Music and the process of learning is a popular issue discussed by students, parents, teachers and so on. I noticed early on that learning together with music is not really appreciated or taken for granted by most adults. But I just could not stop somehow singing when doing maths work. It was like a curse. I was there at my table, working out the solution to an algebra exercise and humming some tune I heard on the radio the other day. My mother always asked me if I would concentrate properly…and I had to admit that I did not notice that I was humming or whistling a song.
Later on, I read that music is a distraction (and only a distraction!) in the learning process in a “How to learn properly” booklet I was presented with from my school. I was a bit crestfallen, because I always thought that classical music was said to be stimulating to the mind and therefore is a good thing to listen to while one is studying.
Today, I see this thing a bit different. Yes, there are times where I need absolute silence. That depends on my mood and on the subject I have to learn. But sometimes I even need some music to get started, especially with writings. When I get stuck in one of my papers, I turn on some music and my blockade dissolves into nowhere. I prefer instrumental and classical music, because any music with text or singing will distract me (except Renaissance vocal music, Gregorian chants and similar things – in which I will not be able to understand the lyrics anyway and which have a relaxed sound to them). My favorites at the moment are Mozarts Requiem¹ and the soundtracks to A Beautiful Mind and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone.
¹That sounds a bit awkward – listening to a sad piece of music when learning, I know. But really, it is great to study with!