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Against the Lyrics

Updated: Oct 2, 2021

Why performing tasks and listening to lyrical music doesn’t work.

Madelyn Evans

Staff Writer

September 5, 2021

Music is a great thing to listen to. You can listen to it anytime, almost anywhere. The only downfall of it is you can’t listen to its lyrics and perform another task well. According to an article from Harvard Business Review, studies have shown that the human brain can’t multitask. It’s a solid fact. The brain cannot do two tasks that require high-level function at once. Music is great. I love listening to music, whether it’s in the car, doing chores, or running. These are all good things to listen to music to, but I especially love listening to it while doing homework.

Now, being a high school student, homework is one thing that one has a hard time escaping. Homework is good, it’s important to make sure you learn and gain an understanding of what you may be studying. In my opinion, though, it gets quite boring when you have to study in silence. That’s where music comes in for me. Well, sort of.

You see, music can be good for studying but also bad. It depends on what type of music one listens to. According to Tanmoy Ray, a career adviser and admission consultant, all music is good, but music without lyrics is better for studying music. Music with lyrics requires more attention of your brain, as you are either interpreting lyrics or focusing on studying. The brain cannot multitask. While one may think that they are able to listen to lyrical music and study at the same time, their brain is actually just switching back and forth from one action to the other. This decreases the amount of focus one has on studying, and as a result, they will either need to study more or simply not do as well on a test or school project as they could have for all the time and effort they may have put into studying. So who needs words anyway, right?

Music that is most convenient to study and is fun to listen to is music without lyrics. Music without lyrics lightens the overall mood of studying, and yet still allows yourself to focus and work productively. Now just because the music doesn’t have lyrics doesn’t mean the music itself is bad. There’s always classical music, with artists like Beethoven and Bach, but there are also artists who create low-key hip hop or jazz tunes as well, such as Chillhop. Many artists have also created soundtracks of music without lyrics that are good to study to. You can also have fun with it too! I often enjoy listening to movie or video game soundtracks. It can be any movie, from the latest Marvel to Disney. Funny how much more I now notice the music in movies now after listening to the same sequence a million times.

All in all, studying with non-lyrical music is great to study to. It allows you to focus during each study session while also lightening the mood. So next time, when you’re having to write that extra math worksheet because you were debating over the topic of why Jim has 57 watermelons, make sure to have relaxing tunes to study along with!

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