To study with music or not to study with music. That is the question…

The answer is, there is no answer.

However, there is only one thing that most researchers can agree on…

Have you ever been listening to a song while studying and you start to write the answer to a question…

“Photosynthesis occurs in the chloroplasts and my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.”

whatever music you choose to listen to, there must be no lyrics.

Your brain can not process two conversations at once. While you are studying, you want to be focusing on the internal conversation you are having with yourself to try and solve a problem or answer a question. If there are lyrics in the background, your brain can get confused about which conversation to pay attention to and as a result the words get all mixed up…

So how do you choose the right music?

Think back to a time when you are hanging out alone or with some friends and a song comes on. All of a sudden, an involuntary tap of the foot to the rhythm or nod of the head to the beat… Without any conscious effort, you are synchronising to the background music. If the song is upbeat with a fast tempo, you are bopping and your leg moving a little faster. If the music is slower, you are more likely swaying and feeling more relaxed.

The same thing happens when you study. Depending on how you feel while you study, you can use music to help you relax or give you more motivation. But be careful, Music can be a motivating advantage, or a major distraction!

Do you feel anxious, stressed, nervous or confused?
You need something to calm your nerves and your brain. Try listening to something more mellow. Something with a slower melody and a more relaxing rhythm. This will help your body synchronise to this music and help you reach a more calm and relaxed state to study in.

Some suggestions for this type of music:

Do you usually feel bored, lethargic, or maybe even tired?
You need a pick me up! Try to listen to some up beat music, something with a relatively fast tempo and rhythm. This will help your body move faster but also your mind function a little quicker while it attempts to synchronize to the music. The types of music you could try:

So next time you sit down to study, think about how you are feeling and choose the right music to calm you down or pick you up! Let us know how you go in the comments below.

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