Image by Daniel Beck.

Let’s Rap About Study Music

Why I Sometimes Do and Sometimes Don't Vibe to Tunes When I Hit the Grindstone

June 4, 2023

The day my mother took my earphones away was one of the worst days of my life. She barged in while I listened to my favorite song as I finished up my homework. I begged her, but to no avail. She droned on and on about how music sabotages your focus and damages your eardrums. 

Though this remains a bitter experience, my mom’s words rang true: I noticed that I did fall into the rabbit hole of distraction with music on in the background, especially at school. The melodies and lyrics made me lose target, and snowballed into daydreams during Learning Lab. The vicious cycle of late night homework completion continued. Even though I knew this habit had to stop, the catchy tunes lured me back into the loop.

So, fed up with the loss of my earbuds, I decided to dig deeper into this occurrence. After all, my friends constantly raved about the songs they played to keep their noses on the grindstone — how bad could it be? After investigation, however, I realized that vocal melodies overwhelm you when you try to multitask because they carry the singer’s emotions. Their words interfere with the lines on the page as you try to read and write. These tunes actually impede your focus and efficiency.

For a vast majority, instrumentals rank above pop hits when it comes to study music. In fact, non-lyrical melodies enhance your concentration and drown out all the outside noises inside a classroom full of rowdy kids.  Classic compositions help people put the blinders on and get into the zone.

While instrumental symphonies or soundtracks definitely work better than others, some still view it as a disturbance. In a study conducted by the University of Wales Institute in Cardiff, United Kingdom, researchers noticed that participants who memorized in silence showed better performance than those who did while listening to music. 

Hence, if you want to concentrate on your work while also jamming out, I recommend songs without lyrics. Platforms like YouTube and Spotify provide a myriad of melodies to vibe to while you study. Personally, Meat Love, Time Remastered, and Three Ways to Destroy the Universe sit at the top of my playlist.

Turns out, my mom nagged me for a fair reason and I changed my tune. I learned that non-lyrical symphonies, sometimes even silence, worked the best for me. Music serves as a great tool to help us focus on what’s more important – as long as we know how to choose the right track.

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    AlexAug 17, 2023 at 7:31 pm

    I was always wondering if listening to music was effective for my learning. Thanks for the information!