Student study playlist debate: exploring how music affects college productivity 

By Myia Merriman

 Student Reporter

One aspect of college most students are familiar with is studying.  There exist many thoughts and opinions on the best strategies, but one common habit many students have is listening to  music to help them study.

“Some students need the background noise to actually pay attention to what is happening right in front of them, while others need no music because it distracts them from what they are learning,” Dr. Beth Rodriguez, faculty coordinator of the Psychology Department, said. 

In Nicky Davis’ 2015 study titled, “Is it Good to Listen to Music While Studying?” her findings suggested music could be effective in reducing stress and anxiety while studying. 

Furthermore, the study also found that listening to music while studying helps to improve the listener’s overall focus.  “When I study, I like to listen to classical music, it makes me feel more productive while doing homework and studying,” Chase Cooke, an education major, said.

Given how people engage with music, there may be subconscious aspects as to why people listen to music while trying to study.   “Sometimes, if we can put the material to a tune we are more likely to remember the material,” Rodriquez said. “Think about the songs you know all the words to. If you really need to remember something, you should write a song or put the information into your favorite song tune.”

Rodriguez explained how listening to music helps some students with memorizing study materials. “The tune and music can evoke emotion. The more intense the emotion, the better the memory,” she said.

Rodriguez also said that there are some disadvantages when it comes to listening to music while studying. Some students find it stressful and it’s harder for them to concentrate on their work.  

Fire Protection Technology major, Kaleb Thomas, said he can’t listen to music while studying. “I feel it’s very distracting while I’m trying to focus and not stress about if I’m going to pass my exam,” he said.

According to Rodriguez, whatever genre of music students use to study is ultimately their preference, but the type of music students listen to while studying matters. When reading a textbook or writing a paper, students should consider listening to music with fewer lyrics to ensure maximum concentration. 

“Some rat studies have shown that music does enhance learning, but not heavy metal music, it seems to enrage the rats,” Rodriguez said.

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