What Kinds of Music Are Beneficial to Students?

by Graham Glusman

Is music beneficial to studying? Students have asked this age-old question over the years, particularly in modern-day schools. Where workloads are particularly heavy and homework can stretch over a period of several hours, like at the Academy, students seek some sort of relief from the tedious work.

A common way to efficiently do homework is to listen to music while working. One can continue to work, without passing out from boredom or exhaustion. However, the question remains as to what kind of music is in fact helpful to learning.

A study done by Stanford University uses brain imaging technology to pinpoint what parts of the brain are functioning while listening to music. The music used was that of an obscure 18th-century composer. This music activated the part of the brain that focuses on paying attention, making predictions, and cognitive ability.

On the positive side, this shows that listening to music can improve memory and understanding of concepts. On the negative side, who listens to obscure 18th-century composers?

Another study conducted by the Center of New Discovery and Learning found that listening to classical or jazz music while studying can increase learning ability by five times.

However, music such as rock, pop, rap, blues, and country lull the aforementioned part of the brain to sleep with their repetitive meter. So unless you’re into Thelonious Monk or Brahms, you’re out of luck.  •

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