If there is one thing that is very influential in almost every human’s life, it’s music. There are over 1000 genres of music in the world, with a genre for every kind of occasion.
Music, it’s been long-established, has positive impacts on our brains. Studies have shown that music improves brain function, reduces stress and pain, as well as symptoms of depression. It also helps in better cognitive and motor skills.
So while you study, it’s a great idea to listen to music.
Question is, what’s the best genre to listen to?
Let’s find out.
Table of contents:
What kind of music is best for studying?
Instrumental music is a genre where music is recorded without vocals. If you consider video games or other entertainment media, you might notice that these contain plenty of instrumental music scattered throughout. This is because instrumental music can help us to concentrate and keep us absorbed in that activity. The same way, instrumental music can also help us to focus on what we are doing. Due to the lack of lyrics, instrumental music doesn’t command too much of your attention while subtly improving your mood as it progresses.
One of the most misunderstood genres of music is Jazz. Most people seem to think that jazz is just a bunch of musicians trying to outdo each other in terms of being loud but in reality, jazz musicians have to improvise as much as possible, which can lead to complicated riffs! Listening to jazz music can foster critical thinking. It also improves brain function, mood, memory, and reduces stress. It is also known to activate beta waves, the brainwave associated with focus and concentration, which can improve one’s ability to concentrate on things at hand.
As the name suggests, electronic music employs the use of digital instruments to create music or ambient sounds through electronic and electromechanical means. It is the parent style of the highly popular EDM genre, which is popular for its rhythmic and high-energy music that is used primarily in social settings. With the development of computer software capable of creating music electronically, more artists have begun to produce electronic music since the 2000s. Some of the best songs to listen to while studying or working are from the electronic genre due to its consistent rhythms and tempos that allow our brains to adhere to definite patterns.
Lo-fi isn’t a genre per se. It is more of a musical style where certain sounds that are considered imperfections in recordings such as degraded audio signals and fluctuations in the speed of the tape used in recording, are generally added on purpose for aesthetic qualities. In most of today’s music streaming platforms, there are dedicated artists who create lo-fi music that helps people to relax, meditate, focus or even recover. Although lo-fi has been in existence for more than 40 years, it has become a highly popular style of music since the 2010s where “downtempo” music is being tagged as “lo-fi hip hop”. Lo-fi is also being used in modifications that change the way an original song sounds. Lo-fi is being touted to be very effective when it comes to helping students to focus on studying.
Various studies have shown that listening to classical music while studying or working can greatly improve the learning ability and focus required to do something. Research has been carried out to understand the effect that classical music has on learning and one study even goes to show that students who listened to classical music during a lecture had a better learning curve when compared to those that didn’t. “Mozart effect” is a theory that shows that listening to Mozart’s composition can improve one’s ability to concentrate. But recent studies have suggested that it wasn’t Mozart after all. Listening to any kind of classical music is supposed to have a positive effect on our brains!
Does it have to be music?
Not necessarily. There is something called” ambient noise” that can also be played while one studies. Ambient noise is generally considered to be a secondary sound in the background that could be the sound of sea waves, thunder, rain, trees rustling, wind, bioacoustics produced by animals, or even white noise. Research has shown that ambient noise is very helpful when it comes to helping people relax or be mindful. Isochronic tones are single frequencies that fluctuate between high and low rapidly. This is known to activate brain functions and improve performance. Often, it isn’t the kind of music that influences the way we study but the way it is played. Music that is played at an optimal volume is bound to have a better effect on our brains when compared to loud music that clouds our ability to think. In the end, what works for one may not necessarily work for another. Therefore, your choice of music matters the most.