Most students have not heard about this concept we call “learning styles.” But educators have studied most of the research on this topic, and they understand that students learn differently.
There are lots of aspects of learning styles. For example, some students learn best by what they see, while others learn better by what they hear. Another aspect of learning styles is the physical environment that different students prefer. Some need to be warmer, some cooler; some need isolation; some need to be around others. Some need quiet; others need background noise. In fact, having the right methods of learning and the right physical environment are factors in how to stay focused on homework.
Even with the research proving otherwise, an awful lot of people still believe that there is only one way to study – in a quiet, isolated environment, and sitting up, preferably at a desk or table.
One of the conflicts over study environments is about music. So, let’s look at some common questions and answers about listening to music while studying,
Effect of Listening to Music While Doing Homework
There have been a lot of research studies done on whether it is good to listen to music while doing homework. And most do point to a few benefits of listing to music while studying:
- You may know that your brain has two hemispheres – right and left. Each is responsible for different functions. Some research studies state that music activates both sides of the brain, and this helps students learn and remember better.
- Some studies report that music has a calming effect on students and reduces anxiety, especially when studying for tests.
- One study at Stanford University reported that music and memory are connected.
- Another study revealed that listening to music while studying can take a students’ mind off small irritants, like a minor headache or other aches and pains. This increases focus ability.
Is There Bad Music for Doing Homework?
Let’s start with the more general question: “is listening to music while doing homework bad?”
Some say so. We have often seen postings on our discussion boards from high school students who way, “My mom can’t let me listen to music while doing homework.” While this “rule” is pretty old school, it more often refers to loud music with lyrics or popular raps that students want to sing along to. This type of music does tend to make students lose focus because their brains’ memories are working on those lyrics rather than on what is being studied.
So, when a student is studying for a test, it is far better to have quieter music that has no lyrics.
There is also evidence that classical music, with no lyrics, even peppy classical music, can enhance a student’s mood and cause him to work on his homework better and faster.
It Looks Like the Type of Homework May Be a Factor Here Too
You have different types of homework. Sometimes you have to read a chapter in your text and maybe answer some questions afterward; sometimes, you are working on Math problems; sometimes, you are writing an essay; at other times, you are studying for a test and need to memorize a lot of information.
Some students say that listening to their favorite songs, even with lyrics and raps, helps them stay upbeat while doing some kinds of homework – math problems, for example.
Some students say that listening to quiet music without lyrics as a background helps them with reading, writing, and studying for tests.
So, playing music while doing homework helps keep your brain in shape, but the type of music will cause different reactions in your brain. Maybe you need a specific doing homework song or piece of music for each type of homework you do.
If you’re the type of student who believes he needs music for homework and studying, maybe you should do some experimentation yourself. Play different types of music as you do different types of homework, and see which makes you perform the best. Then develop a playlist based on your own findings. We’d love to see you post the results on our site. It might help other students, or at least create some great discussion.
Let’s Re-Cap Here
The question is this: is it OK to listen to music while doing homework?
The answer is the following.
All of you have different learning styles, and you have to figure out how to motivate yourself to do homework and what conditions are best for you. This only comes through trial and error, so try out different learning environments and see what works best for you.
For those who work best with music, there may be different types of music for different types of homework. Again, experiment on your own and figure it out for yourself.
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Posted by Diana B.