Musical Genius?

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Zina Card, Journalist

Picture this: You are working on your homework like the diligent student that you are while listening to music because, let’s face it, homework is pretty boring. Your mom comes in and tells you that you need to turn off the music because you need to concentrate on your homework better. Grumbling, you go back to homework minus the music because you’re obedient (or maybe you don’t).

The next time your mom comes in and tells you that you shouldn’t be listening to music while you are studying, you can tell her that music actually can help you concentrate and remember things. According to an article found on PBS.org talking about a study conducted at UC Ivrine, it has been discovered that music helps stimulate certain areas of the brain, helping Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients. If music can help these people, then it can certainly help you memorize and learn information.

Also, certain types of music are especially helpful when studying, depending on what you are doing. If you are learning something new, it helps to be listening to upbeat, happy music to help get you more excited about the information that you are learning. However, when you are trying to memorize something, listen to more instrumental types of music. When you are trying to remember certain words, music with a heavy bass is usually the most helpful because it incites movement which links words with the movement. Playing music is also helpful while completing a mundane task like washing windows because it helps pass the time and provides entertainment for others around you (while you sing off key and dance). However, I wouldn’t recommend listening to intense Dubstep while trying to study for a test—trust me, I’ve tried.

According to the University of Phoenix, the benefits of studying with music are not universal. They are only found in certain students. Some students have shown that they are easily distracted by outside stimulus; music just adds to the distraction. Which type of student are you? The best way to find out is to test out the method of studying with the appropriate type of music and see if it helps you focus on what you are studying. Classical music is the best type for study time because it increases the short-term enhancement of certain mental tasks like memorization, scientifically referred to as spatial-temporal reasoning. Music with lyrics is probably the least helpful because the words can conflict with the words you are memorizing, especially when studying a foreign language or reading a paper.

So maybe your mom is right; maybe she’s wrong (well she’s always right, so she probably isn’t). Either way, music may significantly increase your memorization ability and learning potential if you find the right kind of music to use and are able to multitask successfully (and ace that test). Music is a powerful tool, and like all tools, can be used or abused. The power of music can help you perform above and beyond in your normal cram session.

 

Lucas, Cheri. “Boost Memory and Learning With Music.” PBS. Print.

Pela, Robert. “Listening to Music While Studying.” – University of Phoenix. Web. 11 Dec. 2014. <http://www.phoenix.edu/forward/student-life/2013/08/should-you-listen-to-music-while-studying.html>.