With so many kids learning from home during this unprecedented start to the new school year, many students are in desperate need of help concentrating, staying focused and remaining in good spirits. Music might be just what the doctor ordered.
Soothing, relaxing music can help students minimize stress or anxiety while learning virtually. During long study sessions, music can also aid endurance. And in some cases, music can help kids with memorization.
Listening to music while learning from home:
Helps with concentration. When we listen to music, it can help us block out surrounding noise that may distract us. By doing so, it can help us to focus better, improving our concentration.
Stimulates the brain. The melodies and rhythms of music can help to stimulate your brain, and research has found that certain music can even enhance your creativity.
Improves motivation. It can be hard to stay motivated during virtual learning, and at its core, music has the ability to alter your mood. As you listen to a specific type of music, your mood can become more positive, which in turn can improve your motivation.
Lowers stress. Music’s mood-altering ability can help to lower your stress. Not all types of music will help to lower your stress, though, so that’s why it’s important to find the right type of music.
Eliminates boredom. When you’re doing schoolwork alone at home, it can seem like nothing new or interesting is happening, and things can start to feel stale. Listening to your favorite music can make it easier for you to stay interested and energized.
When it comes to the type of music that works best, everyone is different, and every situation is different. Watch your child, see how they respond, and experiment. If a piece of music doesn’t evoke the right mood, try something else.
Keep in mind that some kids may find music distracting. Ask them how loud or soft they want the music—or if they want it at all.
So, what types of music are best for improving cognitive ability and mood? In our own experiences, music with little or no lyrics works best for home learning because it is less distracting, but it depends on the situation and student.
Here are the five best musical genres for learning from home to start with:
- Classical Music. If you or your kiddos are trying to tune out distractions like the leaf blower next door or people in your household using a loud “Zoom voice” in their own virtual meetings, classical music may just be exactly what students need in order to focus when learning from home. Check out Brainly’s classical playlist here.
- Ambient/Chill. When your home environment is bustling, your brain will try to process all the sound as data. In that case, it’s a perfect time to slip on your headphones and some mellow, ambient feel-good music. This helps decrease stress (cortisol) and increase dopamine, so you can keep calm and focused. You can hear Brainly’s ambient/chill playlist here.
- Nature Sounds. Effective studying requires a relaxing, stress-free environment. What better way to create this for yourself than to listen to calming nature sounds while you hit the books? From gentle rainfall to jungle canopies, the natural world has no shortage of soundscapes to get lost in. Listen to Brainly’s nature sounds playlist here.
- Modern Electronic. This type of music is known to trigger neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine, resulting in faster results with fewer errors. It’s particularly helpful for labor-intensive research projects or tasks that require memorization. Access Brainly’s modern electronic playlist here.
- Video Game Music. Listening to video game music can help you focus and stay motivated. Have you ever seen your child get excited when they’re playing video games? This is an effect of the music crafted for video games, and it can also provide the same effect for students doing tedious or monotonous assignments. Tune into Brainly’s video game playlist here.
Listening to music while studying has many benefits. However, its benefits might vary based on the type of music and individual. Therefore, it is important to find the type of music that suits you while studying.
Volume can be just as important of a factor as the genre. Kids should listen to music at a moderate volume because the louder the music is, the more likely it is to distract them.
Encourage kids to pre-make their playlists for the school day ahead of time and let them play all the way through. The whole point of listening to music while learning from home is to get in the zone and limit distractions, and nothing is more distracting than having to change the song every few minutes.
The ideal playlist should last for 40 to 50 minutes. When the playlist ends, this will act as a reminder to take a short break from learning or switch to a new subject or task.
And perhaps the most important thing to remember: listening to music alone is not sufficient for effective home learning. Students also need to incorporate other healthy home learning habits and practices such as having a clear objective, taking breaks, getting sufficient amounts of sleep, exercising regularly and eating well.
Patrick Quinn is a parenting expert with Brainly, an online-learning and homework-help community where high-school and middle-school students come together to share knowledge and solve problems.