The Magic of Music

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Do you have trouble focusing when you are studying? If you find yourself distracted or have trouble solving complex problems, we may have just the solution for you. Studies show that listening to music can help you to study. This phenomenon is known as the “Mozart effect” and for good reason; it’s only certain kinds of music that help your brain to focus. Blasting out Justin Bieber while you are studying for an exam is more likely to be a hindrance than a help.

Studies show that listening to Mozart improves spatial-temporal reasoning. Spatial-temporal reasoning helps you to find abstract solutions to complex problems. A 1993 study by Rauscher, Shaw and Ky found that playing Mozart to test subjects helped them score higher on the spatial-temporal portion of an IQ test. In another experiment, three and four-year old students who were given piano lessons for 8 months scored 34% higher on their IQ tests than students who were not given piano lessons. So popular has the theory become that the governor of Georgia, Zell Miller petitioned the government to provide a fund for purchasing classical CDs for all Georgian children.

Not into Mozart? There are other options. In general, baroque classical music, like Vivaldi or Teleman, has much the same effect as Mozart. Try to find music that has 60beats per second. To a lesser degree ambient music including genres such as ambient house, ambient trance, new age, trip-hop and Nu jazz can also be used to improve leaning. The music must blend into the background; if you are singing along or focusing on the music instead of your studies, choose a different artist.

If you find music distracting, try ambient sounds such as whale songs, waterfalls, ocean waves and other natural sounds. Eno’s “Music for airports” is specifically designed to relax and calm tired travellers in airports. Eno’s background music heightens your mood and occupies those parts of your brain that may cause distractions while you are studying.

If you don’t own any music to study by, you can stream songs for free from SomaFM, DI FM, and MusOpen. You can also install classical music apps on your phone so that you can listen to music on the go or at school. Classical and ambient music is said to calm the nerves and elevate the mood, so you may want to consider listening to it even when you aren’t studying. Listening to classical music for ten minutes before a test or exam will help to improve your spatial-temporal abilities and calm you down.

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