Music is assumed by many to be highly beneficial for effective learning and working. Many students, teachers and school leaders will state, with conviction, that they work best with music on. However, the research is patchy.
A study conducted by the University of Wales discovered that some types of music were beneficial for some people, while other types of music had a negative impact on the ability to think clearly and coherently. Only a quiet environment was beneficial to all of the participants in their study. Despite their stated personal preferences all of the participants performed better when they worked in a near silent setting.
The worst music to work effectively to is the sort of music played in the daytime schedules of radio stations. Music that was likeable and induced a ‘singalong’ sensation promoted a sense of wellbeing but acted as a distracting influence. The level of distraction was equivalent to attempting to work while also listening in to a really juicy bit of gossip being discussed as the next table.
So, if you must have music playing as you work or study, what’s best? Research by the University of Dayton indicated that, if you feel you must have music on in order to be focused, listening to Mozart produced the top results.