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Does listening to music help you in your concentration?

You have heard this before; listening to music when studying or doing you work could help you to focus.

But how true is this statement? Here at KajoMag, we look at different studies on the effects of listening to music on our concentration.

One study shows that listening to classical music helps you to focus in your work. Credits: Pexels.
Listening to music does help you in your concentration, but only classical music

One of the most common understandings is that listening to classical music does help you to focus. According to Dr Masha Godkin from Northcentral University, music activates both the left and right brain at the same time.

She added, “And the activation of both hemispheres can maximise learning and improve memory.”

When it comes to music, it is best to to stick with classical. One of the reasons is that there are no lyrics to distract you.

Furthermore, the tunes should be able to keep you awake but won’t inspire you to start tapping or moving your body to the beats.

Beside classical music, other types of music believed to be helpful in your concentration are spa music, nature sounds and music with 60-70 beats per minute.

Listening to music does help, but before your start studying

Music has been proven to be a stress reducer in most studies. University of Maryland Medical Center finds that listening to soothing music can decrease blood pressure, heart rate and anxiety levels.

If you about to head into a stressful working or studying session, listen to some music first to calm yourself down in order to help you concentrate better.

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You might want to listen to some music when you start feeling anxious or stressful. Credits: Unsplash.
Listening to music does help you to focus provided that you like the music

Researchers from University of Tsukuba did an experiment on how external factors, namely playing music, effects the performance on a task that requires alot of attention.

They compared three different conditions; music that the subject likes, music that the subject is not familiar with and silence.

Their result showed that listening to music that the subject likes does increase their performance level.

The researchers stated, “When doing self-study, selecting appropriate music would help raise the performance. Even when in a classroom, when it is not a lecture-style class but is a practice style, it might help students by allowing them to listen to music while solving problems.”

They also advised that teachers try different types of music in class to see how it might affect the level of concentration among the students.

Listening to music does not help you to concentrate

A researcher from University of Maryland did a study focusing on the impact different genres of music, played at different volume levels, had on the cognitive abilities of college students completing academic tasks.

What she found was that volume plays a crucial role and could be more important than the type of music played.

“However, data from this study has demonstrated that silence seems to be the best environment to maximize performance when engaging in cognitive activity,” the research reported.

Surprisingly, the study showed that classical music was not proven to enhance cognitive performance.

According to the study, the direct benefits of listening to music on cognitive processing could be more a fantasy than a reality.

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Complete silence is the best

Meanwhile, Cambridge Brain Sciences published a study showing that memory performance was the best while listening to low arousal and negative music.

The study further stated, “However, compared to silence, background music had either no effect for some participants or significantly impeded memory performance.

Complete silence might help you to study or work better but if there is unnecessary noise in the background? You might want to consider putting on those earphones.

“It turns out some people use the same mental processes that are required to remember things to also process music, which means that a percentage of the brain regions responsible for memory – regions you need to focus on the task at hand – are actually being reallocated to processing background noise.”

At the end of the day, whether listening to music helps in concentration is pretty subjective. So you might want to try different kinds of music at a lower volume or no music at all to see which condition actually helps you the best.

Maybe you might want to be in complete silence when doing your job. Credits: Unsplash.

Let us know in the comment box if listening to music helps you to focus.

Patricia Hului
Patricia Hului is a Kayan who wants to live in a world where you can eat whatever you want and not gain weight. She grew up in Bintulu, Sarawak and graduated from the University Malaysia Sabah with a degree in Marine Science. She worked for The Borneo Post SEEDS, which is now defunct. When she's not writing, you can find her in a studio taking belly dance classes, hiking up a hill or browsing through Pinterest. Follow her on Instagram at @patriciahului, Facebook at Patricia Hului at or Twitter at @patriciahului.

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