The magic of studying with music

Audrey Pucciarelli

With midterms just around the corner, students will be hitting the books with all of their spare time.

As the work piles, the hours of studying multiply and students stay up past midnight, scientists and psychologists have been researching the question: How can we study more effectively and does it involve music?

Coming close to the end of a busy semester, students’ stress levels run high. This is just another  reason why students need to find a way to maximize their ability to learn and improve memory, while also minimizing their stress.

Scientist and cognitive researcher Dr. Gordon Shaw found that students should try studying with music. In 1990, Shaw found that music enhances our learning ability by activating the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Ever since, this idea has grown and been part of further research on music and the brain.

However, research also shows that lyric based music can be extremely distracting if you are trying to do work.

Senior Jonny Audino described his experience when studying with music: “I do not find it beneficial or helpful when it comes to concentrating because I get lost in the song and [become] distracted because it is difficult to multitask.” A study soundtrack is most effective when it contains minimal lyrical content, according to studies.

A study known as “The Mozart Effect” performed by Shaw explains how acoustic and orchestrated songs are more beneficial to the brain. Genres such as jazz, classical, fusion, electronica, trip hop, and EDM are a better bundle for the brain to handle while studying rather than rap, pop and other distracting genres. 

“Music helps me block out the distractions and outside noise around me. I don’t have a particular genre I listen to but I find that chill music is where my mood changes and I am able to stay on task, I think it is definitely a method people should try,” said senior Michael Tardibuono. 

Sophomore, Amanda Wallis has a similar approach when studying: “I study with pop music but without lyrics [because] I find the words to be more of a distraction.” She continues, “Listening to the acoustic versions of music allows my brain to stay focused and study more effectively.”

The University of Maryland Medical Center also reveals that students should “listen to music [while studying].” To elaborate on the way music is so beneficial, they continued to explain that “listening to soothing music can decrease blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety levels in heart patients.” This statement alone explains the strong effect a single song can have on a student’s mind and body. 

Writer and researcher Nicky Davis says, “Background music may improve focus on a task by providing motivation and improving mood. During long study sessions, music can aid endurance” as well as “help with memorization, likely by creating a positive mood, which indirectly boosts memory formation.” 

All different kinds of music are appreciated worldwide, whether that be solely for enjoyment or for the advantages it brings to individuals as they study or work. Music is important for, not only the mind, but also the body. With this research in mind, students have the information they need to study efficiently with music. 

As midterms approach, keep an open mind and utilize music to your advantage; you may just have the best study session yet.