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The Trinity Voice

The student news site of Trinity Preparatory School

The Trinity Voice

The student news site of Trinity Preparatory School

The Trinity Voice

Studying with Songs


   As senior Koray Tekin sits down to memorize his AP French oral, he turns on some of his favorite rap music to listen to while he studies. After about 10 minutes he cannot seem to focus on memorizing his speech. 

   “When I am trying to memorize stuff or I am trying to read, I feel like the lyrics just get in the way because sometimes I find myself starting to sing along to the lyrics instead of focusing on the words of a page,” Tekin said. “Instead, I will either put on lo-fi music or classical music with no lyrics in it.”

   Tekin’s explanation for this lack of focus is backed up by a 2019 study by the University of Wollongong Australia. According to the findings, listening to lyrical music can significantly decrease your comprehension when trying to memorize something. It is shown that the least disruptive music genres for studying include classical, instrumental rock and ambient/chill music. 

   “If you are a student who is just miserable without studying with music, then the research is pretty clear that instrumental music is better to listen to than music where someone is singing and there’s words that can alter your focus,” AP psychology teacher Donna Walker said. 

   Many people listen to music they like to improve their mood or help them focus on a task at hand. A study called the “Blur Effect” had a group of students listen to the popular britpop band Blur and another group of students listen to Mozart before taking a spatial test. The results concluded that the students who listened to the popular pop music did better on the test than the students who listened to Mozart simply because they liked the pop music more than Mozart. 

   “When I am doing math problems or writing an essay, I do listen to rap because it is my favorite genre of music and something about it just helps me get through my homework efficiently,” Tekin said. 

   Tekin is not alone in preferring to listen to music in only certain subjects. A Trinity Voice survey found that 73.5% of respondents listened to music while studying for math, compared to only 40.5% of students who listen to music while studying for world languages. 

   There are a variety of combinations and subjects where listening to music is utilized, but for some students such as senior Thomas Kienle, listening to no music at all, seems to work the best for studying. 

  “I normally do not listen to any music while studying or doing homework because I feel like it takes my focus away from the work that I have to do and puts it on the music instead,” Kienle said. “I have learned this from experience because I have tried to listen to music while doing school work and usually I get little to nothing done.” 

   While researchers have discussed all of the different benefits and drawbacks of listening to music while studying, at the end of the day the choice is on the student. 

   “Research has demonstrated that studying with music for most people is actually detrimental, which is why I would suggest to students that they should try studying without music and give it a try for at least two tests to see how they do,” Walker said. 

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About the Contributor
Boaz Kim, Fact Checking Editor
Boaz Kim is a senior who holds the role of fact-checking editor. Kim writes for the lifestyles department and enjoys playing basketball outside of school. As a hobby, Kim is passionate about working out as he is also on the weightlifting team. Kim also enjoys walking his dog, Toby. Contact him at [email protected].

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