I’ve recently developed a habit of listening to music when working; always feeling like a genius when hearing Air’s soft resonances on a G string by J.S. Bach or ‘Clair de lune’ by Claude Debussy.
As you could have imagined when I found out that music can impact our productivity negatively, I was shocked.
So, is listening to music and reading bad?
Listening to music and reading is a bad habit. It is proven to negatively impact our short memory, decreases productivity and concentration.
If music makes us happy, is it wrong to listen to music while reading?
Yes, amazed by how I felt when listening to music and reading, I later found out from the University of Wales Institute in Cardiff that there are various facts that music can negatively impact our productivity.
5 Serious Reasons To STOP Listening to Music When Reading
1. While reading, we might be thrown off to the sound we are listening to; the themes that the words convey can be utterly irrelevant to the chosen song’s notes.
2. Music impairs cognitive capabilities when we are trying to memorize things. For example, music can impact our short term memory; if we are trying to memorize a sequence of events in the book or memorize a characteristic trait of the character that we are reading on, music will negatively impact how we remember things.
3. Music with lyrics can make your productivity suffer 10% more since your mind needs to interpret the meaning of the words you are reading and the words the song conveys. Blasting any tunes from any popular artists nowadays can make it hard to comprehend what’s you are trying ot read, even if our inner teenage selves long for it.
4. Daniel Levitin and University of Wales institute quickly explain that listening to music makes our brain releases neurotransmitter serotonin, making us more comfortable and easier to relax. Since neurotransmitters serotonin are released, slower songs around 90 BMP make you 20% more tired or bored when reading.
5. Loud music can also have harmful effects on our productivity and ears, whether if you are trying to tune out how much reading you have to do, loud music can make us too energetic and lose concentration on what we are doing.
Does reading with music have benefits?
Music can put us in a great mood; this is based on Mozart’s research on how music’s ability can stimulate our minds to be more productive.
However, it was later debunked that Mozart puts us in a happier mood because some people enjoy classical music. When we tend to enjoy something, it likely means that we work harder than usual, tackling challenging tasks with more vigor.
Music can motivate us if you are ever stuck with tons of stuff to read
Music is your go-to. Research from 2019 suggests that music can be regarded as a reward for your brain, as it’s qualified as another thing you enjoy. Rewarding yourself with a favourite song can give us the motivation to read and learn more successfully.
Music can help us process information easier
According to research from the Stanford University School of Medicine, classical music can help our brain interpret new information efficiently. The 2007 study found evidence that music can actively engage our brain to pay better attention to the information that we are reading and make better predictions about events that might happen. This can help you notice a significant improvement in your ability to process information more straightforward and more effectively.
Listening to classical music can help older adults perform better on short-term memory
A 2014 study trusted Source shows that music can help improve our brain’s memorization and cognitive abilities just like any other exercise. The more we exercise our brain, the stronger we become. Early on through life, people who have musical training have healthier brains and are less likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s or Dementia. However, you don’t have to be a certain group age from benefiting from music.
Music can help you reduce anxiety
Especially if you are a student that is obligated to read for your course. Music enables you to lower your levels of stress and tension as you study, in fact, USA Today reveals,” one study found that music’s effect on anxiety levels is similar to the effect of getting a massage”, so it’s official music reduces anxiety just like getting a free massage.
Studies from Petr Janata, have linked music, memory, and emotion together. His studies have found that “music serves as a potent trigger for retrieving memories,” to come to this conclusion Janata took Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as he played popular music from the student’s childhood years. Janata found out that “After each excerpt, the student responded to questions about the tune, including whether it was familiar or not, how enjoyable it was, and whether it was associated with any particular incident, episode or memory”, this reveals that music, memory, and emotions are linked.
What type of music is suitable for reading?
It’s shown many students are happier to use music as an essential reading tool; it’s used to create happier moods and improve concentration, as such I created 5 rules that you should follow to make music suitable for your reading.
Match the tempo to your reading
To concentrate and process information, classical music tends to be the better companion. Make sure it’s in the 120 BPM plus range; this puts you in a more energetic mood and removes any tiredness you might be feeling.
Save the music for reading breaks
If you are more inclined to listen to music that involves lyrics make sure you do so on your reading breaks, listening to lyrics while reading makes it harder to concentrate since your brain has to interpret different pieces of information at once.
Make sure it’s has a good atmosphere
You have to know what type of genre works best in your current state. Depending on how you concentrate and the book theme, I suggest you build multiple playlists for different themes; emotions can be varied, and each genre can impact differently in various scenario of the book.
Does it make you happy or drowsy?
Make sure the genre you are listening to puts you in a relaxed, happier, and energetic mood. If it makes you tired, exhausted, or lose concentration of the words you are reading, then change the music or genre to a major fast-paced song.
Michael Vettraino, a founder of London-based music consultancy MAV, says that his company has helped introduce background music to several global offices, restaurants, casinos and hotels.
Alex Hill, who also works as MAV’s head of music and operations, says that background music has increased productivity for their clients, whether the music is playing in the office or elsewhere. It seems that background music has to be adapted to be drowned in the background to increase productivity.
Alex also suggests that when a person is trying to concentrate after a long day of hard work, they prefer a more upbeat genre, giving them the energy to focus easier.
So, reading in silence or with music?
There are various opinions regarding listening to music while reading. Still, the general take away should be what works best for you, whether it’s listening to silence, music, or lyrics, you decide the atmosphere that improves your concentration and makes you feel happier.
There are some key points that you should consider, I myself can’t concentrate while lyrics are playing in the background. Tons of research backs up the fact that you should not listen to music with lyrics when you are reading; it does positively make you less productive.
I would also highly suggest you listen to music that makes you energetic; this means music with a faster-paced rhythm. Most people find it hard to concentrate on softer music, while it makes you more relaxed, It also makes you less focused on the words you are reading.
Silence will always be the best outcome when it comes to reading, but at the end of the day, it’s your choice if you feel in a happier mood when you are listening to music or not.