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Music’s impact on learning

Some students say listening to music in class helps them concentrate. For others, it’s a distraction.

Music is more than just entertainment. Music can also improve learning in a few ways: It can help with recall and be a stress-reliever.

The effects of music on learning are significant, according to researchers. Listening to music has been known to improve learning abilities and enhance some brain functions, such as reading and literacy skills, spatial temporal reasoning, and mathematical abilities as well as emotional intelligence. This has even helped children with deficit/hyperactivity disorders improve their test scores by listening to music before a test.

Listening to music can also help with recollection. Research has shown that music creates a “key” for recalling of memories. So the information learned while listening to a particular song can be recalled by remembering the song mentally and playing it again. Though it is unclear what type of music works better for this, easy, relaxing music helps with duration and intensity of concentration, according to the website EMed. Also, listening to upbeat music is a way to gain extra energy and cause an increase in productivity while decreasing fatigue.

According to the journal, Neuroscience of Behavior and Physiology, a person’s ability to recognize visual images, including numbers and letters, is faster with either rock or classical music playing in the background.

While most teachers won’t permit it, music can be used in the classroom to help improve test scores and overall learning. Teachers can play music in the class but have the students vote on what plays. Or, teachers can allow the students to use their own music and have them use their Ipods or phones and have them face up on their desks to ensure compliance. This could improve the learning standards greatly because students will be using two parts of their brain at once, which causes greater chance of remembering the information later on.

When asked if they would like to be able to listen to music while working on projects in class or taking a test, San Benito High School students had mixed opinions. One student who liked the idea was freshman Marisa Sachau, who said, “I think that it helps get class work done. But I couldn’t use it during a test. It helps me think I guess.”

Freshman Rebecca Laguna also said she thought it is a great idea to listen to music in the classroom. “I love listening to music during class. If a teacher lets you, then go for it,” she said.

Freshman Saul Martinez disagreed with the other two, saying, “I say no to music because during tests when you are older they do not allow it and it is hard to get out of the habit of needing to listen to music all the time.”

By Christina Carvalho,,