When I was young, my parents used to always say: “Switch of that music and do your homework!!” At that time, it was believed that listening to music while studying was distracting.
Let’s not forget that the science, in those days, had me forced into eating tons of spinach in the misinformed belief that it would make me healthy. It was generally believed that spinach contained an incredible amount of iron, but today we all knows that this belief was due to a decimal point somehow ending up in the wrong place!
Everybody knows that music can improve our mood and generate positive feelings, but now it seems it is considered to be good to listen to music while studying. In fact, there are a number of studies that prove that we can actually study better while listening to music. There are also studies showing that music can significantly boost productivity. Apparently, music blocks out background noise and replaces unpredictable distractions with predictable and rhythmic sounds, thereby significantly improving the ability to remain focused.
Retain More Information
Research confirms that music can also help us to concentrate and perform for longer periods of time. This is particularly true for tasks that involve us being creative. Music can be used specifically to initiate internal processing and facilitate inventiveness. The tempo and rhythmic patterns of music help to maintain attention. Music can also help us to stay alert when we’re feeling drowsy. More importantly, studying while listening to the right music can help us to retain more information – turning it into a sort of auditory memory booster!
One study found that students who attended a lecture where music was playing quietly in the background, scored significantly higher than students who attended the same lecture without music. And it’s not just music: recent studies have shown that listening to special recordings containing Brainwave Entrainment techniques, such as Binaural Beats, can significantly increase IQ and improve academic test scores!
Work Better in Coffee Shops.
Coffee shop workers have reported that they feel more focused, effective and creative. It seems that the sound of coffee shops is conducive to concentration and productivity. This seems to be because the sound provides the ideal level of distraction. Science suggests that the increased effort used to work against small distractions can actually enhance concentration and retention levels. In one study, 300 participants were exposed to an ambient background noise of around 70 decibels, which is about the level of a medium to busy coffee shop. They were then asked questions using objective word-association. Their score was significantly higher with background sounds than when the test was conducted in silence.
So there we have it: the state of mind that is achieved by listening to sound and music can help us to study better, learn more, concentrate for longer, and retain more information. So put on those head-phones and get to work! (…with a nice cup of coffee or lovely plate of spinach!)
SonicTonic is an app that has specifically designed programmes to improve focus and concentration. There is even a free series of surround-recordings of coffee shops.