By guest blogger Stan Whitcomb
Stan is a freshman at Santa Clara University. He is currently undecided, but is leaning towards a major in computer science. He is new to the blogosphere but is a seasoned writer (thanks English class!). In his free time, he likes to Dougie with his hallamtes and he is an avid Frisbee player.
Studying can be hard. It is often boring, tedious, and mind numbing. Lucky for us, music has been linked to increased function in the part of the brain that controls the attention span. With the right music, a student can vastly improve the efficiency of their studying.
That’s right, you can actually accomplish more while listening to the right types of music than you would otherwise. It all comes down to the type of music and your ability to focus and multitask.
The type of music you listens to while studying is extremely important. For one, the music cannot be super familiar. If you try to study to your favorite country album or the latest Billboard Top 100, you won’t be very successful because you will be focusing more on the music than on the studying.
The best type of music to listen to while studying is classical music. It has been shown to increase positive cognitive functions while simultaneously being non-attention grabbing. Why is classical music so good to listen to? Because it has no vocals. Words attract your attention just as movement attracts our vision. If you start listening to the lyrics of a song, you stop paying attention to the words the page. So if you need to get a couple hours of reading done, I suggest this playlist or any other classical music playlist (Pandora has some great ones; so does Spotify).
Focus and the ability to multitask play a large role in deciding whether or not you should even listen to music while your are studying. If you cannot adequately complete three or more tasks simultaneously, music may be a detriment to you simply because you will start to focus on it rather than the studying at hand. In the same sense, if you have serious problems bringing yourself to focus on the job at hand, bringing another thing into the picture could fracture your concentration. But, and this is a BIG but, music may also be the answer to the problems you are having. For instance, moderately fast music with no vocals, minimal drums and bass, and calm, relaxing tones will improve your ability to focus on your task rather than occupying your mind. Just don’t blast the music, play it softly. In essence, this background music should be like elevator music, except classier.
So when you are studying for a big test or attempting to write a paper, music can help you stay focused. Just make sure it’s not “We Are Young”by fun. or any other catchy tune that will take you off-task.