Best (and worst!) music for studying

September 27, 2017

Stuck in a space filled with talkers, sneezers, or traffic, and yet dying to get work done? Arm yourself with a set of headphones and press play to drown out all that ambient noise so that you can get your revision done in no time.

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Photo: Psychologies

But wait! If the playlist you have on hand is a set of songs from your favourite artists, you might want to rethink your strategy. Is playing your favourite songs helping or hurting your performance?

The answer: It depends.

Task dependent: Some tasks require you to engage all your focus on what you are trying to understand. These tasks might be hindered by any kind of background music should be done in complete silence. For example, the solving of complex mathematical formulas…

Personality dependent: Some people benefit from listening to their favourite tunes when studying while others don’t. Introverts are less productive than extroverts when listening to background music; People who are bad at multi-tasking test worse when listening to background music; Students who feel the pressure at exams can have their anxiety reduced with the help of calming music.

What many research studies can agree on is that music with lyrics can be more distracting than those without, leading to a difficult study session. Playing music with lyrics will make it seem as though someone is speaking at you. Because you are automatically inclined to listen, you become distracted, leading to an ineffective study session.

Let’s be honest with ourselves: How many of us have found ourselves mouthing the lyrics or bobbing along to our favourite songs while studying?

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Photo: Odyssey Online

We understand the need to make the time spent on homework more bearable.

So if you’re wondering, What songs can I play in the background while studying then? Here’s a suggestion: Video game music.

There are some people who argue that one of the best music genres for concentration is the video game soundtrack. This makes sense, when you think about how video game music is meant to help create an immersive environment for the player. The music should facilitate but not distract a player from a task that requires constant attention and focus.

In view of this, why not give video game soundtracks a go?

Some are uplifting,

…some invigorating,

…some relaxing.

Above all, all of them have been executed so well that they can rival that of movie soundtracks! While video game music in the past was simple and repetitive (think of the Mario theme), technology has improved over the years, and with it, music in video games.

Music of video games have been refined over decades to be even more pleasant, entertaining, and yet not distracting. This only means more variety of great quality for all of us.

At the end of the day, what matters is not choosing the best music in the world but that your study is productive. You will know if you’ve made the right music choices if the music fades into the background and your study takes center stage. As soon as the music starts to cloud your study, you need to change you study music choices…

Metal next, perhaps?

Cover photo: Odyssey Online