Music Can Help Students Study

Graphic by Abby Lass

By Cynthia Liu

When I study without music, it’s like eating food without salt: tasteless and bland. A Thanksgiving turkey baked without salt might fill my stomach, but it’s unappetizing, just like how studying without music fills the brain but is inefficient.

Music is not just emotionally important to students– it is actually crucial to students during their studies because it rejuvenates and refreshes the brain.

Do you want to learn your school subjects with greater speed and accuracy? Well, then, you need to listen to classical music while you study.

French University research says students who listen to one hour of classical music in the background while studying score higher than students who don’t listen to music (Engel). Speaking of listening to music, what kind of music should we listen when we are studying? Not just any music.

Classical music has a tendency to create a calm atmosphere that is perfect for learning. Although sometimes people like non-classical music because it makes them feel happy, classical music can keep you focused. The rhythm and melody of classical music– particularly because it often doesn’t have distracting lyrics– can increase the absorption capacity of the brain.

Does anybody know what the Mozart Effect is?

The Mozart Effect indicates that listening to Mozart’s music specifically can lead to improvement on mental tasks. The theory of the Mozart Effect links the cognitive performance of the brain to listening to music. The significance of all classical music in learning has gone a notch higher.

For instance, the establishment of websites such as is a perfect example of how easy it is to access music that helps us learn. On this website, there are downloadable music files that positively change the brain’s mood by activating brain cells.

Did you know that it is better for the brain to focus on classical music rather than background noise (Campbell, 44)? People’s laughing and speaking noise will make it difficult to concentrate at all– as we’ve all experienced whenever your class goes to the computer lab. It is also good to study in a noisy room with noise-cancelling headphones because they block the outside noise .

In addition to helping us block out distractions, music also reduces studying stress. Although we always tell ourselves to work hard, too much studying is not good for our health. However, listening to music can avoid this.

Students fail not because they don’t know the information or because they aren’t intelligent; it’s because they’re experiencing too much pressure and stress. Even the science has it right that too much of anything is dangerous, (Lamont, 233), and that includes studying.

For example, studying for two hours without relaxing is bad for you. For most people, including me, there are two ways that can help your brain relax. The first way is to take a break, but the best way is to listen to calm music, such as classical music or some light instrumental music, while you are studying. Music can keep you attentive when working.

At South, many students love listening to music while they are studying; I see students sometimes sitting outside the band room during B-block symphonic band, or chorus room. Professors in Stanford University of 2013 did some research on studying different subjects while listening to music. The research says that 90% of college students prefer listening to music when they are reading or writing paper. Always staring at books or reading webpages makes it easy for people to feel sleepy because you always stay in the same position– but music can help you keep awake.

Of course, music doesn’t always work for studying. 80% of students prefer not to listen to music when they do some math or science problems, and the reason is music will distract them from focusing on higher level thinking problems.

In summary, the valuable aspects of listening to music while learning outweigh the negative ones. First, music is an engine; it is a tool that provides you with motivation (Campbell, 33). The students that adopt this learning strategy tend to be focused in their academics; second, listening to classical or light instrumental music more than the upbeat popular music is beneficial because it can better help you focus.

Everyone should listen to classical music when they think they should, but trust me, for those people who don’t listen to music, you should really try– because once you try, you’ll never want to stop.