If you like to listen to music while you study, choosing the right type can be vital to your overall productivity level.
Listening to music can calm you down, leading to more conscientious studying, elevating your mood, motivating you to stay focused and studying for longer periods of time.
While it can be a challenge to stay away from the hottest hits, selecting the wrong type of music can distract you from your studies and become counterproductive.
So, what type of music is considered “music for the mind?”
The following types of music are recommended for studying, along with tips to help you choose which genre will keep you most focused on your objective – studying.
Below each genre there’s a recommendation so that you can test out the genre and discover which type of music works best for you.
1. Never underestimate the power of classical.
Classical music is known for being both peaceful and harmonious, creating a calm and serene study environment for the listen.
It’s recommended as one of the best studying genres for students, because listeners report side effects like better mood and increased productivity. As far as side effects go, those aren’t too shabby!
Recommendation: Brandenburg Concerto #3 – Bach
2. Timed Tempos
Studies have shown that music timed at 60 beats-per-minute can help put people’s minds into ease; putting brains into a more productive mode where thinking are creativity are easier.
Recommendation: Concertos for Recorder – Telemann & Vivaldi
3. Instrumental Ambient Sounds
If you prefer a more modern flair, this may be the perfect option for you. Relaxing sounds of instruments can be paired with modern tunes to get the best of both worlds – so you don’t have to sacrifice a thing.
Recommendation: VSQ Performs the Hits of 2013, Volume 2 – Vitamin String Quartet
4. Nature Sounds
This type of “music” is perfect for those not so into classical music. It’s known for increasing concentration levels and keeps the listener’s mind engaged at a more subconscious level.
It also can be very calming, which is why many use it to help with meditations and to fall asleep.
What falls into this category are soundtracks of nature like waterfalls, rain or the sounds of the seashore rolling in.
5. Modern Electronic
Modern electronic is also commonly referred to as “chill out” music. The genres include Ambient House, Ambient Trance, New Age and Trip Hop.
They are known to relax the mind, encouraging it to roam. Be careful not to let it roam too much, however – you want to stay focused on the task at hand!
Recommendation: Music for Airports – Eno
6. Volume control.
Make sure that your background music is, indeed, in the background and is not distracting you or any of the students around you.
Think about it: it’s nearly impossible for you to be completely focused if your head is about to, um, explode. Keep the noise level to a minimum so that the study level is at a maximum.
7. Plan out your playlist.
Don’t wait until the time you’ve set aside for studying to create a playlist. Create it on your downtime so that, when it’s time to study, studying is the only task at hand and all you need to do as far as music is concerned is press play.
That way, you’ll be able to stay focused and won’t take any time away from what you should be accomplishing.
If you forget to plan ahead or don’t want to create your own playlist, don’t sweat it! There are some great resources that will do it for you, like the Study Music Project, which gives you a playlist of free study music each time you press play for more than an hour.
8. Break it up.
Plan your playlist so that, when it ends, it will be an indication that it’s your break time.
It’s helpful for you to not have to shift modes and have to worry about changing your music and you have the added benefit of never having to look at the clock because your playlist will function as a built in timer.
9. Studying is more important than music.
Avoid spending hours creating your playlist. After all, it should essentially just become background noise. What you should ultimately focus on is your studies.
You can spend hours on playlists for your road trips in the summertime when school is out!
10. The bottom line.
Whether you listen to any of these recommendations, Miley Cyrus, Tupac, or whatever else, it really doesn’t make a difference – as long as it works.
Remember: what’s most important – what actually matters is that whatever you’re listening to doesn’t distract you, calms you and truly puts your mind into study mode so that you can be productive and retain as much information as possible.
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While sitting down to study in the Findlay Commons I look around and notice all the different study habits between students. A certain study habit is more effective for someone in comparison to others because all brains work differently when trying to integrate memorization or muscle memory. A study shows the most effective study habits include practicing by yourself, memory games, and going to your own quiet place. Those ways are typically the way I study. But, when I walk around the commons I notice more people than not wearing headphones and studying. I never really understood the reasoning of listening to music while studying because it is another voice in your head that takes away the sole purpose of memorization. Since I never understood the meaning for this interesting study habit, I researched whether music leads to better results for those that listen to it.
I tried to listen to music while studying and could not focus on the task at hand. But, a study shows that music is beneficial when studying. A study done by Elana Goodwin states, “Studies have shown that listening to music before studying or performing a task can be beneficial as it improves attention, memory, and even your ability to do mental math as well as helping lessen depression and anxiety.” The researchers typically compare this to the Mozarts Effect. For those who do not know, the Mozarts Effect is a study that shows while listening to Mozart’s music one receives a short-term improvement in their capabilities.
But, I found a flaw in there correlation with Mozarts Effect. I walked up to 10 different kids in the Findlay commons that were studying for a quiz or midterm and listening to music. I proceeded to ask them what genre of music they were listening to and whom. The responses varied from rap, to pop, to country, but none of them had Mozarts’ pieces playing in their earbuds. The survey take was very small, but typically high school/college students who have proven to benefit from listening to music while studying are listening to different genres.
Another study done also proves that listening to music can effect studying. But, the studying must be an organizational related study. Perham, the researcher involved in the study claims, “Listening to music may diminish your cognitive abilities in these situations because when you’re trying to memorize things in order, you can get thrown off and confused by the various words and notes in the song playing in the background.” The organization of one’s study can be altered because of the words or beat that is constantly in one’s head. The music genre does not matter, the sound effects the performance in itself.
The studies shown prove that music can be both beneficial and digressive. Differentiating between the type of study someone is engaged in plays a key factor. Also, the person’s tolerance level to noise and whether they use it progressively can determine whether they listen to music while studying. Studying should not be based off other peoples’ opinions of how study. There is no better way to study but your own because different study habits make one more comfortable in comparison to others. This study shows that I should not be so quick to judge other students and how they study because maybe they find it beneficial. Some people succeed when put in specific scenarios, and one scenario I will never find useful is music during study hours, but people are different and results vary.