BCM 212 – Research Project

(Warning LOUD)
(I suggest opening it in Spotify)
This is a very nice album to listen to while reading my Opinion Piece It’s extremely soothing for me personally.

Opinion Piece

About 86 percent of 30 students in the BCM212 cohort that participated in my survey stated that listening to music while they studied was commonplace in their day-to-day life and from my personal experience music has also found its way into many different facets of my daily adventures. Because of this, I believe when music is used in the correct manner it can enhance and improve our ability to study, and consequently, when we were first asked to find a topic to research that involved a cohort of students, the first thing that came to my mind was how music impacts our ability to study.

Through this opinion piece, I plan to use my own research in the form of a survey and interviews to build a deeper understanding of the perspectives of students in the BCM212 Course. While I do this, I will be comparing my findings with other academic sources to reinforce and build upon my personal opinion on the subject before presenting to you my reasons behind my belief that music is a great tool for students to use!

When students were asked if they believed music made them more productive when completing daily tasks, the majority of responses were ‘yes’ with 66.7 percent followed soon thereafter by ‘maybe’ with 26.7 percent, this perspective was reinforced through a follow-up question in the form of ‘why do they listen to music while they studied’. The results demonstrated that “improving focus, memory retention, and motivation” were key reasons for student’s adoption of music into their studying habits.

This is supported by an academic source I had reviewed previously in which data was gathered by Naveen Kumar (2016) explained that “47% (of 200 Malaysian students) believes that music helps them to concentrate while studying. 29% claims that music would keep their mind calm, and 17% stated that it would prevent sleepiness.” Along with this in my own survey 79% of the students also just liked music as background noise, this was brought up by one of my interview participants Alyssa Salazar, and in her case, she wrote, “when I’m reading or doing simple work like writing notes and revising study notes, I have music on as a background to help me focus.” this was a good fundamental basis on students opinions on the subject which lead me directly into my second line of questioning.  

As research continued I aimed next at exploring how different genres of music can affect our studying ability and comparing where students also use music to hopefully find a correlation between them. I first opened with a question asking “what Genres of music students listened to during study” the major result was Lo-fi hip hop (69 percent) a genre that often has zero lyrics and is considered to be calm and mellow, allowing for other activities to be done while listening “This was later reinforced by two of my interview participants Alyssa and Bianca White “I have a hard time focusing. Hip hop lo-fi or instrumental music does help me focus.” “I find faster pace music (e.g., pop) or fast-paced lyrics (e.g., rap) can throw me off when I study.”

A secondary academic source also raises a good point about different types of music’s and how they affect us in which they wrote “participants mood was positively influenced by uplifting music and prosocial lyrics. Also as predicted, participants’ mood was negatively influenced by annoying music and antisocial lyrics.” (Gansser, J and Huda, F, 2010)

When comparing music’s use in studying to other aspects of our lives, time and time again has shown that activities that require attentiveness, motivation, and similar attributes, music was often been incorporated into those tasks. A few examples from my survey include at work, driving and exercising, reading, and doing chores. This supports my belief that music can improve our ability to complete tasks which do include studying. Camila Mendes (2020) points out in her research paper on music’s effect on attention found that “music improved performance on attention tasks, either by listening or using it within a procedure to modulate mood and motivation.”

This made me consider two more questions to help build off these concepts brought up, these being when did students start listening to music while they studied and how much of it do they consume on a daily basis. In response to when students began listening to the music the most dominant response was Highschool and TAFE with 79% when this was brought up through my interviews, I found that many factors influenced this, from it being a common trend, and as a method primarily helping to tune out background noise in locations like the school library. “I found it beneficial particularly in times when I can’t study in my room and am exposed to background noise,” wrote Bianca and Alyssa added “At first, I used their noise as my background “music” eventually finding out when I study in the library/when no one’s at home,”

With this knowledge, I wanted to inquire about how much music do students listen to on a daily basis to improve my understanding of the circumstances of student’s music habits, which would help with understanding if listening to music was an all-day event or if it was only during these periods of study or tasks that required attention and motivation. The results showed that 43 percent of students listen for 2-3 hours daily, followed close by 7-10 hours with 26.7% and 4-6 with 20%. These results, it shows a near-perfect alignment with the other activities mentioned like work, exercising, and driving, which confirms my belief that a decent percentage of students are only listening to music during times of required focus, and motivation.

