by Abhay B '20

The Effects of Music on the Working Brain


Everyone has a preferred method of studying or completing homework, and for many students, this involves listening to their favorite music, despite the fact that parents and teachers often warn against this strategy. Some researchers claim that classical music is the most beneficial genre to listen to while working, while others suggest that any music is acceptable. In fact, some argue that listening to music while doing homework can potentially increase your IQ level.

Other studies suggest the opposite. According to a study conducted by Sheela Doraiswamy on, students are better off working with little to no background noise. In one room, students took a test in a quiet environment. In the second room, students took a test in an environment where a repeating noise, like a loud heater, was present. In the third room, students took a test with different numbers being announced in a random order. In the fourth room, students took a test with their favorite music playing. In the fifth room, students took a test with their least favorite type of music playing. At the end, the results showed that the students with no noise and a repeating noise were the most successful on the test. Some students in the other rooms did well, although the majority scored significantly lower than the students in rooms one and two. It all depends on how distracted you are by the music.

Most students agree that different genres of music can affect your homework performance, but there is no single genre of music that is agreed upon as the best for productivity. “The type of music I am listening to while doing my homework affects the efficiency of my work and the quality of it. Sometimes if I am listening to something upbeat while working I am motivated to actually do it and it gives me some peace in mind,” says Shaima Mannan ‘20. She felt that different genres of music either helped or negatively affected her homework performance. Some preferred other genres. “I feel that when I listen to music like jazz, it helps me concentrate because it is not boring like classical music and it has a certain vibe that won’t get me distracted,” explains Lia Papafloratos ‘20. She preferred to listen to songs that were not very distracting, but classical music didn’t seem like an enticing choice of music. Some use the “boring” tempo of classical music to their advantage. “I listen to classical music when I do my homework, and it helps me to focus on what I’m doing. The calm tempo is not very interesting, making homework a better alternative than focusing on the music.” says Melyssa Iazzag ‘20. Personally, I don’t listen to music while doing homework, as it distracts me more than it benefits me.  At the end, it is up to you to decide whether you want to listen to music or not while doing homework, but remember not to get distracted!


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