The kids are going back to school and one thing every parent can’t help but notice is that they love to have music with them wherever they go. It really begs the question though, does listening to music help or hurt when it comes to concentration? Does music help you study?
Well in a recent study by the University of Phoenix titled “Should you listen to music while studying?“, the answer was a resounding…maybe. There was also a similar study done in 2012 by Mind the Science Gap with similar nebulous results.
What it really seems to boil down to is:
- Does the music have lyrics? – Lyrics require your brain to engage in decoding the meaning, thereby distracting you from the task of studying.
- Is the music your preferred style or something you don’t care for as much? While the official test results showed little difference between music we like versus music we don’t like that much there may be some benefit to lyric-less music that we like. So the trick is to find music without lyrics that you can really get into you. With any luck you may get to experience the Mozart Effect.
- What is the Mozart Effect? It has been postulated that listening to Mozart may induce a short-term improvement on the performance of certain kinds of mental tasks know as spatial-temporal reasoning.
The bottom line is that you may not be able to recreate the atmosphere of the public library for your child to study in while they’re at home, but perhaps a few good suggestions as to music selection might tip the scale in their favor. A good suggestion is to try movie soundtracks. Many of them are current sounding with no lyrics. Here is an example from the movie Inception starring Leonardo DiCaprio called #12 Time by Hans Zimmer. Then again, there is always Mozart.
If you are looking at music with a much younger crowd you should definitely check out Mom Loves Best for some really insightful information about the benefits of music and your little ones.
Another great resource is Smart Parent Advice. They cover important benefits of music for your children such as enhancing their mood, literacy, gross motor and math skills. They also provide tips on how to incorporate music into your child’s daily routine.
Life really would be a mistake without music.