When it comes to studying, music is a mixed blessing. Whether in middle school, high school, college, or in professional school, there will always be people who study with their headphones in. Here’s the burning question I sometimes ask myself when I listen to music: Is it worth listening to? Is the music stimulating my brain, making me happy, and preventing me from falling asleep? Or is it distracting or causing me to zone out? And when I know it’s distracting me: Is this worth putting off studying for? These are some of the questions you should ask yourself seriously from time to time to make sure that music isn’t a distraction in your academic life.
My advice: Figure out what music is not worth listening to while studying, and be honest with yourself (good music definitely doesn’t mean good studying!). Also, a rule of thumb I’ve developed is: Only listen to music if you’re about to fall asleep. Maybe this rule will work for you; if not, find your own rule based on your priorities and stick by it.
Whenever I listen to pop, metal, folk, country, etc. I almost instinctively tab to a different web page on the internet and browse away, forgetting about the engineering problem set in front of my nose. Whenever I listen to drum and bass, or techno, I start thinking about video games or jogging around Rice Unviersity. Sadly, classical music either puts me to sleep, or distracts me with a piano, cello, or trumpet solo being performed. After years of high school experimenting with what music I studied with best, I finally found the optimal kind of study music for myself: Rock music with no guitar solo, very little lyrics, on loop. The song “Soon” by My Bloody Valentine is a song worth checking out if you want know what kind of music I listen to while studying. Hopefully, you will be able to find the music that suits you best (if any at all). If not, then studying with coffee and without music may be your best bet.
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