Through this research, I am able to construct my own opinion on music’s impact on our ability to study through a lens perspective of a student in the BCM212 Course. It is clear that there is a connection between music and its ability to improve our study habits but not through a conventional route, rather music has shown that it can help improve our mood, and by way of this it can affect our ability to pay attention, retain memory, and motivate us. Without a doubt, a large percent of the cohort have adopted music into their studying habits and it’s apparent that it can be a positive benefit for students to adopt its usage.

But even with a lot of the focus being directed towards all the positives music can have, it is also important to consider the negatives as Zoe McRae points out “I feel like everyone is different when it comes to what helps them study. It may not work for some people, but all of my friends are definitely music listeners when it comes to our studies!” In my opinion, it’s all about how the individual uses it, and for me personally taking into consideration the ideas and research provided through this opinion piece it’s evident that it can be a very handy tool for students if used in the correct manner and as a result, can have a major impact on our studying ability!

If you take one thing away from this research project, please make it be that you give music a shot if you don’t already, You will never know ‘the effects of music on our ability to study’ until you try it as an individual. If you have any questions, or concerns, or advice please feel free to comment below!

Bibliography:

Kumar, N (2016) ‘The effect of listening to music on concentration and academic performance of the student’ [Online] 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: 3rd of June 2021]

Mendes, C (2020) ‘Does Music Listening Affect Attention? A Literature Review‘ [Online] https://www-tandfonline-com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/doi/full/10.1080/87565641.2021.1905816 [Accessed: 3rd of June 2021]

Raypole, C (2020) ‘Music and Studying: It’s Complicated’ [Online]  https://www.healthline.com/health/does-music-help-you-study [Accessed: 3rd of June 2021]

Byron, T (2019) ‘Is it OK to listen to music while studying’ [Online] https://www.uow.edu.au/media/2019/is-it-ok-to-listen-to-music-while-studying.php [Accessed: 4th of June 2021]

Sweney, M (2021) ‘Spotify expected too report subscriber slowdown’ [Online] https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2021/apr/25/spotify-expected-to-report-subscriber-slowdown-covid [Accessed: 4th of June 2021]

Blood, D, and Ferriss, S (1993) ‘Effects of Background Music on Anxiety, Satisfaction with Communication, and Productivity ‘ [Online] https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.2466/pr0.1993.72.1.171 [Accessed 4th of June 2021]

Gansser, J and Huda, F (2010) ‘Music’s Effect on Mood and Helping Behaviour’ [Online] https://d1wqtxts1xzle7.cloudfront.net/60806786/music_effect_and_mood20191005-115532-3vhacm-with-cover-page.pdf?Expires=1622884322&Signature=C-Ipi7A0Q72Xou9rjq3rRUPpLKKfPAAQhcFr~jkcC9m5AZahagbxr~4ViS40ypmFzuDzvP0RgumwqU3giPuRkD-F8XDdQUi7phg~48wFpxfSavhqPRWjbhkwhmAahQtoeWY0xguI~q4aGeOfTXtuKioUiNRdJ4ZKicPFkx1RrEbc0CkJDK1c4GBB0AA9vwMNT55wfCcfTKvTt-dSgPjnAbyj6LwZvX~BHaLZ0mT67i4gx-v2PcXnyxGZS48ZCgCMYxXboCBiEnYeC~3oeBelC~7-qDcWjxivfrmWyO7jNrBwnqRDg~hG5VKbuBzFY7Ae20v~uUVEjTQyD8ctCMTNOQ__&Key-Pair-Id=APKAJLOHF5GGSLRBV4ZA [Accessed 4th of June 2021]

Bridgestock, L (2021) ‘What’s The Best Music For Studying?’ [Online] https://www.topuniversities.com/blog/whats-best-music-studying [Accessed 5th of June 2021)

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