Can Music Affect Your Learning?

Imagine this… you come home from work, drop your bags and coat, flop onto the couch and reach for the remote. You are about to play your favourite soundtrack, but why? It is because music has the ability to calm the mind and body. It also has the ability to excite, stimulate, and motivate. These are commonly accepted facts in our lives. We might not say it is what we believe, but our built-in actions certainly prove it. When you are happy, you play music to celebrate. When you are sad, you play music to help work through the emotions. When you are stressed, you play music to relax. That in itself is irrefutable evidence that music can have a somewhat amazing impact on our lives.

Is Music Important for Learning? What do the Stats and Studies Say?

Music has been used to teach people things for many years. Both scientists and teachers have developed ways to incorporate music and play into learning scenarios, so that students can learn with greater ease. 

One might wonder if music can hinder the learning experience, but there is little evidence to support that. In fact, music can add context to a learning situation, making it easier for the “student” to connect to the subject matter and therefore learning with more success. Music can be used to raise attention, evoke emotions, increase concentration and accuracy, remember facts and stats with ease, and even improve problem solving skills.

That being said, it has also been found that the music has to be relevant or suitable in order for a student to really learn. Music that lacks relevance or meaning to the student may simply become a hindrance or an irritation.

You might be wondering at this point what type of music is best for studying. There’s an interesting paper that was released by SpringerLink that says that music without actual lyrics is considered to have the most positive effect on a person’s learning ability. That would make classical music or music with a nice beat, but no actual singing, the best possible options. The same paper reveals that the less work the brain has to do while listening to music; the better the impact will be on learning. For instance, if you listen to music that is familiar to you, there’s less thought and “active listening” from the brain, therefore it can dedicate more of its resources to actually studying or learning. 

But what about music that’s irritating or distracting, you ask? Yes, well there’s that to consider as well. Imagine you were spending a bit of time playing on slot sites, trying to learn your way around a new game and the music was repetitive, distracting and somewhat annoying? Your mind would be so distracted by the annoyance that you wouldn’t learn very much during your session. Of course, when it comes to online gambling; you can toggle off the background music if you are feeling irritated by it. Ian Hodge actually writes a fairly interesting article on how different types of music can impact on learning, which can be found here. While his article is relevant to home schooling, it can be applied to all areas of life where learning and music can be combined. 

What is the Best Music for Learning? What Music Should You Listen to?

A lot of it will come down to you as an individual and what you actually enjoy. But if you stick to the rules of music with no lyrics; that really does a narrow it down a bit. According to an interesting article published on Entrepreneur, the following 5 types of music are best suited to learning scenarios – perhaps you should give them a try:

  • Music between 50 and 80 beats per minute. Anything faster and you might find yourself feeling flustered and rushed. 
  • Video game music as it is specifically created to help players focus on the task or mission at hand. 
  • Classical music which is known to help people solve puzzles with greater ease.
  • Nature music because listening to the sounds of nature is known to relax and soothe the mind and prime it for new information.
  • Cinematic music because it is designed to inspire and uplift viewers. 

Last Word

Whether you are looking for the perfect sound track to fuel an all-night online gaming session or if you want to hit the books and study for an upcoming academic exam, chances are that with the right music, you can get the most out of your session. All you need to do, is choose your learning/study music wisely!


I listen to and write about music!

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