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I see more and more students using headphones in the library or in any quiet area while studying.

Are there benefits to listening to music while you study?

“Is it Good to Listen to Music While Studying?” by instructor Nicky Davis attempts to answer this question.

“While the so-called ‘Mozart effect’, a term coined from a study that suggested listening to music could actually enhance intelligence, has been widely refuted, there are still many benefits of listening to music while studying,” Davis wrote.

What are the benefits?

  • It can ease student stress.
  • Music is soothing and it can reduce test anxiety.
  • It can help you have a deeper focus on the task.

What are the drawbacks?

“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,” Davis noted. “Loud or agitated music can have adverse effects on reading comprehension and on mood, making focus more difficult. 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.”

How does it work?

Another article from Florida National University written by Enmanuel Garcia touches upon the two studies that show there is a link to music, memory and emotions.

“Several studies in recent years have linked music, memory, and emotion,” Garcia reported. “To back this claim, Petr Janata has conducted two studies to prove that music, memory, and emotion are linked. His initial study found that ‘music serves as a potent trigger for retrieving memories.’ During his second study, Janata took a Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of students’ brains as he played popular songs from their childhood and teenage years. After each excerpt, the student responded to questions about the tune, including whether it was familiar or not, how enjoyable it was, and whether it was associated with any particular incident, episode or memory (UC Davis). This study reveals that music, memory, and emotions and strongly linked.”

Garcia concluded that studying while listening to music may indeed be a very beneficial practice. 

Here are a few of my personal favorite songs to listen to while studying.

  1. El Train- Chasing Rainbows (FT. Hadiya George)

A perfect song that brings down the tempo and gives the listener a great song for those incoming winter nights.

2. Christian Loffler- Lion Mountain Berlin 1.0

An electronic peaceful piece of Berlin. Tracks within this video on YouTube are amazing and it both calms and energizes you.

3. iiola- don’t shut me up

A great pop song that calms your mind down, but also feels very motivational to write with.

I personally love writing and studying with music. It helps block out the background of your surrounding environment and you can focus on studying. I highly recommend going down the rabbit hole of YouTube and Spotify to find music that you like and can listen to while studying. I wish you all good luck on your final exams, papers and portfolios. Also have a wonderful winter break and see you when we come back for the spring semester.

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