In the 2019 National Music Consumption Survey done by National Arts Council (NAC), it showed that 36% of the time, Singaporeans listen to music while doing homework and chores.
Of the Singaporeans interested in music, the age group that showed the most interest is 15-34, many of them being students like you and me.
But is music a distraction that prevents us from being able to study properly? Let us find out more in this article.
How is Music Helpful?
Some studies show that the ‘Mozart effect’ helps boost our grades because it improves our intelligence quotient (IQ) and our memory during our study sessions.
Here are some other benefits:
Improves your mood
This also puts us in a better mood, making us want to study.
Makes you motivated to study
Some songs also have upbeat music and empowering lyrics that hype us up and boost our confidence and energy levels, making us more motivated to study.
Helps you to focus and concentrate
Listening to music with earphones or headphones plugged in can help to block out distracting noises (for example, construction noises or aeroplanes flying overhead). Music can also act as a stimulant and keep your brain alert.
Stimulates your brain and improves your memory
When you listen to music, it activates areas of your brain that are associated with memory and helps with processing tasks.
Research also shows that certain types of music boost memorisation and other cognitive functions like fluency and recognition memory. For example, classical music enhances memory retrieval, while playing nature music can restore your cognitive abilities.
How does it Negatively Affect Our Academic Performance?
Worsens your working memory
Working memory is a cognitive system with a limited capacity that holds information temporarily. It is also responsible for your learning, logical reasoning, problem-solving and decision-making skills that you use to answer questions and understand concepts.
For example, you use your working memory to remember steps to a maths question, sequence of events, or even a list of tasks to be done.
Research shows that listening to music can reduce your working memory capacity, which means you retain less material. This is because music distracts your brain from focusing on the content before you.
Makes it difficult to comprehend reading
Sometimes, listening to music can make it more difficult to comprehend what you’re reading. Especially if you like listening to loud or agitated music like rock-and-roll or electronic dance music (EDM).
Music can sometimes make it difficult to comprehend what you are reading. Have you ever read the same paragraph two or three more times just because you were not focusing?
This is because the area of the brain used to process words happens to be the same function area that processes music, and our brain cannot multitask and process both language and music at the same time.
Develops an unhealthy reliance
Sometimes, we rely on music to focus and concentrate during our sessions, so when we aren’t allowed to listen to it, we become distracted and can’t study properly. Usually, this happens during exams and tests when we aren’t allowed to bring our music into the hall.
This could be detrimental because this heavy reliance on music makes us incapable of doing without it. So we cannot pay attention to our paper and complete it properly, which might cost us our marks.
Should You Listen to Music While Studying
There is no definite answer as to whether you should listen to music while studying. But there are a few factors to consider before deciding whether you should plug in those earphones during your revision.
Here are some things to note if you plan to listen to music while you study:
1. Avoid music with lyrics
2. Choose slow, instrumental music
3. Keep the volume low
4. Stream commercial-free music – sometimes ads can break your concentration
5. Make sure you’re not heavily reliant on it and that you can work without it
Listening to music while studying is a double-edged sword, depending on your music preferences and the type of music you listen to as you study.
I hope this article shows you how music can benefit your study sessions, but it can also be a distraction. Let us know in the comments if you listen to music as you study or not, and what kind of music you listen to!