Concentrate with Music?

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!

Credits Featured Image:  “Music” by wharman . Uploaded on flickr.com. Some Rights Reserved.

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About Dana Winvalley

I am an 18-year-old student of English and German at university. I love music, books, dogs, art and other things, as well. In my spare time I write this blog to refine my English skills and to share my learning experiences and tips with other (language) learners.

2 comments

  1. People always look at me in a weird way when I tell them that I study while listening to music… I don’t know why, I just think that it is one of those widespread ideas that it has to be silent in order to study well. One of my teachers of English, though, told me that everyone studies in a different way: while for some the system of merely reading and underlining important words works perfectly, others might find that it’s easier to study when they use a different method. I forgot what the names of all four main learning techniques were, but I do remember that hearing was one of them. Some people who prefer that technique for example read their text out loud in order to remember the content better, or they listen to music while studying so that they can learn better. I guess it’s different for everyone, each and every student should just find out what learning technique they are most comfortable with :)

    • I totally agree with you. Those learning methods are (I believe) hearing, reading, and communicating. But I cannot remember them properly right now. But yes, one can learn things through different ‘channels’. It is said that learning the same thing with different methods helps memorizing it. :)
      But really, if someone found the perfect way to study, this person should be allowed to study in this way.

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