Music distracts from studies


Popping in the earbuds is an easy way to pass the time, to shut off outside noises and drift into another world. Today, teens listen to music while sitting in class, walking through the halls, relaxing in study hall and doing homework. The average teen listens to two and a half hours of music every day according to a recent report on teen activity by the Council of Economic Advisers.

“I listen to music daily. Occasionally in class, and in the shower and the car,” senior Robert Shindel III said.

Many teens listen to music while doing activities like driving and working out, since these activities allow the brain to focus on both a simpler task and the music.

“I listen to music every day. I listen to it while I’m doing homework and while I work out. And when I’m in the car,” senior Emma Hannan said.

Music can slow down performance, especially when writing. One study from psychologist Sarah Ransdell showed that students wrote an average of about 60 words fewer per hour when listening to music. However, it activates the part of the brain that deals with attention and memory, which can help improve memory of the information read while listening.

It can also improve motivation, as any student knows. Turning on some rap music makes math homework more enjoyable, and focusing on on that book for English class can be easier with Disney Pandora playing in the background.

Some students have found that music can distract them.

“I never listen to music when I do homework,” senior Ally Rance said. “Because I would get really distracted and I’d start singing and not want to do homework.”

On the other hand, some students have found that music blocks out their environment and

“It keeps me from other distractions, like TV and people,” Shindel said.

Freshman Sydney Morehouse agreed.

“It blocks out the other sounds. It would definitely be harder to do my homework without music,” Morehouse said.

Actually, many studies, beginning with one by psychologist Francis Rauscher, have shown that instrumental music can improve attention and memory. This is known as the “Mozart Effect.”

“I can’t listen to lyrical music when I’m doing homework, only instrumental,” senior Kriztina Montero said. “The bands I listen to get me in this trance state, and it really helps me focus.”

Music can slow down performance in specific activities, improve focus in simple activities, and pump up motivation. Depending on the student, popping in those earbuds can block out or provide distractions. Either way, music has a strong impact on student performance.

Junior Matt Berger said that for him it depends on the subject.

“If it’s an easy subject, [music] helps me focus,” he said.

Julia Palomino