Does Listening to Music Help You Study?

Listening to music during study hours is normal for many people. Today's article will tell you what science has to say about it, so continue reading!
Does Listening to Music Help You Study?
Andrés Carrillo

Written and verified by the psychologist Andrés Carrillo.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

Listening to music is a tool that can enhance performance when studying, but you must take into consideration that not all people respond in the same way to auditory stimuli. Thus, people should be cautious.

For instance, some people require a quiet environment to concentrate on their studies while others need background music to improve their retentiveness.

How can listening to music help you study

The auditory learning style stimulates areas of the brain predisposed to the acquisition of knowledge. In other words, listening to music is useful if you have a facility for learning through sound. This is particularly true for learning a language.

Another important thing to take into account is the ability to concentrate. That is to say, not all people can do so at the same level. It’s natural for some to be able to study in a hectic environment while a minimal sound will interrupt another’s concentration.

Let’s examine the best ways to take advantage of music during study hours. Keeping in mind that everyone is different and those with an auditory learning style and hyperprosexia are more likely to benefit from it.

A woman listening to music.
Music doesn’t stimulate everyone the same way so some find it useful to study while others can’t concentrate on it.

1. Listening to music at moderate volume

The brain can focus on studying when listening to music at a moderate volume. In this case, it produces a relaxing effect that helps maintain continuity. Thue, the level of mental exhaustion decreases.

2. Classical music

Studies, such as one cited below, support the advantages of classical music when studying. Science promotes certain types of melodies so you may implement this method and see the results for yourself.

3. Have a playlist

Try to create a playlist to avoid long pauses. Indeed, the less you pause the study, the more effective it’ll be. A playlist should be at least two hours long.

Disadvantages of listening to music while studying

Not everything is favorable when it comes to listening to music while studying so there are some disadvantages. The following list contains the negative aspects of music during concentration hours.

1. It diverts the focus of attention

As you may already know, not all people can multitask. This means some must seek a silent environment to focus on their study. In short, the brain cannot ignore music.

2. Listening to music normalizes low productivity

Classical conditioning occurs when you get used to listening to music while you study. In short, study time becomes a conditioned stimulus for melodies. This means you’ll expect to have background music every time you study.

This conditioning affects productivity as you become dependent on music to study and you don’t give the brain a chance to focus.

3. Listening to music encourages unnecessary contact with devices

It’s common for people to listen to music through their mobile devices and use apps like YouTube to do so. This is a double-distracting factor.

Studies on the subject

The School of Medicine at Stanford University conducted one of the studies demonstrating the benefits of classical music for the brain in 2007. It revealed the following:

  • This kind of music promotes the retention and interpretation of information. This is because harmonious melodies at a moderate volume enhance a person’s concentration.
  • Classical music affects similar to that of a workout on the brain. Thus, listening to classical music during study time strengthens the brain areas that involve attention, interpretation, and event prediction.

These findings suggest that people who listen to this type of music while studying will do better in the academic area. This is because their brain acquires the ability to better interpret new information.

A more recent study, conducted in 2019, revealed that music activates the neural pleasure centers. It also reveals that people’s favorite music increases their motivation.

A musical instrument.
Scientific studies have evaluated the effect of classical melody on the brain, noting its power of brain stimulation.

Choosing the type of music to listen to while studying

Based on what we’ve said so far, we can apply some rules to better select music for studying. It’ll be necessary to maintain a moderate volume at all times so that the sound isn’t disturbing.

In addition, these effective tips will help you improve concentration:

  • Ideally, select a type of music that encourages intellectual ability such as classical music — as per the above studies.
  • In some cases, the topics of study won’t be new and you won’t be acquiring new information, only reinforcing existing information. You may select your favorite music if so.
  • Don’t play music with your cell phone as it forces you to keep it near and interact with it. This is counterproductive when you’re trying to concentrate.

Check out The Benefits of Music for Neurological Illnesses

When to opt for silence

Despite the advantages of listening to music while you study, there are times when you might need a silent environment to do it. As you know, any excess is harmful. In this case, you could become dependent on this system if you listen to music every time you study.

Finally, use music for the advanced stages of your study sessions, after you’ve already had a first approach with the subject. That means you should study in silence in the initial stages or when you need to fully concentrate.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Miriam Albusac Jorge. “La Música de Beethoven En La Investigación Fisiológica Del Electrocardiograma a La Imagen Por Resonancia Magnética.” Cuadernos de investigación musical 11 (2020): 216–244. Cuadernos de investigación musical. Web.
  • Cantú Cervantes, Daniel. “Revisión Sobre Los Efectos de Estudiar Con Música de Fondo y Sobre Los Efectos Del Entrenamiento Musical En El Aprendizaje.” Revista de Psicología y Ciencias del Comportamiento de la Unidad Académica de Ciencias Jurídicas y Sociales 11.2 (2020): 147–168. Revista de Psicología y Ciencias del Comportamiento de la Unidad Académica de Ciencias Jurídicas y Sociales. Web.
  • Mantilla, Sandra P. “Enfermedades neurológicas y problemas de atención.” Acta Neurol Colomb 22.2 (2006).
  • Reward prediction tells us less than expected about musical pleasure Rémi de FleurianPeter M. C. HarrisonMarcus  . PearceDavid R. Quiroga-Martinez 
  • Devarajan Sridharan, Daniel J. Levitin, Chris H. Chafe, Jonathan Berger, Vinod Menon, Neural Dynamics of Event Segmentation in Music: Converging Evidence for Dissociable Ventral and Dorsal Networks, Neuron, Volume 55, Issue 3, 2007, Pages 521-532, ISSN 0896-6273,

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.