Students and experts disagree on music’s influence on studying

Students and experts disagree on musics influence on studying

While ear buds are a part of many ETHS student’s daily wardrobe, most education experts say that they aren’t the best accessory to wear at a study session.

“Listening to music while preparing for tests or doing homework generally isn’t a good idea, because you won’t have that music with you during the actual test or during class,” says local ACT tutor Saman Shafii-Mousavi. Shafii-Mousavi also says that music can interfere with students ability to grasp large concepts.

Educators and researchers agree that listening to music while studying causes the brain to spend energy interpreting the lyrics and the beat, instead of focusing on the subject. Music and other distractions can cause students to lose focus and have a tougher time restating the information into different contexts, which according to Shafii-Mousavi is a vital part of the learning process.

Many studies say music can hinder your learning experience, but some students insist that music is an important part of studying effectively and creating a less stressful environment. “It helps me tune out any noises in background, and that is what really distracts me,” says junior Maeve Mallers.

Researchers refer to this idea as the “Mozart Effect”, an idea that listening to classical music while doing schoolwork can improve student’s ability to memorize and improve the brain’s ability to organize thoughts, but most students are preferring music from this millennium, which has a much different effect.

In today’s music, it’s difficult to find instrumental songs, which is why some ETHS students prefer to turn music off while doing schoolwork. “If I know the words to the song, it’s okay,” says freshman Cassie Tingley. “but if not, I find myself more focused on learning the words of the song than the work I am doing,” Tingley adds.

The type of work that students are doing can affect focus levels as well. “If the class is important I don’t listen to music, but if I am studying a subject that is very easy for me to understand, some quiet music can help me stay focused,” says Adi Zdremtan, junior.

According to a study done by the music streaming service Spotify, which markets study playlist to students, not only is music helpful for studying, but specific musical genres can  improve your performance in specific subjects. When you are working on logical subjects, like math or science, classical music is best. The melody and tone range promotes concentration, which are important elements to those subjects. As for creative subjects, like English or art, emotional pop and rock music is the way to go. Also, the music should be expressing similar emotions to the art you are creating.

While tutors say music can also having a calming effect, causing studying to become less nerve wracking, there is a fine line between when the music is helpful and when it is harmful. “I think it is important that students have a balance,” says Shafii-Mousavi. “When they are planning their study routine, music can be a great motivator, but once the actual work begins, music is just too distracting.”

Studies aside, learning is a personal experience. Each of us has a different style of learning, and how we study is an individual choice. If you need music to study, press play.