Does Music Help You Learn?
As a new school year is beginning, students, parents, and teachers are interested in how noise, even in the form of music, can affect focus, study habits, and learning. Is it necessary to block all sound? Or can music improve your results? Does noise isolation increase focus?
It turns out there’s a bit of contradictory information out there. Some experts point to music’s positive effects such as increased energy and improved mood. Others focus on the negative aspects like increased distractions.
What Are You Listening To?
When it comes to learning or focus, one of the biggest factors is what type of music you’re listening to. While most of our favorite songs today contain powerful singing and/or compelling lyrics, the research seems pretty conclusive that music with lyrics is likely to be distracting as your brain processes the words in the song. This can make studying more challenging and make it harder to remember the information you were trying to cram into your brain. Not good for long-term learning or even remembering for that upcoming test.
On the other hand, music without lyrics has been shown to do the opposite—improving attention and memory as it reduces anxious feelings. This has been referred to as the Mozart Effect, after a popular book of the same name.
The tempo and loudness also have empowering or diminishing effects. You want music that’s upbeat enough to help prevent “zone out” while not so loud or fast that it’s distracting.
What Are You Studying?
Another element is what you are trying to learn. Some research from Dr. Nick Perham has indicated that silence is golden when you’re trying to learn “serial-recall tasks”; i.e., order. According to his research, no matter what type of music, when you’re learning the order, it’s best to turn it off.
It also appears that music is more beneficial, or at least less detrimental, when you’re studying math versus reading or writing—especially when there are lyrics.
As with most learning, it’s best to know yourself. Do you do better on tests after studying with music, or without? Experiment with the results, and be honest with yourself. Just because it may be more enjoyable to study with the music on doesn’t mean you’re getting the most out of the time you study.
When choosing your playlist, you’re likely to find it’s best to choose acoustic or classical or even movie scores to enhance focus. Without lyrics. And keep the volume a little lower, so it’s uplifting but not distracting.
What about “White, Brown, Pink, etc. Noise”?
White noise may also be beneficial, especially if you are in a noisy environment like a coffee shop, school library, shared office, or at home with siblings. At those times, you can plug in either ambient music or some sounds that are relaxing and invigorating such as rain, a running brook, or ocean waves.
Anther type of sound that some people swear by is called “brown noise,” another static sound that can help reduce outside distractions. According to professional sound designer Stephane Pigeon, brown is more bassy while white is more hissy. Sound engineers have developed tracks of white, brown, or other “colored” noise to help with focus, creativity, and other tasks. You can find them on iTunes, Youtube, and there are even apps.
Some research has suggested this type of background noise can increase focus, especially for learning tasks. Yet again, it could depend on the person, environment, and even subject matter. So experiment to see if you enjoy it and if it really does, in fact, increase your focus and learning.
Superior Noise Isolation for Superior Focus
Whatever music or non-music you discover works best for you and your study habits, it’s also useful to look for noise isolation. Decibullz earphones offer superior noise isolation because of the custom fit for your ears. By reducing the outside distractions, you can get down to business and get your work or, in this case, studying done. Decibullz in; world out.