Studying and listening to music: are the two compatible?

Stephanie is the mother of a teenage girl who loves to play music at decibels that make you question her sanity, as well as the functioning of her eardrum.

Her mother often tells her to turn it down and is still confused as to why when the child says that she is studying for a test, the music is still playing.

How can anyone study in noise or what some pass as music? Is that even possible?

It has been an ongoing debate that has people choosing sides, as on one hand many feel that you cannot learn in an atmosphere that is noisy, while others say different strokes for different folks.

Just as how people have different learning styles, they can also have different studying styles and methods.

For some, not only is it feasible to study in and with music, but they can also grab a set of headphones and lose themselves in the process.

This is called the ‘Mozart effect’ where listening to music may actually improve intelligence.

This is because some individuals find it relaxing and it therefore helps students to overcome the anxiety usually associated with studying.

If it is allowed to play in the background, it is said to enhance focus by aiding motivation and improving mood and for those extra-long night time study sessions.

With friends and classmates, it can also boost endurance and even a change of music can be like a ‘fix-me-up’. Some students report that music aids the memorisation function aspect of studying.

This may be because it creates a happy environment, which indirectly boosts memory formation.

Other people are not sold on its usefulness, and see music as a distraction that can be a disadvantage, because songs that have lyrics tend to be intrusive at times, as you not only stop to listen but subconsciously sing them as well. Loud music has also been shown to affect mood, not in a good way.

The most compelling reason for leaving music out of your studying technique is because some of those who use music tend to have challenges in an actual examination hall or centre that is noise free.

Meaning, the silence in the room makes it difficult for some students to recall the information. At the end of the day, the success of any particular study regime is dependent on the student and their particular learning style.