Music and Your Study Habits – Do They Go Together?
Many of us have our own study habits, whether it is creating outlines, doing mock tests, establishing study groups, or straight-out reading notes and textbooks. Some of us might be particularly keen of studying while playing music on full blast.
Much has been said about classical music particularly that of Mozart’s, being the ideal music when you are busy immersing yourself in your textbooks and trying to visualize yourself acing your exams. It is widely believed that Mozart will make people smart, just by listening to him; even pregnant mothers play Mozart thinking their babies will grow up more intelligent. There is, of course, some truth to this as it is not some belief that was created out of thin air. So how this did start?
It was in 1993 when researchers Gordon Shaw, Frances Rauscher, and Katherine Ky did an experiment with 36 student-participants whom they divided into three groups: one group listened to Mozart, another one listened to “self-hypnosis” spiel, and the third one remained in total silence. Afterward, the trio conducted a spatial test—and the group which listened to Mozart showed a significantly higher IQ points of 8 to 9 compared to the two other groups. The trio eventually published their study, and thus the term “Mozart effect” was born.
Other scientists began to offer their insight that seemed to strengthen the trio’s findings. These scientists said music does help stimulate the brain, improving cognitive function as a result. However, it should be noted that in that particular experiment, the other two groups were not made to listen to music, so other scientists contend that it might not matter which type of music can have a positive neurobiological effect, rather music in general.
There might be no denying though of the powerful effects of Mozart. CBS News recently released a story that an Italian winemaker based in Tuscany attest that his grapes grow bigger if he pumps Mozart into his vineyard.
Scientists from Fu Jen Catholic University in Taiwan suggest that if you are going to incorporate music into your studies, it may be best to go for music which you feel ambivalent toward to. This means any type of music you don’t necessarily strongly like or dislike.
On the other hand, researchers from the Cambridge Sound Management believe that music without lyrics is best if you plan to listen to music while you study because lyrics can be incredibly distracting and deters comprehension. This means the soundtrack to the blockbuster musical “Hamilton” is definitely out of the question. Instead, go for something instrumental. An example of this especially designed instrumental music to help you study can be found in YouTube—just search for Alpha Waves Study Music.
Canadian researchers, meanwhile, said that it is good to listen to up-tempo music when you are studying as it stimulates the brain. This can mean music with catchy lyrics and beats that can make you get up and dance—although maybe probably not a good idea if you have pages and pages to read on your textbooks.
Others say that ambient sounds like the rain or waterfalls or spring helps you study better. This type of music is also recommended for those who have difficulty sleeping, so it does cover the relaxation bit. Other researchers say that video game soundtracks can be beneficial to those who are studying as this type of music is designed to energize the listener without necessarily distracting him or her to the task at hand.
Yet other scientists say that it does not matter which type of music you listen to when studying, but the consistency in the tone. They believe that music that goes soft then goes loud then goes soft again then goes loud again is not ideal for studying.
If you have not tried to include listening to music while studying, then maybe give the pointers above a try. However, if you are already an expert multi-tasker and can study even with the loudest heavy metal music on, then go for it. Whatever music best works for you, it should not matter.