Art by Joseph Braun
Listening to music while you study can help you ace your test. A study at Stanford Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience Laboratory showed, that music had an effect on parts of the brain that control attention span, memory retention, and processes a continual flow of information. Professor of music and co-author of the study, Jonathan Berger, said, “The study suggests one possible adaptive evolutionary purpose of music.” Berger suggested that listening to music will add many advances in society, such as the ability to perceive time, communication, assist in brain damage repairs, and help improve student studying or a teacher working.
When asked if she felt more productive with music playing, teacher Mrs. Figot said, “…..I am definitely more productive when I have music playing. In fact, I can’t really work in silence at all- it makes my brain go a little crazy …. But, I will say, music is better for when I need to focus.”
The study conducted is similar in regards to The Mozart Effect. It states that humans will experience a period of arousal produced by music which temporarily increases performance on spatial reasoning tasks. Meaning that the music affects parts of the brain which helps students to retain information, remain focused, and reduce stress while studying. The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that maintains the body’s status quo, it regulates thirst, hunger, sleep, mood, heart rate, body temperature, metabolism, growth, etc. The hypothalamus also links the endocrine system and nervous system (the nervous system controls the body while the endocrine system creates hormones that regulate these activities), while also producing and releasing hormones. When listening to music such as ‘we built this city’ (starship) or ‘walking on sunshine’ (Katrina and the Waves), your heart rate slightly increases and your mood becomes more cheerful.
There is a catch to listening to music while you work, and that is choosing the right songs to listen to. Of course you want to listen to music you like, but you
need to choose songs that won’t distract you. The same rock music you listen to while cleaning or pop music while driving, might not help you study for that final exam. Different music genres work for different people. For instance, when asked if she listened to music while working, Mrs Underwood said, “…..-there are a couple of occasions where I put on some like, instrumental music. I usually put on the soundtrack from the Lord of The Rings movies because it’s awesome and there’s not a lot of vocals in it. It just feels really epic.” Instrumental music includes artists such as Peter Crowley, Really Slow Music, and Most Beautiful Music.
However, if instrumental isn’t for you, there is a wide variety of genres and music to choose from. A study at the University of Wales showed that students are just as distracted by lyrical-based music, as non-lyrical-based music. Although, if you just listen to lyrical songs, try internacional music. Each culture has a rich selection of songs, and just because you can’t understand the words, you’ll still be able to focus. Most importantly though, keep it mixed up. You’ll never be able to focus if there’s only one song that plays over and over driving you crazy.