Midterms may have come and gone, allowing you to take a moment to breathe but finals are looming near and fast approaching. With around 6 weeks left of the semester, it’s time to mentally get into “hyper-focused” mode. Although there are many techniques and strategies that assist you in keeping your concentration, listening to music can be a way to increase academic performance. Ever heard of the “Mozart effect” (Rauscher et. al, 1993)? The study conducted by researchers Rauscher et. al (1993) revealed that by listening to Mozart for around 10 minutes, subjects were able to significantly improve their spatial reasoning skills. In addition, according to other and more recent researchers, “listening to a pleasant music while performing an academic test helped students to overcome stress due to cognitive dissonance, to devote more time to more stressful and more complicated tasks and the grades were higher” (Cabanac, et. al, 2013).
Of course, you might not get beautiful sonatas to listen to while taking your exams, but this a nice strategy to use while studying. At the very least, it could help with decreasing stress levels. Spotify is a free music radio app that can be downloaded from their website for any electronic device (laptop, phone, tablet). Once it’s downloaded, create your own playlist with any type of music that you think will help you stay focused. Or you can go into the “browse” section and click on pre-ready made “Focus” playlists. Whatever your taste may be, you might find it. There are playlists titled from “Electronic Study Music” to “Epic All Nighters”. Who doesn’t want a soundtrack to their life and why not even during the times of intense academic work? Here are some of my favorites:
Fig. 1: General “Focus” playlist page. Scroll down this page within the app to find a playlist you like.
Fig. 2: The “Peaceful Piano” playlist have some of the most relaxing piano pieces for when you are working at a slower and calmer pace.
Fig. 3: The “Cello 50” playlist is a powerful collection of some of the most celebrated cello pieces. This helps me focus but also stay pumped and motivated to keep studying/writing.
Cabanac, A., Perlovsky, L., Bonniot-Cabanac, M., & Cabanc, M. (2013). Music and academic
performance. Behavioral Brain Research. Volume 256:1. Pgs. 257-260.
Rauscher, F.H., Shaw, G.L., Ky, K.N. (1993). Music and spatial task performance. Nature. Oct
Staff Writer: Victoria Gill