Does Music Help You Study?

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Whether you're preparing for an intense exam, writing a major term paper or trying to get ahead of your homework assignments, being able to focus and retain the information effectively is crucial. If you've ever looked for creative ways to help you stay focused, you may have tried listening to music while you work, and maybe you've wondered if it helps or if it's just a distraction. 

So, does music really help you study? The answer is yes — when you find the best kind of music for your studying style.

Does Music Help You Focus?

Depending on your music tastes, there are probably particular songs and genres that you find more engaging than others. When it comes to deep study, though, smooth instrumental music is most likely to help you focus. Options like classical music, binaural beats, meditation music or nature sounds can calm you and help your brain work more efficiently.

If you're listening to songs with lyrics, it may cause more distraction. Energetic, upbeat tunes like hip hop, pop or rap can initially boost your mood and give you the confidence to tackle an intimidating assignment or stack of textbook chapters. Once you get into studying, though, your brain often can't decide between listening to the words and retaining the information you're trying to learn.

When you're listening to study music, choose your songs strategically. If you're about to start studying and you feel overwhelmed, give yourself a few minutes to listen to a fun, fast-paced song to boost your confidence. Then, once you hit the books, try a soothing instrumental piece to coax your brain into deeper focus.

The Benefits of Listening to Music While Studying

If you've found a type of music that you know won't cause distractions for your personal study style, you can benefit from popping in your earbuds or putting on headphones while you work. Listening to effective study music can help you on several levels:

  • Stimulates your brain: The right music helps you study better because it activates multiple areas of your brain and helps you reach a higher level of alertness.
  • Strengthens your memory: Because of the emotional associations and patterns music evokes, your brain can retain more information while receiving certain musical stimuli.
  • Reduces stress: Soothing sounds, such as classical music, can help calm you. In fact, one study showed that classical music reduces blood pressure and heart rate as it helps listeners relax.
  • Creates a focusing mood: Music puts you in the right emotional state to focus by calming any anxiety and fostering positive emotions, which may make you more receptive to new information.

Music can engage your brain and help you learn more effectively while also helping you feel more relaxed, so give some study tunes a try when you tackle your next assignment.

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