Student Voices: A High-Schooler’s Perspective Does Music Affect Your Ability To Study

One evening, I asked my Instagram followers (who were my friends) to vote on a poll which ultimately led to the creation of this blog article. As students, one main goal we have is to maximize the amount of information retained in our brains. And in order to do this, we take through different ways and supposed tricks in order to help us succeed in the field of studying. We’ve tried possibly every trick in the book: eating chocolate while studying and taking the same chocolate while taking an exam, studying right before and even while sleeping through audiobooks, even farfetched ones like keeping your open notebook under your pillow! However, today, I’m going to share what my research has found when it comes to the topic of music while studying. Are you ready? I hope you are because this is going to be interesting.

Several studies have been conducted by previous researchers and testers in the past, posting their findings on the spun web we all know and love: the Internet. That’s why at the end of this, I’m basing my conclusions off of the things I’ve read there.

Music in general is one of the factors that lead to a more positive life. It helps everyone drown down their emotions and equalize their feelings to those on the moods of the music. So I’m starting off with a big one here right now, and I’m telling you that music does induce positive moods which lead to better levels of productivity. Similar blog site Foundation Education has found that music creates moods and atmospheres to be enjoyed in different events and places. One of these, as you may have guessed, is in the process of studying. Specifically, music gives away calming and relaxing moods, which makes passive effects on the studying student’s mind, which leads to their relaxation, and finally their heightened focus. So, I guess, yes, music does help you focus. Which means music helps you study, right?

Wrong. While still vaguely similar, focus is still different from study and informative retention, so let’s go through some more evidences. But hey, at least we have a start now.

I’ve got some bad news for those of you hoping for a specific conclusion (one that literally means music helps you study). Another blog article coming from website Sites At Penn State contained test results which showed that music doesn’t help you study. Moreover, it showed that music doesn’t help you focus. Okay, let’s not get ahead of ourselves and the information we have. So let’s take a step back.

The University of Phoenix has stated that listening to music specifically with lyrics impairs your ability to do basic processes such as reading and writing. Moreover, doing these actions while listening to music is also said (by the same source) to decrease your IQ by ten points. Sheesh, that’s worrying, isn’t it? There’s more. Another study, this one held by the researchers at the University of Wales Institute, tested twenty-five students, each being given a list of things to memorize. They were questioned about it after they were put in different environments, all with different correlations to music. The study showed that the students who listened to music while studying did the absolute worst of the group, in contrast to the students who were given complete silence, who did the complete best of the whole group.

So now we’re left with another conclusion: does music really decrease your brainpower when it comes to studying and focusing? Oh, this is getting complicated.

But then we’re going to go ahead and throw in quotes from a Dr. Masha Godkin in an interview from the Northcentral University. She said, “Music activates both the left and right brain at the same time, and the activation of both hemispheres can maximize learning and improve memory.”

Okay. What?! In addition to this newly-collected information, the same website which gave this information (the site of Northcentral University) provided different tips to creating studying playlists. It consisted of factors to consider such as tempo, genre, environment, and volume. They are literally promoting the use of music within studying.

Even this is messing with my brain as I write this. Let’s put all we know on the table. I may need to remind you that there thousands of sites and ideas that held studies on this, uh, study, so I had to pick the most reliable ones for this. The prestigiousness of Foundation Education and Northcentral University help in the provisions of this information, both promoting and acknowledging the use of music while studying. On the other hand, though, we have the University of Phoenix discourages it, even holding tests and examinations in order to prove their point more. There are only two specific parties or groups here: the one which promotes the use of music, and the one that does the opposite. I can practically assure you that every single one of these sites, research items, evidences, facts, and the like fall into one of these two groups. And with them split at a 50/50 vote, which party are we supposed to believe?

I’m assuming you came here for concrete answers, and I aim to give that to you. My advice, to try both ways when studying. Try it with music, try it in silence, do which one fits you best. Not only are you going to benefit from your personal examinations like this, but you would also be helping the scientific community. Before I end it, I’d also like to give my personal insight on this topic. I believe that music does not help in studying. In fact, I’m saying it does the opposite, impairing and destroying your ability to focus. I personally cannot get stuff done with music or any other noise playing, and so that’s my take on this topic. But you do you, reader. I’m also assuming that you won’t be scrolling through the thousands of articles based on this topic, so I’ll give my conclusion right now.

I think it depends on the person. Personally, I don’t see the biggest difference when other people study with music and with silence, but everyone’s bound to be different. The test that I said was conducted between the twenty-five people are surely not the same. There are so many other factors to include, person’s interest and willpower in given topic, amount of items given, et cetera. The best thing that we can do is to try it ourselves. So go try it yourself. Until next blog!

