The Mozart Effect: How music helps studying and retention

the-mozart-effect-listening-to-music-while-studyingSome studies have shown that listening to music before studying or performing a task can be beneficial. Music not only improves attention and memory, it can even enhance your ability to do mental math!

Quiet and contemplative? Or energizing and invigorating?

But, which type of music you listen to while studying is crucial.

In The Impact of Listening to Music on Cognitive Performance, author Arielle S. Dolegui explains, “Many students choose to listen to a preferred genre of music when they study or do their homework without understanding the potential harmful effects of such practice. A study conducted by Smith and Morris (1977) addressed this question by studying the effects of sedative and stimulative music.”

The study found that participants who listened to sedative music performed better than participants who listened to simulative music. Maybe more surprisingly, those students who listened to stimulative music actually performed worse than those who listened to no music at all!

This study indicates that stimulative music is a strong distractor and obstructs cognitive processing.

Skip the rap, country and rock. The classical effect!

University research in France, published in Learning and Individual Difference, recently found that listening to classical music while studying can actually help students score higher on tests.

According to research from the Duke Cancer Institute, listening (to Bach, in this case) can help to lessen anxiety.

It seems, however, that only classical music has this affect. Similar studies involving other types of music, from jazz, to rock, did not produce similar results.

The takeaway: Studying to music and using effective study skills

Each student has a preferred study method. Some enjoy music. Some do not. But, if you plan to listen while you still, crank up the Mozart… at least for a while, and don’t forget to bone up on your study skills!

Study skills are a collection of techniques that children of all ages can use to become more successful in school, and ultimately, in life. And, study skills can be learned. Since 1985, Back to Basics Learning Dynamics has offered 1-on-1 study skill instruction for kids of all ages.

An investment in education is an investment in the future.  
Since 1985, Back to Basics Learning Dynamics has been the undisputed leader in 1-on-1 tutoring in Delaware and southeastern Pennsylvania for over 60 subjects for children and adults, including 1-on-1 SAT/ACT/Praxis Prep, as well as translating and interpreting in 21 languages, homebound services, RTI support, and psycho-educational testing.  For more information, please contact Back to Basics at 302-594-0754.
Back to Basics operates a unique Department of Education-approved 1-on-1 K-12 Private School in Wilmington, Delaware. For more information about Delaware’s only Department of Education approved 1-on-1 private school, please call us at 302-594-0685.
Photo by nenetus and FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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