You may have heard that there are benefits of using music for studying. But, do you know why?
Studies have shown that music produces several positive effects on a human’s body and brain. Music activates both the left and right brain at the same time which researchers have shown helps learning and memory.
Music for Studying and Stress
When you are stressed and trying to study, listening to music could be the perfect tonic. Studies have shown that music is effective in reducing stress and can even lower blood pressure, heart rate and anxiety. Songs alone can have very powerful effects on the human body and so incorporating music into your routine could help reduce your stress.
Music is a great way to process emotions and feelings. So if you are feeling overwhelmed by studying or school life then music could help you. Not only will it help you concentrate on your studies, it will also help keep stress at bay and put you in a learning mood.
Reduce Exam Anxiety and Exam Scores
Anxiety can really impact your exam performances. Believe it or not, USA Today revealed, “one study found that music’s effect on anxiety levels is similar to the effect of getting a massage”. So, it could be that listening to our favourite music in the run-up to the exam period could help you relax, feel at ease and ready to conquer the exams.
There is even research into the types of music that help. A study done by Cambridge University showed that hip-hop music provides an uplifting effect on its listeners that can help them accept, manage and deal better with mental health issues. There’s more than one genre of rap, so find the one you like if it means giving your brain that extra bit of support it needs.
According to some studies, music is so powerful that it can actually ease pain. Studies show that music can meaningfully reduce the perceived intensity of pain, especially in geriatric care, intensive care, or palliative medicine. So, if you are feeling pains and they are stopping you being able to concentrate on your work then try adding some music!
Focus and Concentration
Rather than being distracting, a Stanford study found that “music moves [the] brain to pay attention.” Researchers used musical compositions from the 1800s in their study and found that “music engages the areas of the brain involved with paying attention, making predictions and updating the event in memory”.
Perhaps one of the most convincing reasons to listen to music during a study session is because research has proven that music helps improve cognitive performance. Basically, music helps your brain function! “Background music may enhance performance on cognitive tasks. One study found that listening to music allowed test takers to complete more questions in the time allotted and get more answers right.
More recent research suggests that whether or not music improves cognitive function depends on whether the music first improves a person’s emotional state”. If you want to improve brain performance while studying, evidence now shows that you must first improve your emotional state by listening to music that you enjoy!
Musical activity serves as a cognitive exercise for the brain which trains it for more challenges in the future. Therefore, people who have musical training early on, specifically before age seven, have healthier brains and are less likely to suffer from debilitating diseases like Alzheimer’s or Dementia. But you don’t have to wait for a certain age before benefitting from music. Regardless of your ages, you can start exercising your brain now, simply by having your favourite device and earphones handy for any study session.
Improve your Memory
Several studies in recent years have linked music, memory, and emotion. To show this, researcher Petr Janata did two studies to prove the link between music, memory, and emotion. His initial study found that “music serves as a potent trigger for retrieving memories.”. During his second study, Janata took Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of students’ brains as he played popular songs from their childhood and teenage years. “After each excerpt, students responded to questions about the tune, including whether it was familiar or not, how enjoyable it was, and whether it was associated with any particular incident, episode or memory”. This study reveals that music, memory, and emotions and strongly linked. This evidence supports the theory that studying while listening to music is a very beneficial practice.
Ever wondered why it’s easier to memorise the lyrics to a song than the periodic table of elements? That’s because your brain looks for patterns to better understand, recall, and process information. It is the same reason why music producers put a hook in their songs since what is more commonly known as the earworm or catchy bit.
We now understand that music and memory are strongly linked in the brain. All that studying, however, has made you exhausted!
You close the textbooks and lay down, but your mind is still buzzing from all of the new information. Can’t sleep? Well, music can even help you close out the night after studying. Researchers have shown that“Listening to classical music has been shown to effectively treat insomnia in college students”.
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Listening to music can really help you study. We’re always here to offer more help and support as you need it. You can subscribe to our newsletter for regular study and teaching tips. Or maybe even contact us for a tutoring session.