Accompanying music with studying: does it help us focus?

Ryan Foreman, Sophomore in Vocal Performance-“I do listen to music while studying. I listen to classical music. I like Mozart or orchestra type music- nothing with lyrics.”

Lauren Kline

Whether you’re listening while waiting on the bus, jamming out in the car or dancing while you party, listening to music can be an integral part of a person’s daily life, and can be incorporated into one’s routine in a number of ways.

As college students, what value does listening to music have when it comes to doing homework? Does listening to music take someone away from focusing on their studies? Or is it essential in focusing?

The “Mozart effect” describes an experiment done where it was believed that listening to Mozart helped the brain with special-rotation skills. 

Nick Perham, professor for the School of Health Sciences at the University of Wales Institute did a study on students listening to music while doing homework. After playing a variety of songs for students while they were focused, the results were all the same- music is a distraction to the brain.

According to Perham, “If you can understand the lyrics, it doesn’t matter whether you like it or not, it will impair your performance of reading comprehension.”

A study by Middle Tennessee State University also came to the conclusion that music can inhibit focus while studying. The final results decided silence is the best way to stay focused on a homework task.

Despite these results, some students prefer to listen to music when they study or do homework. See what some of them had to say about their study playlists here:

“I do listen to music while studying. I listen to classical music. I like Mozart or orchestra-type music- nothing with lyrics.” -Ryan Foreman, junior in music. 

“I sometimes listen to music while studying. I listen to Sia, Imagine Dragons or country if I do. One of my go-to songs is “Sangria” by Blake Shelton.” -Lexi Flake, sophomore in early childhood education.

“I do not listen to music while studying. I don’t think it helps me study. I think white noise is okay though.” -Kelsey Hill, junior in pre-business.

“It depends. If the music is already playing, that’s fine. But if it’s a distraction, I don’t like that.” -Ruby Boman, junior in psychology.

“I do listen to music while studying. Indie and folk are good. I really like Nahko and Medicine for The People.” -Margo Wilwerding, senior in apparel merchandising and design.