Listening to music while you study makes you smarter
· Students who listen to classical music while they study do better in Maths exams
· Spotify reveals that listening to the right genre of music whilst studying boosts concentration
The millions of students undertaking HSC or university exams at the moment should consider packing a pair of headphones
in their bags. Music streaming service Spotify, today reveals that pupils are more likely to perform well academically
if they listen to music while they study.
Clinical Psychologist Dr Emma Gray, who specialises in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy at The British CBT & Counselling Service in London, was commissioned by Spotify to investigate the effect music has on studying. The
research found that it is important to choose the right music for the topic you’re studying and that it stimulates
learning and can enhance concentration.
Students who listen to classical music with 60-70 beats per minute while they study score on average 12% more in their
Maths exams[i], the equivalent of up to a whole grade. The melody and tone range in classical music, like Beethoven’s
Fur Elise, help students to study for longer and retain more information.
The left side of the brain is used to process factual information and solve problems, which are key skills in Science,
Humanities and Languages. Listening to music with 50-80 beats per minute such as We Can’t Stop by Miley Cyrus and
Mirrors by Justin Timberlake has a calming effect on the mind that is conducive to logical thought, allowing the brain
to learn and remember new facts.
When studying for subjects like English, Drama or Art, students use the right side of the brain to process original,
creative thoughts. Research shows that these students should listen to emotive rock and pop music, like Katy Perry’s
Firework and I Can’t Get No (Satisfaction) by The Rolling Stones, which produce a heightened state of excitement that is
likely to enhance creative performance.
Dr Gray comments: “Music has a positive effect on the mind, and listening to the right type of music can actually
improve studying and learning. Music can put you in a better frame of mind to learn – and indeed, students who listen to
music can actually do better than those who don’t. For logical subjects, like Maths, music should calm the mind and help
concentration, whereas for creative subjects, the music should reflect the emotion that the student is trying to
Angela Watts, VP of Global Communications at Spotify, commented: “With millions of students streaming music on Spotify,
it’s great to see the positive effect it could have on their studies. With Dr Gray’s help we’ve created the perfect
playlists to help students get the grades they want.”
The perfect music to study to:
Maths study playlist - Classical
Science, Humanities and Languages study playlist - 50-80BPM
English, Drama, Art study playlist - Rock and Pop