Melodic Studying

The next time your professor tells you to stop listening to music in class, you now have an excuse. A recent study from London investigated the effects of music on studying. The study concluded with results showing that depending on what genre of music you’re listening to, music actually helps increase concentration and memory retention when studying.

We’ll wait until universities allow students to take earphones into an exam room, but consider listening to music when studying. Spotify made the claim that students benefit from increased academic performance when listening to music. (Yes, it was Spotify that sponsored the research.) Spotify commissioned a research team from London’s The British CBT, led by Dr Emma Gray.

The team experimented on students studying mathematics. The experiment involved 2 groups of students that were given an identical mathematics exam – one group of students were given classical music to listen to during the exam, while the control group took it conventionally. It was found that on average, the students who listened to music while taking the exam did up to 12% better when the results came out, equivalent to up a whole grade.

Classical music contains a good balance in tone range and melody that promotes longer study and more information retention in students. Music in ranges similar to this induces a state of relaxation where calmness and alertness can coexist. Imagination is stimulated and focus increases. It’s kind of like a high that really promotes the best time of studying and learning.
Dr. Emma Gray
Lead Researcher of the study

They research team has not only been able to conclude that music is beneficial to studying, but they’ve also been able to identify which types of music will benefit which areas of study. The left side of the brain, involved more on processing information and problem solving, would benefit from a more relaxing and calming type of music. The relaxing state will promote learning and focus. On the other hand, the right side of the brain, the more creative side of the brain, would benefit from more upbeat music as the increased excitement induces more creativity.

If you don’t believe the study, why not try this out for yourself? See if it works with you. The next time your professor asks you to take your headphones off, say “it’s for research purposes.” Then smile, and proceed to get back to head-banging to that latest rock single.

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