Jon Zaccary C. Regala, Grade 10

Shayan Fareed

Shayan Fareed

Shayan Fareed is an Undergraduate Ambassador for StEPS who recently graduated from Warwick Business School with a BSC in Management. Prior to that, he completed his A Levels at the prestigious Aitchison College. During his time at the University of Warwick, Shayan cherished the vibrant campus life and considered it his home for the past three years, leaving behind fond memories as he moves on to new endeavors.

Faiza Omar

Faiza Omer

Faiza Omer has a Masters in Finance from Punjab University. She is a highly experienced Communication Coordinator with excellent leadership and project management skills. She is skilled in crafting engaging content for various platforms and managing internal and external communications. Faiza has received several certificates and awards, demonstrating her proficiency in teamwork, customer service, and administrative expertise. As Communication Coordinator at StEPS, she successfully leads and manages multiple client projects. Prior to this, she worked at DNATA Emirates Group, providing passenger services and coordinating flight operations.

Rida Fatima

Rida Fatima

With experience in education management and administration, Rida takes the lead in handling university applications and follow-up protocols.

Wasim Hashmi Syed

Wasim Hashmi Syed

Mr Wasim Hashmi Syed, Senior Advisor, Professional Development and Transnational Education.Mr Wasim Hashmi Syed has over twenty years of visionary experience in initiating and leading educational initiatives with tangible outcomes, creating international linkages, and providing development opportunities for Pakistani youth under the country’s vision 2025. He has been involved in various government and foreign-funded projects, including monitoring research and development projects in IT and engineering.

As an Advisor and Consultant at the Higher Education Commission (HEC), he managed programs aimed at increasing the number of PhD faculty, providing scholarships for students, and fostering collaboration with foreign universities. Additionally, he oversaw the monitoring of research and development projects and played a key role in policy development for higher education institutions. He established collaboration with  more than 30 international foreign universities and organizations. He played a significant role in launching and overseeing scholarship programs and initiatives related to information and communication technology.

He also served as an Advisor International Linkages at Pak-Austria Fachhochschule Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology Haripur, he had engaged in obtaining charter for Institute from HEC and PEC.

In his role as General Manager Monitoring/Projects at the National ICT R&D Funds (IGNITE), he monitored numerous technical projects funded by academia and local industry.

Mr. Hashmi obtained his Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from University of Engineering Technology Lahore. He also holds MS in Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management, from the University of Louisville Kentucky USA, and a Ph.D. (in progress) in Transport Engineering University of Hasselt Belgium.

Zeeshan Riaz

Zeeshan Riaz

Zeeshan Riaz is an internationally experienced consultant with over 25 years of proven track record with comprehensive experience of advising corporate, higher education, consulting and training institutions.

Zeeshan leads the business development, international brand building and student recruitment initiative in the region for StEPS partner institutes.

Zeeshan has extensive experience in corporate strategy and development in Europe, Middle East and Asia, working in a range of industries with extensive involvement in Green-Field and Public & Private partnership development projects.

Which provides a unique platform with in-depth knowledge of the global job market to advice on career growth and educational pathways for professionals and students.

After primary education from Smedstad School in Oslo, Norway, he pursued higher education from Norway, Pakistan and UK in Computer Science with Business Management followed by MBA specialising in marketing.

He is a UK certified Clinical Therapist and British Council certified Trainer of Trainers (TOT).

Saima Asghar Riaz

Saima is a TESOL qualified Warwick Alumna, with over two decades of experience in student counseling, teaching, teacher training, and English language assessment. She has been representing her alma mater for international student admissions since 1998, and has successfully supported hundreds of students with their university, scholarship and job applications globally. As a certified DiSC and ‘How Women Rise’ coach, she supports professionals in bringing about workplace improvements through behavioral change.

Saima is a British Council trained and certified IELTS professional and has taught English at The University of Warwick, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Kinnaird College for Women, and the Virtual University of Pakistan. She has trained educational professionals at Kinnaird College, Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) and the Ali Institute of Education, and has been a consultant trainer for the Punjab Judicial Academy for development of soft skills of district judiciary and judicial staff of the Lahore High Court.

With extensive experience in education management and administration, Saima has been the Founding Director for the Directorate of Faculty Development & Internationalisation (DFDI) at LCWU, and successfully launched a Faculty Development Centre as well as Pakistan’s first university-level mandatory Citizenship programme in collaboration with the British Council. She was thus responsible for supporting the enhancement of teaching and research capability of Asia’s largest women’s university, creating linkages with local and international partners, enabling students in social entrepreneurship projects, and raising the university profile on an international academic platform.

She is a member of the board of Advisors at the Pakistani Schools in Fujairah and Ras Alkhaimah and of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital Lahore.