College students love multitasking. We also love music. It would make sense, then, that most of us enjoy listening to some type of music when were studying or doing homework.
Having music on in the background makes the task at hand feel a little less stressful and serious. It can have a calming effect while keeping us focused, or it can provide motivation by pumping us up.
Music choices can vary depending on what kind of student or person you are. Here is a list of the types of music popular among college students while they are getting their work done.
Some students prefer music of the classical genre when studying or completing assignments for class. This type of music can be calming and great to have on in the background with any given task at hand.
If youre the type of student who cant focus while there is music with lyrics playing, try out classical music. There will be no distraction from words, and it can have an extremely soothing effect.
Start with the Exam Study Classical Music playlist on Spotify for a variety of classical music by historically renowned composers.
On the other end of the spectrum is the hip-hop/rap genre. Students who already favor this genre outside of studying may choose to listen to it while getting their work done. Just as it might have a similar effect at the gym, hip-hop/rap gets the student pumped and ready to be productive and successful.
It also keeps the student awake and attentive, something essential for studying and getting homework done. Find a station of the genre on Pandora, playlists on Spotify, or search your favorite songs on YouTube.
A happy medium between classical and hip-hop/rap is the genre of electronic. Its calming like classical, and there usually arent lyrics. Its like hip-hop in the way that it pumps you up. The beats and tempos are a bit quicker, but its not as generally overwhelming as hip-hop/rap while youre trying to study.
Try Past is Prologue by Tycho, Cirrus by Bonobo, Loud Pipes by Ratatat and Spirit of Life by Blackmill.
4. Rock/light rock
If youre a rock fan of any type, you might naturally enjoy this genre while studying. It can pump you up depending on what artist or band youre listening to. It can be calming while motivating at the same time.
Some students might enjoy having classic rock on in the background, while others prefer heavy metal to get them pumped and keep them alert while theyre working.
Another alternative within this genre is rock or light rock without lyrics for those students who get too distracted by the words in songs when theyre trying to focus. Great artists for this preference are RJD2 and El Ten Eleven. Start with Ghostwriter by RJD2 and My Only Swerving by El Ten Eleven, and build playlists from there.
A step up from electronic (just a tad more intense) is EDM Electronic Dance Music. This genre has gotten more and more popular among young audiences over the past few years along with EDM festivals across the U.S.
This genre is what would be considered the ultimate pump-up music. If its late at night, you feel yourself getting tired and you really feel like you need some study motivation, EDM is your best bet. You definitely wont fall asleep, especially if you are listening to it loud. If you focus enough on the task at hand while listening to this type of music, youll stay alert and attentive to be as productive as possible.
Put on an EDM station on Pandora, or search EDM playlists on Spotify or YouTube.
6. Top hits
If youre not a huge music aficionado, that is you dont have a ton of favorite artists, bands or genres, but you cant study or do homework without some type of background noise, you might just enjoy top hits. Theyre whats on the radio, so youre most likely familiar with a lot of the songs.
Some college students just like to have some kind of sound going on in the background because its hard for them to focus with complete silence. Even if you dont have specific preferences when it comes to your music, you’ll most likely enjoy top hits.
Start with a top hits station on Pandora, or by searching top songs on YouTube that youve heard recently to get yourself going. Spotify also has a charts section under the browse tab where you can choose between Global Top 50, United States Top 50, United States Viral 50 and Global Viral =
Alexandra Brown writes for Uloop, a leading college news and college classifieds resource for student housing, jobs and internships, roommates and sublets, tutors and scholarships, study abroad, test prep, and local services for college students.
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I have always wondered how people can concentrate while watching TV or listening to music. When I am studying, I need silence to concentrate, otherwise I do not retain information and I am unable to think to my best ability. My sister on the other hand has always been a great student, and she told me that she couldn’t study or do homework without the music on. When I heard this I was shocked because I didn’t think it was possible to be better at something while multitasking rather than concentrating solely on one thing. In 9th grade, I had a teacher who played classical music when we took exams, thinking this would be beneficial. People have different views on this topic, but I cannot seem to understand how multitasking (listening to music while completing a task such as homework) can be better than focusing on one thing at a time.
When you listen to music with lyrics, you are activating language-processing centers of the brain. This means that while you are trying to concentrate on one thing, you may not even realize it but you are also concentrating on the lyrics to the song you are listening to. This can cause confusion and can lead to less concentration and difficulty retaining information.
I decided to take this matter into my own hands. I went down to our Penn State school library and asked a bunch of students with their headphones in, why they listened to music while they were studying. One student, Olivia, said “because it makes me relaxed and when I am relaxed I can focus better on my studies”. This was the only response that seemed logical to me. I then asked her if she knew that, through studies, it was shown that you retain less information while listening to music, if she would still continue to do so while doing work? She replied Yes, because I personally think it helps me.
For people, such as Olivia, who feel that music helps them relax, there are other alternatives to help soothe you than listening to music during your homework/study time. Perham explains that you should listen to music before getting to work, to engage whats known as the arousal and mood effect. If you hare happy before you get to work, studies have shown that this can lead to positive results in studying and completing assignments.
Lastly, there has been a study done referred to as the “Mozart Effect” which is “a set of research results indicating that listening to Mozarts music may induce a short-term improvement on the performance of certain kinds of mental tasks known as ‘spatial-temporal reasoning’”. Listening to music without lyrics has a positive effect on your study habits, which is how the Mozart Effect was founded. If you are the kind of person who thinks that they cannot complete a task without listening to music, try switching to Mozart, or any other classical form of music without lyrics. Although the studies say that listening to Mozart while studying will help improve your grades, I personally feel that I benefit from silence; you need to enjoy what you are listening to and complete your own miniature study to see what is right for you. I have realized that what my 9th grade teacher was trying to do was implement the Mozart Effect on us. Even though it was distracting to me, it improved the classes scores on tests overall.
Studying while listening to music is not beneficial when there are lyrics because it activates the language-processing centers of the brain but listening to music without lyrics can be quite beneficial to some people. What works for you?