Is listening to music good or bad for focus?


Photo by Ryan McGraw

Junior Harel Sabag studies for his physics test at lunch while listening to music on Nov. 17.

Students often listen to music while they are doing homework or studying for a test. This raises the question of whether listening to music actually helps you focus or retain information. 

One side is that listening to music is shown to have positive effects on focus. According to, studies have shown that background music can improve focus on a task by providing motivation and improving mood. Junior Allie Museles agree with this saying, “When I listen to music while studying, I get more into my work and get in a better mood, which helps me concentrate more on my work.” 

Music can also help fight off anxiety.  Anxiety-filled students should pop in earbuds before studying. It will help them feel relaxed and allow them to focus on their task.According to USA Today, “One study found that music’s effect on anxiety levels is similar to the effect of getting a massage.” The music type has a big effect on how it will affect your brain. According to Healthline, you should avoid music with words because other words going through your brain can distract you. Slow classical music is recommended, but if you do not like classical music, some good substitutes are electronic, space or ambient. It is also important you keep a low volume, so the music is in the background. Lastly, do not listen to fast-paced and changing songs, as it can distract your brain. “I usually listen to rap music when I am studying, but I think I should give classical music a try to see if it improves my studies,” senior Sam Gross said.

When I listen to music while studying, I get sucked into the song and lose concentration on my work.”

— Matt Repie

Although music is proven to have benefits to focus, it also has negative effects as well. Some students find that music is a distraction during studying and that they can’t focus. “When I listen to music while studying, I get sucked into the song and lose concentration on my work,” sophomore Matt Repie said. 

Music also has some proven disadvantages to memorization. According to The Music University, music impairs your brain’s cognitive abilities, making it difficult to memorize information. The changing words and fluctuation of tunes throws you off whenever you try to memorize, causing your studying to be more challenging.

At the end of the day, it comes down to the student’s preference. If you can listen to music and concentrate, the music will relax you, allowing you to study easier. But if you are not able to concentrate while listening to music, it will make your studying much harder.