A study done by Stanford University showed that music has a direct link with the brain, affecting areas to do with memory, making predictions and paying attention. If you have a learning difference, this could be extremely relevant. Learning differences are related to attention, concentration and processing, which can result in problems prioritising and completing tasks, as well as an overall feeling of “losing time.” So how can listening to music help with this?


Changing Your Brain Waves

Dr Masha Goodwin, a professor at Northcentral University found that playing music affects the brain at a deep level. Depending on the type of music, it has the power to move a person from a light Beta brainwave state to a much deeper Alpha brainwave pattern. Whatsmore, playing music activates both hemispheres of the brain simultaneously. This helps to improve memory and maximise learning. If you have a learning difference, this change in brain activity can really help with improving your levels of concentration and recall.


Good Music for Your Brain

The type of music that is picked to listen to is very important if you want to be able to concentrate well. A study of 89 workers found that music influenced the listener’s attention. The workers were distracted when they strongly liked or disliked the music that was played. The key to using background music as a way to boost concentration is to pick something that isn’t too obtrusive. The Stanford University researchers found that the ideal piece of music was actually a series of 18th Century symphonies by composer William Boyce. Classical music has been shown to also be extremely calming, this is why it is often used for meditation.


Photo by Mohammad Metri on Unsplash

Personality Type and Music

Another study on a group of over 100 high school students found that they performed better over a series of cognitive tests when music was played. However, what was more surprising was that the group that identified as being introverts performed better when the music was quieter. Those that identified as being extroverts performed better with louder music – in particular, they did well when UK garage music was played in the background. If you choose to play music whilst you are trying to concentrate, just make sure that it is suited to your own personality type.

Whether you have a learning difference or not, playing music whilst you are studying, or if you need to concentrate for long periods of time can really help. Just make sure that your music choices are appropriate and not too invasive.


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