For many, having music on in the background while studying is a long-held and beloved habit. There's just something about listening to a playlist of Taylor Swift songs while laboring over mathematical formulas that can make the task feel slightly more bearable. However, if listening to music while studying is a tendency of yours, I have some bad news: it may actually be doing you more harm than good.
Numerous studies examining the relationship between studying and music suggest that listening to music with lyrics may in fact hinder learning. Music is a stimulus that can negatively affecting concentration and recall and make it difficult to focus on a task at hand. So while listening to your favorite songs while studying may at first glance seem like a harmless way to relax, it is likely hindering your learning and comprehension.
However, if you're someone who enjoys having something on in the background while you work, do not despair! All is not lost. While the majority of music genres are said to hinder studying, there are some that do not.
Classical music is unique in that, not only do studies suggest it doesn't hinder studying, it may actually benefit it. But before we delve into why exactly classical music is good for your mind, let's begin with a definition.
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What is classical music?
The Cambridge Dictionary defines classical music as “music that is considered to be part of a long formal tradition and to have lasting value" as well as “a form of music developed from a European tradition mainly in the 18th and 19th centuries”. It is often regarded as more complex than other music genres, due to the often numerous instruments used and the carefully composed nature of pieces.
The genre goes back centuries and many consider it more sophisticated and intellectual than other types of music. Beethoven, Mozart and Chopin are just a few of the composers whose names have been cemented in history books due to their creation of incredible classical pieces. Their works continue to shape and impact people even centuries after their composition.
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Why should you listen to classical music while studying?
There are no distracting lyrics — classical music is based on instruments, not words. This makes it easier for your brain to focus on the information that you're studying and ensures a higher rate of absorption of your work.
Reduces stress — listening to slow-paced pieces such as Debussy's Clair de Lune can be relaxing and reduce stress. This makes classical music a better study option than genres such as pop, which often involve loud, fast tempos that can be overwhelming and even trigger anxiety.
Improves mood — classical music is said to release dopamine and spike pleasure. Hence, listening to it while you study may be a good motivator.
Benefits sleep — Studies suggest listening to classical music improves sleep, something which students often struggle with and can impact studying.
Can help establish a study routine — If you make it a habit to regularly listen to classical music while you study, this may make it easier for you to establish an effective and enjoyable study routine.
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Suggestions on where to get started with classical music
The amount of classical music available may seem daunting to someone wanting to get started with the genre. To help ease you into classical music, here are some recommendations of YouTube channels and videos that provide great classical music to listen to while you study.
Just Instrumental Music is a YouTube channel that posts videos that “are perfectly suitable to focus on studying, reading, working and improving your concentration and memorization while listening to the greatest composers of all times".
This video consists of 8 hours of 'the best of classical music' and features brilliant composers such as Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin.
11 hours of the “best of piano” classical music to help you relax and ready to focus.
Hopefully, you now better understand the powerful impact music can have on the mind and understand why listening to classical music is a great way of getting more out of your studies.
While, of course, everybody's study habits are different, and it's not guarenteed that what'll help one person will help you, if you're someone who enjoys background noise, it might be worth playing some classical music while you study a shot. Good luck exploring the world of classical music and happy studying!
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