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Music and Studying: Helpful or Not?


Posted By Staff Writer on May 20, 2013

This ambient noise of agreeable music is seen by some to help them focus and remain on task with their studies or to help them pass the time while studying more pleasantly, but is listening to music while studying actually helpful?  Or is the growing habit of plugging into the iPod or smart phone to listen to some tunes while learning doing more harm than good for students?

The rising trend among student to throw on some music while studying has lead researchers to conduct formal studies on the topic.  Their findings are quite informative.

Researchers studying the effects of music on students performed a series of experiments wherein students were asked to take a test under varying circumstances of background noise and music.  Subject students took their exam under complete silence, with a steady repetition of a word, with casual and changing conversations in the background, with music they liked playing in the background, and with music they did not like playing in the background.

After analyzing the results of the tests taken under the above circumstances, it was found that students performed more poorly when there were distractions of any sort playing in the background.  This means that all three distracting variations of background noise, the shifting conversation, the disliked music, and the liked music all contributed to distracting and worsening the students test taking ability.

On the other hand, the ambient noise of the single repeated word and the quite backdrop of silence gave a boost to the students' overall performance during the test.  The conclusions of this study would seem to indicate that even if the student likes the music being played in the background, the simple presence of the distraction from music can lead to a poorer performing student.

Whether the student is studying healthcare administration or business management, the need for studying throughout their collegiate career will be great.  Because of the importance of studying to the learning process, it is likewise important the student engage in quality study time, and not simply a halfhearted skim of the text or notes they are supposed to be studying.


Author Bio Megan Wickes is a graduate of the Master in Business Administration (MBA) program. She currently works for Independence University, managing its online presence. In addition to her love of marketing, Megan enjoys wakeboarding, boating, and spending time with her husband and new baby boy.

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