Can You Learn While Listening to Music? Quick Facts (With Examples)

Listening to music is an activity that many of us love. It can improve our mood, take away our boredom, and even accompany us while working on different tasks, like exercising or doing household chores.

Is it a good idea to listen to music when you are studying or memorizing? 

In this article, we will find out how music can affect learning.

Here’s Why You CAN Effectively Learn and Listen to Music:

Listening to music is a highly stimulating activity that keeps you mentally alert. It can aid in better concentration and memory performance, and so you can definitely learn and listen to music. 

Fun fact: I listened to music while writing this.

P.S. Here’s what I listened to in case you ever need some background tunes.

There is evidence suggesting that (just like learning in general), music helps improve the structure and function of your brain. 

When you listen to music while studying, your brain can interpret and absorb new information more easily.

Is It Better to Study in Silence or With Music?

Studying in silence or with music has its own advantages and disadvantages. Some people may study better with music or background noise, while others simply prefer silence.

It’s great to try out different strategies to find out what works best for you. 

It can also depend on the task at hand. 

For instance, problem-solving or memory recall may be performed better in silence for complete concentration.

While many factors can affect overall learning, studying while listening to music provides significant benefits:

Boosts Your Mood

Studying can be a repetitive and tedious activity at times. 

However, once you turn up the volume to your favorite song, it can instantly uplift your mood and make studying more tolerable.

When you listen to enjoyable music, your brain releases dopamine. This feel-good neurotransmitter helps you feel happier, more motivated, and less stressed.

Research has shown that being in a positive mood generally impacts your learning outcomes. If you’re feeling good, you’ll have more success in learning and absorbing new things.

The next time you feel overwhelmed or anxious when you don’t understand your subject material, just listen to your favorite music. 

It can help you calm down, relax, and work efficiently.

Helps You Think Better

Researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine noted that music, particularly classical music, can help your brain process information better.

They have found evidence that music trains the brain to pay closer attention to events and form predictions regarding what might happen. So if you’re struggling with a particular lesson, listening to music may help you make better sense of it.

The idea that listening to complex classical music can make you “smarter” is popularly known as the “Mozart effect.”

Although it has been disproved, this theory suggests that music can stimulate specific areas of our brain that play a role in our mathematical or reasoning ability.

Recommended Reading: We’ve written a whole article on why learning is actually a skill that you can improve.

Improves Your Focus and Reasoning Skills

The ability to predict outcomes of certain events may also be linked to reasoning capabilities. 

When you listen to music while studying, you’ll begin to notice an improvement in your reasoning skills based on the info given to you.

A 2011 study also supports music as a way to increase focus. In the study, those who listened to background music while studying performed better in the classroom than the others.

Does Listening to Music Help You Memorize?

Many studies have been conducted on the effects of music in learning performance, including memorization. 

Still, there have been mixed results as these effects are highly dependent on individual factors.

For instance, one study suggested that certain types of music, like classical music, can help improve performance on memory and processing tasks in older adults.

However, another study concluded that listening to music affects memory negatively. Researchers have found that students who were studying without listening to music could memorize and recall more items.

What Type of Music Is Best for Studying?

The type of music you’re listening to can impact how you learn. 

While we all have different preferences, some music genres can put us in the right frame of mind more than others.

Here are some of the best types of music for studying.

Classical Music

Existing research suggests that classical music helps enhance cognitive functions. You can try listening to Baroque, classical composers, including Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi.

They are famous for their upbeat music composed of 60 bpm (beats per minute). 

According to some studies, people who listened to music with 60 bpm experienced an increased sense of relaxation and stress reduction.

If you don’t particularly enjoy listening to classical music, there are other options you can consider.

Instrumental Music

Slow instrumental music is an ideal choice, especially when you’re writing or reading. 

You don’t want to add more words in your brain while you’re trying to write an essay or read your textbook.

Listening to music without lyrics can help you stay focused and relaxed without unnecessary distraction.

Ambient Sounds

Ambient sounds are background noises that surround a particular area. Perhaps some of the best types of ambient sound for studying are nature sounds.

Some examples include the sound of rain, ocean waves, waterfalls, rivers, rustling leaves, or chirping birds.

These soft, calming sounds can effectively mask white noise while providing a relaxing atmosphere. Listening to this type of music helps you concentrate deeply on your work.

Other ambient sounds that may work for you include coffee shop sounds, a running dishwasher or washing machine, office sounds, traffic, or crowds.

Binaural Beats

Binaural beats produce an auditory illusion when you listen to two different frequencies simultaneously in each ear. 

Limited research suggests that binaural beats may help improve focus, especially in those with ADHD.

Aside from better concentration, these beat stimulations may also be beneficial for inattention, anxiety, and insomnia.

Also Frequently Asked (FAQ):

Does Listening to Music Help You Concentrate?

The effects listening to music has on concentration usually depends on the individual, their learning style, and study habits.

Extroverts or multi-taskers can efficiently juggle studying with music, while others may study better with silence.

It’s best to avoid music while studying if you are easily distracted. 

However, if you can multitask well, listening to music may be beneficial for you.

Negative Effects of Listening to Music While Studying:

Despite its positive effects on studying, music can sometimes prove more distracting than helpful. Below are some of its negative effects:

  • Music with vocals can interfere with your brain’s working memory and attention, especially if you’re reading or writing. In some cases, you may find yourself writing the lyrics of what you’re listening to.  
  • Loud or fast music can affect your reading comprehension, making it difficult for you to absorb information.
  • Introverts who are easily overstimulated may find music more distracting when studying.
  • If you listen to music while memorizing, you may find it harder to recall or remember the information.