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Stephen McKenna, a visual artist known for his post-modern figurative paintings once exclaimed, “All good is gained by those whose thought and life are kept pointed close to one main thing, not scattered abroad upon a thousand.”

It is better not to begin a task than to leave it incomplete. A task done without concentration holds no value. Studying seems to be one of the most boring and procrastinated tasks to the ones who are intended to do it. On the other hand, one of the most relaxing things that children these days feel is listening to music. While travelling, while watching TV or while reading, a set of ear plugs and a music play list is all that is required to keep away from stress. They say, what words fail to express is said by music.

Listening to music is one of the tasks that can be easily carried out with any other task. Just like showpieces enhance the visual appeal of a space, music makes time worthwhile. Music is a very significant part of our daily lives; the image of the quietly-focused student isolating themselves into a personal study zone has led to interest into whether listening to music actually helps studies or not. Research into the field has proven fairly ambiguous, with many studies contradicting each other. However this does provide a useful insight for students who maybe looking into ways to use music to enhance their exam performance.

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What does Science have to say?

Adults might question their children on their choice of listening to music while studying but it is a scientifically proven fact that music helps relieve stress and improves concentration. As per a study published in “Scientific Reports,” listening to music you like could help you focus better on the task at hand. Researchers from the Wake Forest School of Medicines and University of North Carolina Greensboro recruited 21 young adults to check this claim. They placed people in an MRI scanner and played songs from different genre to entertain them. The results were unexpected. When the research subjects listened to their favourite songs, they were better connected to a part of the brain called the Default Mode Network, also known as DMN. This network affects the way humans react to the music they are listening to and their self- referential thoughts.

When we listen to the music we enjoy, it makes us happy. The feel-good factor is due to the changes in neurological activity in the brain. By listening to a preferred genre or a favourite song, people feel stress-free and remain calm. When the DMN is active, you do not focus on what’s happening in the physical world around you — you’re just using internal stimuli, like memories and your imagination.

Increased efficiency

Music is helpful when the task is clearly defined and repetitive in nature. While doing practical tasks, music increases the speed of work and also the quality of the work done, thus improving the efficiency of human resource. For example, assembly line workers show signs of increased happiness and efficiency while listening to music. Music with discordant tones has no impact on productivity, but soft tunes have better results.

The right kind of music can help relax your mind and increase concentration. It plays a major role in studying, doing homework, etc. It reduces distractions and improves focus. Music helps boost motivation when starting a new task.

Type of music

It is beneficial to listen to something you are familiar with for focusing intensely on your project. With familiar music, you know what you are going to listen to and expect the same noise range. If you need to focus on a complicated and new task, the same kind of tunes might help. New music is surprising, so you will have to pay attention to which song comes next and might lose interest in your work. If your task requires a lot of concentration, then listen to repetitive music to not get distracted. Researchers recommend listening to instrumental music if you want to hear music while working.

For instance, Classical music is a popular choice. It does not include lyrics and is the finest form of art. As per recent studies, it is proven that classical music has a measurable impact on productivity. However, not all classical songs have delicate sounds. So, one must choose the tracks carefully.

Listening to music while performing various tasks is purely a matter of personal preference. For some music contributes to increased concentration while for others it adds to various distractions. All you need is to observe what improves your efficiency and focus on the tasks at hand. The situation i.e, the personal preference and the nature of the task determines whether the background music will help you focus better. Vocal music could be distracting while instrumental music might help your performance. If you want some music to lighten up the pressure of homework, go for some instrumental jazz or classical tunes.

A lot of things can help you prepare for exams, and you must see what works for you. Good luck 🙂

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