Does Music Help You Study?
For those parents who are skeptical of their children’s assertions that constantly wearing headphones and being plugged into an iPod or similar, relaxes them and helps them think—it’s true! Even though your kids might not be able to explain to you exactly how, they have a point. Here are some commonly held beliefs about music and its relationship with learning.
Music is exciting (in more ways than one): Music stimulates your brain—particularly with regard to math, many children actually get through problems quicker if they’re listening to music. Our brains are just built that way: the music we enjoy listening to can cause our brains to focus better.
Music makes studying more fun: Most children are more excited about class when there’s music or singing involved. Research shows that incorporating songs into studying, now referred to as ‘academic music’, has helped many students improve their grades by up to 40%. Chances are, if students are having trouble with the basics, they’re not going to get any better as things get more advanced and progressively more difficult. Conditioning is everything; so if you’d like your kids to foster a good relationship with math from the very beginning, have them associate it with the music they enjoy.
Music is not a distraction: Many people believe that listening to music while you work will only distract you and make you less productive. However, this isn’t necessarily true: music will help a student to be more focused and concentrate better, and because of the music, he or she will be less likely to be distracted by ambient noise. Children tend to have relatively short attention spans and music can help them really zero in on their work.
Music also has the added advantage of keeping children continually interested in their work. An illuminating study conducted at the Stanford School of Medicine has found that when you’re listening to music and are actively anticipating the next beat or song, your brain activity increases, and instead of letting you doze off, it causes different parts of your brain to stay engaged and work longer hours, without fatigue.
Music & math: This shouldn’t be too surprising, but math and music complement each other in a really profound way. Once you form an association between math and music, you’re the proud owner of your very own musical mnemonic. A lot of research has shown that students who accustom themselves to working this way actually outperform students who don’t. This is because our brains absorb information more effectively and permanently if it comes with an associated piece of music.
So if your kid is prepping for a test, don’t take away his mp3 player! Let him use it while he works, and it’ll create a low-stress environment for everyone involved—you and your kids.
Want to know what kind of music to listen to? Stay tuned to the Premier Tutors Study Blog and give us a call to see how we’re using music as a powerful learning tool!