Music motivates students


Graphic courtesy of Canva.

Giana Pistoria, Deputy Arts & Culture Editor

This previously ran in our February print issue.

Last year, I wrote a research paper for my AP Lang class about music’s hand in aiding education for students. Before writing it, I believed the random tidbits of information I had heard in passing, like that classical music strengthens focus and that music can reinforce retention of information. However, these aren’t just old folktales; they’re true, and music’s aid on students’ education is actually a lot stronger than one may believe. 

In my research paper, I focused on three specific thesis points: that music strengthens mental health, enhances academic performance, and improves motivation and focus. After extensive research and a major amount of time put into this paper (10 pages worth), I realized that music is far more beneficial than a lot of people think. 

Music has been commonly used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. There is even a branch of therapy, cognitive behavioral music therapy, that is dedicated to utilizing music as an aid for patients, in which it is administered in a multitude of different ways, whether writing, playing, or listening to music. 

Through various studies, music has been proven to lower rates of depression, stress, and anxiety. Oftentimes, listening to one’s favorite song can invoke feelings of happiness and a decrease in stress. Music can release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that causes happy feelings in the body and mind, increasing positive emotions and, in turn, decreasing stress and negative emotions. 

Nowadays, music is highly accessible and available in various different forms, whether on the radio, through streaming services, or in a physical form like CDs or LPs. This makes music a quick and easy way to destress and aid in students’ mentality. 

As well as its proven mental health benefits, music can improve academic performance. Listening to instrumental songs, whether classical, jazz, ambient, or lofi, has been proven beneficial to studying. Not only do they help hold students’ focus for a longer period of time, but they also improve memory retention. 

A study conducted at University of California Irvine shows that classical music has improved memory retention in Alzheimer’s patients, translating to a high rate of improved retention in young minds. Music also increases concentration and provides stimulation for the brain. When listening to music, the brain is receiving the instant stimulation that often pushes us to leave our work and tend to another, more “thrilling” activity (such as going on your phone). Listening while working decreases this desire significantly, therefore, resulting in more productivity and better work.

Many teachers may see music as a distraction, but its significance to students should not be underestimated. Not only does it decre ase negative emotions such as stress and anxiety, but it improves productivity as well as enhancing memory retention, leading to better academic performance. I firmly believe music has a strong place in schools, and that its benefits should be greatly considered in educational settings. If it helped me get through a 10 page paper in the thick of my junior year, it can definitely help you.