Will listening to Mozart while studying get me a 4.0?

June 13, 2016

p06-suhWhen it comes to studying, it is better to listen to familiar music that does not fluctuate in rhythm or melody nor include sudden crescendos or decrescendos. Monotone music can also enhance a student’s ability to study if it is played at a low volume, making it easier to listen to music passively and concentrate on the task at hand.

Ethan Blaser ’17 listened to jazz for all of his sophomore year and stopped when he began junior year.

“I used to listen to music because it kind of keeps you motivated,” Blaser said. “Sometimes silence is distracting for people. […] Whether you like it or not, when your listening to music, your brain is putting attention to it. My efficiency [while studying] has gotten better, and the time it takes to do homework has definitely reduced.

Dr. Charles Limb, a professor of otolaryngology at John Hopkins University, found that jazz acts as a brain simulator because it mimics the improvisational style of jazz with pulsating rhythms and swinging melodies.

Connor Engel ’17 has tried to listen to music genres other than classical while studying. He said that they inhibited him from studying efficiently because he starts to take notice of the music, which detracts his attention from his work.

“[Other genres are] thoroughly distracting. I just either need complete silence, or I can situate myself to background noise like if it’s white noise, or people talking or something your brain is generally used to hearing,” Engel said. “If it’s music, I have to focus on that, and it distracts things. Do you ever imagine things while listening to music? It clouds out what you’re actually supposed to focus on.”

Engel’s claims are supported by professionals.

“Even the simplest forms of multitasking can lead to glitches in the moment-to-moment processing of information known as working memory … taking a toll on our attention,” Adam Gazzaley, an associate professor of neuroscience at the University of California, San Francisco, said in “The Proceedings of International Conference on Cloud Computing and eGovernance,” published in 2014.

One Comment

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