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Can Music Help You Study Smarter?

Details: Written by Kate Hutchinson |

Can Music Help You Study Smarter?

Research from across the globe is shedding light on the effects of music on the brain and how we can harness its power to supercharge our learning and smash our study goals. From how to effectively revise, to pre-exam stress management, music could get you hitting all the right notes!

Here are 3 top tips on how to make music your secret study weapon!

Learner wearing headphones and chilling out

1) Listening to music can help with stress management and reduce pre-exam anxiety:

That’s right, no more revision flash cards and stress-filled late-night cramming sessions.

  • Studies exploring the effects of music and managing stress have found that listening to your favourite songs can lower blood pressure, heart rate and anxiety levels.
  • There is evidence to suggest that music lowers the production of the stress hormones Adrenaline and Cortisol, allowing for its relaxing properties.
So, next time that big exam is coming up, pop on some Youtube study music and take some deep breaths. You’re going to be just fine.

Old fashioned radio playing music

2) Music can make you study better:

Ever wanted to know exactly how to stay focused while studying? Well, the secret might just be turning up the volume on your favourite tunes.

  • Research on the physiological effects of music has shown how the heart and brain react in sync with the rhythm of the music. The process known as rhythmic entrainment happens when the heartbeat and brain waves of groups of people synchronise with the rhythm of a song. This process has been shown to increase the productivity of an individual.
  • For example, by listening to fast music when exercising, people can exercise for longer, while slow music can help with relaxation.
  • Rhythmic entrainment has also been shown to increase worker efficiency and productivity.

So next time your studying hits a brick wall, pop on some high-tempo tunes to give your study session a super boost!

Brain cartoon character with musical notes coming out of it

3) Music can improve your learning and memory:

Can you name all the colours in a rainbow?

Did you start singing ‘I can sing a rainbow’ by any chance? 😉

  • When the studying gets tough, we need all the brain power we can muster… Music can help!
  • A Stanford study has shown that music can activate both the left and right sides of the brain at the same time. This has been shown to improve both learning ability and memory.
  • In older people, some studies have shown that listening to music can improve a range of cognitive abilities, including fluency, working memory and recognition memory.

So next time you just can't quite memorise that chemistry formula or how to ask for the bill in Spanish, why not try out this nifty revision method?

You could even make up your own song/tune/ditty- anything goes!

Best Study Music Playlist

In celebration of World Music Day, we asked our learners what songs helped them the most while studying with The Skills Network.

From our research (which did include a lot of bad singing, whistling, humming etc), we have created a bunch of collaborative study playlists, designed by our learners for our learners!

Check out The People's Playlist, available to listen here.

Follow The Skills Network on Spotify for more study playlists

  • Fine-tune your study skills with our Motivation playlist is for our learners who need that high-tempo motivational kick
  • Our Chill playlist can help with relaxation after a big study session or to soothe those totally normal pre-exam jitters
  • Happy Hits is there for that pick-me-up, after a long day of learning!

So, how does music affect your study sessions?

Check out the People’s Playlists, crank up the volume and let us know your thoughts on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.

To find out more about the effects of music on the brain watch this.

To find out more about World Music Day read this.