The concept that someone can engage in more productive study through listening to music, has always been beyond me. Personally, I struggle to study effectively in the presence of any noise at all, let a lone music that is being directed straight into my eardrum. Despite my own hesitations towards the idea, science seems to argue that in certain ways there is a truth to the notion that music can improve the intake and memorization of information.
While the argument is very situational, studies do appear to show that listening to music while performing math study, or non-lyrical music while undergoing study that involves the writing of words, can be beneficial; beneficial in the sense that the mind is more consistent with its attention towards the task at hand. If the study does involve writing then it seems music that is of the more classical and/or acoustic genre is preferred. Specifically, studies have suggested the music that is played in movie scores gives one of the highest levels of increase of “productive study”; where the most information is retained.
This concept of “musical studying” has become much more of an interest for myself with the knowledge of Bohlman’s concept of Epistemology; how music gains meaning through association with activity, in a specific cultural context. In this instance, the concept of epistemology obviously revolves around the connection between music and academic performance, which I view as a very Western linkage.
I have learnt a number of things from Bohlman’s writings and this idea of listening to music in study. Most of all, I feel that majority of Bohlman’s writing focuses on the scrutiny of Western perception of music, where we do “not understand” the meaning of music or what music is in other “Non-Western” regions. With this constant focus, it is easy to forget that this idea is reciprocated for these foreign cultures with regards to their intake on our cultural music. The way in which a generation of academics have fused advances in musical technology to their act of study, seems to have come about through spontaneity and perhaps a growing urge for constant stimulation. The concept of Epistemology was broadened for me in this way, where activity association with music also applies to my own culture, and through much more subtle ways than I first anticipated.