For our second guest blog this month, Lily Meyers, looks closely at how music can help us study better. But perhaps singing at the top of our voices, isn't quite the way to go...
We all know that studying isn’t everyone’s favourite pastime. It can be incredibly easy to do just about everything BUT bring out the books. And before you know it, you’re pulling an all-nighter – don’t worry, we’ve all been there!
Finding the motivation to do independent learning outside of the classroom won’t just come on its own, and sometimes it calls for some creativity. By pinpointing a way you can relax the mind and body, you can let yourself take in as much information as possible. So why not combine one of your favourite things to do with one of your least favourite?
How Music Can Help You to Study
Music is one of the most powerful influences on our mood. It can dictate a happy day and a sad day, it can fill us with confidence and most importantly, it can make us feel productive.
Research indicates that by listening to music, we’re giving our brain a workout. It enhances our motivation and elevate our mood by reducing stress. Depending on the genre, it can increase our concentration and contribute to memory enhancement.
This is how ‘The Mozart Effect’ came into play. Within popular culture, "the Mozart effect" is often associated with the idea that listening to Mozart's compositions can enhance one's overall intelligence or IQ. In scientific circles, however, this phrase takes on a more precise meaning. It alludes to the idea that people will experience short term mental enhancements (from 10-15 minutes) if they listen to Mozart’s music.
But what kind of genres are truly best?
The great thing about music is that there’s something for everyone. You can find what fits you best and what works well with how you study. But here are some of the most well-liked genres students have tried out:
Instrumental: The hack to some distraction-free studying! Whether it's jazz or acoustic, it provides a pleasant auditory backdrop without lyrics to divert your attention. However, if you’re a natural singer, it might be best to find songs you know you won’t be singing along to in your head.
Film/Video Game Soundtracks: The instrumental soundtracks of movies and video games can be excellent choices for studying. They’re often designed to complement the visual experience and can be engaging without distracting.
Classical: Classical music, particularly instrumental compositions, is a popular choice for studying. The lack of lyrics can make it less distracting, and the long, drawn-out melodies can help quieten down the atmosphere and create an easy study feeling.
Ambient Sounds: Rumbling thunder, birdsong and crashing waves are all popular choices for study sounds. Listening to nature relaxes our fight or flight instinct, and makes us more settled, rather than being anxious and on edge.
The Relationship Between Music and Mental Health
We’ve all had times where the complexity of an emotion we might be feeling is too much to process on its own. Using music as a way to feel understood, validated and seen is one of the best tools for students.
In a 2017 survey conducted by accommodation provider UPP, it was discovered that a significant 87% of first-year students faced challenges in adjusting to various aspects of student life, be it social or academic. The leading concern among these students was the stress associated with their studies, with nearly 60% expressing difficulty in managing their workload.
Coping with academic pressure as a student can be tricky, especially if you’re unaware of the resources around you that can help. This is why music is one of the easiest ways to relax the mind and can be implemented into almost any self-care step. Taking long walks and brain breaks will help to find a balance between studying with music, and relaxing with it.
While study methods will continue to grow and develop as more resources become available, music is accessible to all. Not only can you create your own individualistic study plan depending on the genre you fancy, but you can chop and change to suit your own needs. Indulge in different playlists and see how study sounds can help you.
Lily Meyers is a freelance writer, who contributes to The Writers Diary, and is currently focusing her writing on student life.
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