

Max also said, “I believe music helps with studying because it calms the mind while also constantly reminding you of what you are doing in the first place. Music does not differ in terms of the subject, I just listen to music for the concentration factor.”

While research suggests music puts people in a more enjoyable mood, to what extent is it so enjoyable that the music becomes a distraction? Brian Anderson an associate professor of psychological and brain sciences at Texas A&M University, makes a rather negative remark about music usage.On their website he said, “Multitasking is a fallacy; human beings are incapable of truly multitasking because attention is a limited resource, and you can only focus on so much without a cost.” 

Since human minds are forced to process both the material at hand and the music, attention is divided amongst different topics. This divided attention negatively affects how efficiently people grasp material .  This is why it requires effort to listen to music and study at the same time. 

Senior Tyler Budhu said, “I can’t really listen to music while doing math because I get easily distracted.” 

One of the major styles of studying is through memorization. Listening to music with lyrics, a common form of study music, is proven to be detrimental to memory whilst studying. This is because the lyrics of a song can interfere with verbal memory. When trying to absorb information by memory, hearing the lyrics of a song may unintentionally cause the brain to mix the study material with those song lyrics. As a result, the reviewing and absorption of your work would be very ineffective and inefficient. 

Science teacher Sarah Loew said, “I like to listen to music in general but I rarely listen to music while studying or working. I typically get more work done with silence or fewer distractions. I find that I have a better understanding of the material or concepts when I am fully immersed in them.”

Listening to music may hinder your ability to complete tasks that require deeper levels of thinking. This is because human minds unconsciously try to understand the music they listen to, whether it be listening to a song’s lyrics, rhythm, or tune. This type of pseudo-multitasking hinders how efficiently one can study or work on things that demand full concentration.

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