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Here’s What Happened When I Listened to Study Music on Spotify for a Week

Everyone has their own way of studying; I’m the type of person who notices every little noise, so I personally prefer to be in a quiet place where I can concentrate on my work. There are other people unlike myself, however, who always listen to music while they’re studying; they listen to it so much that it basically becomes white noise. Each person has their own preferred playlist; but recently, my friends suggested that “study music” is the way to go. “Study music” is basically classic or calming instrumental music, and it’s supposed to make focusing easier. So I thought, “why not give it and try and see if it enhances my studying habits?”

First, I turned to Spotify to help me find a perfect playlist to listen to. I simply looked up “study playlist,” and it gave me an array of different choices. To be honest, I’m very unfamiliar with study music, so I clicked on the first option. Fortunately (and unfortunately), I had so much work to do that week; it was the perfect time to see if study music would lead to any productive results. I put on my headphones, sat in my usual spot at the library and studied away.

Initially, the music was a huge distraction. Though it sounded pretty, I became too focused on what I was listening to, instead of reading. It was also so soothing that it made me tired! At one point, I got so frustrated and had to turn the music off; again, I had way too much work to get done. I saw no results, and if anything, it made my studying longer and more difficult. But remember, this was only after the first couple of days; I had a whole week ahead of me, so I wanted to keep trying it out anyway.

In a turn of events, I kept soaring through the playlist one song after the next as the week went on. I realized that listening to this type of music helped me with busy work more than reading assignments. Maybe that’s because it did a better job of canceling noise than making me actually focus. The music made time pass by faster, and it helped tune out small noises (such as coughing or typing) so that all I heard were the music and my thoughts. I didn’t use to rely on music as a source for increasing concentration; but indeed, it kept me from straying away from work and made me glued to my computer screen or notebook. Every time I turned on my music, I knew it was time to get off my phone and study. It was an interesting way to study, even though it took a while for me to get accustomed to it.

Still, after listening to study music for a week, I’m not sure if I would continue unless I’m in a loud place where I’d have to drown out a noise in order to study. Listening to music I’ve never heard before made me focus on that particular song; but as I kept listening to the same track, the sound started to become second nature. So in the end, listening to music while studying was something that I had to make into a habit. Now, I’m still debating whether to keep up the new habit or stick to what I normally do. Study music is helpful in a way, but that’s because I got used to it. I don’t feel like it made me better remember the information I was studying; but it did get me to tune out distractions. Realistically, study music is based on preference; and it’s not as much about a set type of music as it is about a genre that helps a particular person focus better. So, if you need a new study routine, I’d suggest finding a playlist that fits your personality and preference!

Samantha Zecca

Wisconsin '20

Samantha is currently a junior studying retail and consumer behavior with certificates in entrepreneurship and digital studies. If she's not at the library, you can find her sitting at the memorial union terrace or trying out a new restaurant in Madison. Samantha is originally from New Jersey, but her favorite place to be is NYC going on day adventures either seeing a Broadway show, shopping, or visiting museums. From the midwest to the east coast, she has a lot to share.
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