“Does listening to music have any influence on how productive students are while studying?”
Introduction: Firstly, at the bottom of the page you’ll find the lofi hip hop radio channel, let’s have a little experiment. Try reading this post while listening to that YouTube channel at a low background volume and see in a few days if the information sticks! (Feel free to comeback and leave a comment on if it helped or not!)
Purpose & Aim
Music! It can make us feel so many different emotions, but could it change how productive we are in regards to our educational career? Many students from all cultures across the world often use music as a companion while taking on long study sessions, yet does music actually have positive side-effects on our ability to study and memorize information? This research report plans to tackle this question and discover the factors contributing to music’s impact or possible lack thereof on our ability to study, while also exploring different aspects of music and why it does not affect everyone in the same way. Finally, I’ll touch base on different aspects of our lives, like our professional careers, and/or sports, and if music is used to improve productivity in those areas of our lives.
The modern western world has rapidly changed over the last 10 years, where music is readily available to almost everybody through technology like radios, phones, music devices, TV and videos, in conjunction with platforms like iTunes, YouTube, Spotify, and SoundCloud. Music is being played more increasingly as a background in many public places, and in other aspects of our lives through study, driving, sports, and in the workplace. Research has already been conducted by numerous bodies gathering information on the effect of music on a diverse variety of cognitive skills, but this topic has been very contested and inconclusive. An average person spends “around 18 hours a week listening to music” as of 2019, but in 2020 with the Covid-19 pandemic, platforms like “Spotify saw a rise of 27% increase of new users“, Because of this Music in relation to studying is a very timely, and relevant topic in the worlds ever-evolving state.
The first article that I found in the process of understanding the science, and the theories behind music’s impact on our studying, was a post by Shauna Segaren from studyinternational.com, that explores the concept of the ‘Mozart Effect’, and how the media ran with the idea in the early 1990s, till it was proven to be misleading, and was later dubbed ‘The Mozart Myth’. This article looks at research that shows it’s not the music directly impacting our study rather the music’s effect on our brain and mood that as a result affects how we go about our daily tasks. This is a very good introduction piece into the theories and was a good start to the rabbit hole that is music and its impact on our studying activities.
University’s play a big role in the research and spreading of information on this topic as it has a direct correlation with students. The University of Wollongong and The Florida National University have both been two examples of this, with the former covering a balanced perspective over the impact while the latter took a more narrowed view at only the positives nullifying any negative connotations it may bring. Overall the University of Florida looks at a few areas that music can have a positive effect, these being reducing anxiety, improving focus, and even easing pain. This article will proved a decent insight and overview of some of the areas in that music can be an effective tool in our studying sessions.
Healthline.com, an American health information company funded by the US government put out a page about the effects of music on the human brain, and its complicated effects on our ability to study. Through a brief examination of the source material, the theory behind Healthline’s post is that Music’s effect is a very difficult subject as music has a very powerful effect on our brain it can lead to many positive attributes but can also negative attributes when applied to specific areas of our life like our studying. Healthline also looks at types of music and how different genres play a role in our ability to concentrate, for example, songs with lyrics, loud and surprising music can all lead to negative effects on our ability while a song that consists of mainly slow, instrumental and has no real strong feelings connected to it can help keep you focused and effective.
The second last source I reviewed was a research report, that explored whether music enhanced students’ curricular efficiency and if previous reports denying music’s involvement had any legitimacy. Written by Naveen Kumar, he surveyed 200 Malaysian students, He found that the overall consensus of the students was that music played a role in their performance. Along with this data gathered to found a higher incidence (78%) of correct answers when listening to soft music compared to fast music. The overall findings justified the trend that listening to music has positive connotations, and could possibly help raise a student’s performance in their studies.
The final source I discovered was a report conducted to look at the effect of background music on long-term memory and more specifically episodic memory. Written by Elise Lemaire a PH. D. student at the University of Sherbrooke, Canada, She explored in particular attention to verbal material like lectures. This report is will be very useful as it looks at one key aspect of learning that being maintaining knowledge through long-term memory.
To summarize, music and its impact on studying is a very interesting topic and I look forward to exploring it more and finding both sides of the argument, especially with the circumstances we are in now with online learning, as we’re more freely able to listen to music while listening to lectures, and/or tutorials.
In order of appearance
Segaren, S (2019) ‘Does listening to music while studying make you a better student? – https://www.studyinternational.com/news/does-listening-to-music-while-studying-make-you-a-better-student/ [Accessed: 16th of March 2021]
FNU Marketing Team, (2019) ‘The Benefits of Studying with Music’ – https://www.fnu.edu/benefits-studying-music/ [Accessed: 16th of March 2021]
Raypole, C (2020) ‘Music and Studying: It’s Complicated’ – https://www.healthline.com/health/does-music-help-you-study [Accessed: 16th of March 2021]
Kumar, N (2016) ‘The effect of listening to music on concentration and academic performance of the student’ – https://www.researchgate.net/publication/311435289_The_effect_of_listening_to_music_on_concentration_and_academic_performance_of_the_student_Cross-sectional_study_on_medical_undergraduate_students [Accessed: 17 March 2021]
Lemaire, E, C (2019) ‘The Effect of Background Music on Episodic Memory’ – https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/docview/2268969604?accountid=15112&pq-origsite=primo [Accessed: 17th of March 2021]
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