Listening to Music while Studying: A Good or Bad Idea?


Music is an enigmatic factor of human life that affects the brain in ways that are still unknown. It empowers young minds in stressful learning conditions. 

Today, it is considered as a powerful tool to use while studying. Extensive research has been done on whether listening to music is a good or bad idea when studying? Does music calm the anxiety of the learning process? Out of many opinions, two main arguments have come into the discussion: music hinders studying, and music stimulates studying. 

However, many factors are involved. What type of music is preferred, the genre and the style, the person studying, their personality, and how often they listen to their music?


The good or bad effect of music while studying is a heavily debated topic. 

It is believed that brains can do extraordinary things when they listen to music. It can make you feel happy, emotional, or sad. Music activates regions of the brain that have to do with movement, attention, planning, and memory, which have nothing to do with auditory functions. It is linked to calming anxiety, releasing immunoglobulin A for immunity, and higher cell counts that fight bacteria. (Landau, Elizabeth).  

However, two sides of the argument are analyzed on every count.

Music Stimulates Studying

Music plays a significant role in stimulating studying by providing direction and flow to study mode. It enables students to feel more in tune with the projects they have to complete or the information they need to remember before a test. On top of what music does, it also heightens student’s engagement in problem-solving tasks.

What does Science say?

It is scientifically proven through the Mozart effect that listening makes you smarter. Based on the research found,listening to complex classical music like Mozart improved test scores.’ It is argued that music stimulates the mind that plays a role in a student’s mathematical ability.  

· Music Enhances Retrieval of Information: Listening to music helps to enhance retrieval of information as students associate the contents learned to the rhyme, rhythm, and melody of the music. It improves productivity as it triggers dopamine release that helps combat fatigue and the task of learning enjoyable.

· Music Helps You Study and Focus: Music helps to focus better by providing motivation and positive energy. During long study sessions, students have found that music is ideal for concentration as it is meant to relieve stress.

· Music Does Improve Mood: Music impacts our minds profoundly. A study conducted in 2013 reported that students who listened to upbeat music came up with improved learning tasks.

Music Hinders Studying

Good music is essential to relax and kick into a high energy level. It was found that music, can take up space and consume your cranial capacity, conflicting with the material you are trying to learn. Music is sometimes referred to as “the crutch” – that it is not needed and only slows you down.

What Does Science Say?

Science says that listening to music when studying divides part of your brain, which may cause certain hindrances. It can recall information easily in specific scenarios that simulate what it was during the time of learning. It is called context-dependent learning, and it can be harsh on you if you prefer loud sounds during your preps and get a silent classroom during the exam.

· Music Reduces the Ability to Recall Information: The ability to recall information was examined by researchers on 25 participants in the presence of different sounds. Participants were tested under various listening conditions. The study found that participants performed worse while listening to music. They did the best in the quiet.

· Music distorts Cognitive Abilities: Researchers have found that music may impair cognitive abilities when you’re trying to memorize things in order, because you may get thrown off by the changing words and notes in your chosen song.

· Music Impairs Creativity: Listening to music while studying is a bad idea, and it has the opposite effect. (British Psychologists). “We found strong evidence of impaired performance when playing background music compared to quiet background conditions”, (Neil McClatchy).


In the end, it can be said that music is a matter of personal choice when studying. If you can train your brain to work with the music’s pace, it is effective for your studies. Otherwise, it can be a big distraction. While engaged in subjects that you are already familiar with, music can surprisingly elevate your energy levels.


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