Music oh sweet music. What are the chances you are actually listening to something right now? Pretty high? Music plays a massive role in our life! The average spotify user listens to 148 mins of music a day! But did you know the role it can play on learning?

Does music improve learning?

Many of you may listen to or have listened to something before while studying for an exam, revising or maybe completing a long essay. It is a heavily debated topic as to whether music actually improves learning and increases the intake of information. Many articles have been written laying claim that it can alter the brain’s processing to process more information and help implant it into your memory.

“Music activates both the left and right brain at the same time, and the activation of both hemispheres can maximize learning and improve memory,” says Dr. Masha Godkin

However, there is also a lot of articles saying it actually doesn’t help and it could worsen leaning.  The reason they think it will worsen the learning process is because it will actually distract you from focusing on what you should be doing.  In this articles they discuss how in order to learn and retain information we often need to be absent of distractions. They beleive the best environments to learn are those that are silent and quite.

 

Mozart Effect

 

We don’t know  if it helps or hinders. There has not been enough research conducted and it’s also a difficult thing to measure. There is arguments that the myths of being able to learn better when listening to music came about because the Mozart effect. The Mozart effect is a term referring to the results of a study done in 1993 which claimed that “listening to Mozart‘s music may induce a short-term improvement on the performance of certain kinds of mental tasks known as “spatial-temporal reasoning;”[1]”.

If you’re going to listen to something what should you listen too?

It’s interesting to think that music could actually aid in your study and learning efforts. So if you personally like listening to something while learning and you find it works for you – what’s the advice?

So the general advice is classical is the best option as it could increase our mood and productivity. There has been research and many people including myself have felt the calming effect of classical music and it’s soothing notes. Advice of what not to listen to appears to be anything that is going to excite you. Also anything that has a beat, that  gets you dancing and tapping your feet. Also nothing that is super lyric heavy or you will be singing to your heart’s content.

Does music that relax you help?

There are a great deal of relaxing melodies and study playlists on YouTube which are a combination of gentle sounds and nature. A study by Health found that listening to nature sounds actually increased the physical and mental signs of relaxation, which in turn increases the your chance of learning. There has been new evidence in the study which looks closely at how the brain’s working memory functions when it’s exposed to different stimuli that relaxes it such as music. This is because if you are more relaxed you are likely to take in more information. “Our research shows that when memory-related neurons are well coordinated to theta waves during the learning process, memories are stronger,” said Adam Mamelak, a neurosurgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

The jury is still out on the effect of music and learning.  It’s fair to say that relaxation and focus is important. If you find that music does help you, you  are probably in a better state of mind to absorb information. It seems at the moment that everyone is different so keep doing what you find works for you.

How can you use music in your teaching?

If you are an educator/ teacher/course creator who and looking for a way to teach online. Then help your students by offering them varying  content types with HowNow. 

So if you teach music- music is pretty much a compulsory part of your lesson. However, if you teach something like financial management and  you  want to incorporate  this in because you really think it will help – by all means do. How? Well let’s say there are parts of your  course that are less engaging such as reading through some theory. You can upload an audio file for the learner to listen to while reading the text. This way, for those that think they learn better with music, have recommended music by you and for those that prefer silence can take this option. Your learners will be grateful and impressed you are trying to suit multiple learner types by giving them the extra resources to learn in the way they prefer.

To create your own online school, check out  HowNow.

 

You might also be interested in:

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