Music On My Mind

Music has been around for thousands of years, dating back to 18000 BC. Some of the greatest minds play music. Albert Einstein was said to not speak in full sentences until he was 5, and he learned to play the violin at the age of 6. Studies have shown that music produces several positive effects on the human body and brain. Music activates both the left and right brain at the same time, and the activation of both hemispheres can maximize learning and improve memory. With the end of the semester, many students may be getting very anxious or stressed. The University of Maryland Medical Center reveals that students should listen to music.

Music is an effective stress reducer in both healthy individuals and people with health problems. Research finds that listening to soothing music can decrease blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety levels in heart patients (UMD Medical Center). For every three teens in the US, one has a form of anxiety. The most common types of anxiety are related to school and work. When working on a project or going to the library, “one study found that music’s effect on anxiety levels is similar to the effect of getting a massage” (Christ). This brain massage that helps lower stress can help result in fewer headaches and more focus while studying, so you may want to consider popping in some earbuds before taking on any assignments. 

When talking to students and teachers around AGS, I found that many believe that music is beneficial to learning, whether because it was helping students focus or putting them in a better mood. Caroline (6th grade) says she enjoys listening to soft, quiet, happy songs to make her feel better while she works. Meanwhile, 7th grader Peanut found that listening to violin covers helps her focus. When working and listening to music everyone has very different tastes, but certain styles of music have been proven to help with learning. Classical music has a mind-boosting effect that helps with mathematics. The sounds of nature keep your brain engaged. Songs without lyrics are a great choice when reading and writing. Brian Eno’s Music for Airports, chill-out electronic music for serious studying and deep concentration, is also a great choice. All of these types of music are very different, but they can help individuals learn. 

There are many tips for listening to music while learning. First, create a playlist in advance so you’re not fumbling to find a new song every few minutes. Try to keep your playlist to around 40-50 minutes to remind you to take a study break when it’s over. Avoid listening to the radio because commercial breaks can be distracting. Also, listening to music at a moderate volume is best. Make sure to choose what type of music is best for you based on how you learn best. 

Everyone learns very differently, so the music they listen to while studying tends to vary. The teachers at AGS recognize this. Teacher Ms. Michalak says, “I do use music to get through various tasks throughout my day, however, I can’t listen to music with words when I am trying to understand or engage in the text. I understand that my students have different learning styles and claim that music helps them focus when doing work, however, I lose faith in that when I watch them singing along with the song instead of analyzing the meaning of the words written in the Declaration of Independence.” When listening to music, according to 8th grader Marley, lyrics can be very distracting. This shows how teachers and students share the idea that music can sometimes be harmful to learning, so students need to know what music helps them learn best without becoming distracted. 

When learning, people use lots of tactics to help them, like chewing gum or setting up a study schedule. Those may work well for some students, but music has been around for hundreds of years to help keep young minds learning. Next time you are studying, try listening to something new, experiment, see what works best for you. 


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