Let Mozart help your studies

Reporter: Melissa DeGasparis

You’ve spent the last five hours studying as hard as possible for that big test you have in the morning. Well, excluding the breaks you took to check Facebook, update Twitter, text your friends and watch that hilarious YouTube video that did a remix of ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’. So yes, you have studied for approximately 55 minutes.
Distractions are everywhere when studying because, let’s be honest, anything is more exciting than reviewing lecture notes. What is there for you to do that can possibly help you stay focused when you are supposed to be studying rather than counting ceiling tiles?
Some common methods are to plan out your break times, put a familiar television show on in the background and most popularly, listen to music, but more times than not these methods still lead to focus failure.
Have you heard of that old saying; “listening to classical music makes you smarter”? Well there may be some truth to that.
The Stanford University Medical Center performed a study in 2007 to prove that listening to classical music can help the brain pay attention and retain more information when studying.
The primary goal of this study was to examine how the brain sorted out events and information, however their research revealed that classical music, most of which was written decades if not centuries ago, actually assists the brain in organizing different information to make it easier to comprehend and remember.
In making their conclusions about music and the brain, researchers emphasized focuse on the moments of silence between each movement in a classical piece.
A movement is a contained portion of music within a composition. Both the trained ear and non-musicians can easily understand when a new movement has begun because there is an obvious silence for a few seconds between each movement.
Researchers in this study wanted to perform a test that allowed subjects to re-enact the way people listen to music every day. To do this, they performed a study on 18 people in an fMRI machine that is able to measure each of their brain activities while listening to classical music with the background humming noise of the machine.
The results were clear. It is the silence between movements that allow people to retain more information while learning and studying. The silence triggered two distinct portions of the brain, allowing both the right and left side to be active at the same time. When triggered in these areas, your brain is rewired to pay attention and prepare for the change in music since each movement is audibly different from the next.
Because the silence between each movement triggers the attention portion of the brain, when you are studying there is a higher chance that your attention will be increased with classical music and allow you to stay away from other distractions.
Keep in mind that just because you listen to a classical piece that is comprised of many movements, it does not mean that you will automatically see positive test results. You still have to put effort into your work. This is just a suggestion for those who have a slight problem staying focused on the task at hand.
Not familiar with classical music? Not a problem! YouTube offers many pieces of music for you to listen to.
If you want to start small and look for a musical composition that has only a few movements, check out Symphony No. 7 by Beethoven or 4 Seasons by Vivaldi, both of which have four movements and are about 40-minutes long.
Want something longer with more movements? You may be interested in Carmina Burana by Orff, at about 75-minutes with 25 movements.
Of course, there are some people who may want something more modern and familiar to listen to. Take a listen to the complete symphony from The Lord of the Rings soundtrack with six movements in 120-minutes.
Listening to classical music will not guarantee you a perfect score on your test or increase your IQ by 30 points, but it can help you to pay more attention to what you are studying.
Now put away your phone, turn off your television and open a new tab on your computer and type in YouTube. Go ahead and get started on studying. This editorial can only distract you from your work for so long.
Start studying!

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