If you’re anything like me, focusing intensively for extended periods can be quite hard and tedious. We are all aware that distractions are hidden in plain sight everywhere; whether it’s your phone vibrating now and then, people chatting in the room you’re sitting in, random flashbacks you might be having, or simply the urge to do something else. However, with more and more topics, deadlines and exams emerging as the school year progresses, finding ways to tighten your focus is fundamental. A modern solution to this problem seems to be none other than music!
sourced from HBTutoring, 2021
Although opinions are mixed on the matter of background music making it easier to study, there are more and more studies emerging which prove its positive impact when it comes to focusing. To understand how music helps with studying, we must first acknowledge the effects music has on the human body and brain.
The conversation surrounding how music affects us is complex and dense. From certain scales being able to spark intense emotional responses, or certain rhythms causing physical responses (e.g.: moving your body erratically), to stress lowering, euphoria, and social behavior stimulation, music is a fascinating force and its effects on humans can’t be expressed in words sometimes. In fact, music was proven to stimulate every area of the human brain. Therefore, with such clear powers over us, can music be a considerable ally in one’s quest not to miss their deadlines?
The answer is, it depends. After all, whenever we talk about the arts and how they aid humans in their daily lives, we must take a more individualized approach, as every one of us has our own way of perceiving and enjoying them. However, there are studies and theories supporting the fact that listening to music affects the studying process or other psychological aspects that are related to it.
sourced from Santos, 2019
Firstly, music increases arousal (psychological stimulation and sharpened perception), which can stimulate task efficiency during activities that are under-stimulating, such as extensive reads that require sustained attention. Moreover, certain types of music can induce the listener into a calmer, more focused mood, which proves important for entering an essential flow state for studying.
Now that we generally understand how listening to music ameliorates studying, let’s take a look at what are considered the best music genres for it.
There used to be a theory called the Mozart effect, which claimed that listening to Mozart’s compositions is supposed to make you smarter. Weird, right? Despite the fact that it was refuted, there is no doubt that classical music is the go-to choice for background music while studying of many. And it can be seen why. With serene string arrangements, horns, pianos and woodwinds, classical music can create the perfect atmosphere for a long study session. In my case, the progressive and multi-faceted composition of symphonies stimulates my imagination, which boosts my productivity when dealing with creative tasks.
You may know the infamous “lo-fi hip-hop/beats to study and relax to” live stream on YouTube, and many of us use it as a pleasant companion during those long nocturnal study sessions. There is music made especially for facilitating your academic success, so why not give it a chance?
sourced from https://www.youtube.com/live/jfKfPfyJRdk?si=gxx-a3SZ5lW2e47i
Ambient music can be played in the background in virtually any case. With its ethereal, hypnotic and oftentimes overstretched nature, ambient music is guaranteed to calm you down however stressed you might be, while maintaining an ideal level of lucidity for memorizing everything you need.
It's said in the name: Intelligent Dance Music. With atmospheric synths, complex and mechanic drum patterns and repetitive song structures, IDM can help you reach the flow state you desire in order to immerse yourself in your lessons. While rhythm is an important compositional element in this genre, it often comes off as hypnotic and enveloping, unlike the music you hear on the dance floor.
So, are you ready to ace those exams and nail all those deadlines? To offer you a bit of help and incentive, I have compiled my favorite study tunes, that have helped me focus countless times, which I strongly recommend you check out. Good luck, everyone!
Feature image: Theaggie. (2022, June 2). Is your study music helping or harming your productivity? The Aggie. https://theaggie.org/2022/06/01/is-your-study-music-helping-or-harming-your-productivity/
HB Tutoring (2021, February 1). Will listening to Music help me Study? - HB Tutoring. HB Tutoring. https://hbtutoring.com/will-listening-to-music-help-me-study/
Santos, D. (2019, February 26). Music for Studying: 10 tips to Pick the Best Study Music. ExamTime. https://www.goconqr.com/en/examtime/blog/music-for-studying/
Lofi Girl (2022, July 12). lofi hip hop radio 📚 - beats to relax/study to [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfKfPfyJRdk