There have been countless studies showing that music improves intelligence. Recently, however, there has been some disagreement to as to whether or not it is beneficial to studying, especially when that studying involves memorization and numbers. Well, memorization is not my cup of tea. I got Calculus 101 out of the way my freshman year and I’m happy to say I’ll never take another math class again. Looking back, perhaps I shouldn’t have listened to the Rolling Stones so much when I was studying for exams- maybe it would have improved my performance, who knows?
Personally, I’ve always liked background noise when I’m writing. Complete silence makes me antsy. I find that it’s most helpful when I am writing because it helps me to block everything else out and let’s me focus solely on what I am doing. I have only one stipulation: there can be absolutely no lyrics. Slow tunes enable me to concentrate on my own words; if there is an alternate storyline going on in the song it invades my thoughts and permeates my work without my even realizing it. This definitely gets me into trouble when my iPod is on shuffle mode. The type of music depends on both my mood and the material that I am working on. I find that when I am working on creative writing, I tend to lean more towards jazz, mostly Chet Baker or John Coltrane. For critical essays, I stick with classical- there is something about it that just makes me feel smarter.
In my opinion, I think that music is an enormous help creatively. It can bring back specific memories you thought you had lost or help you imagine new places you never knew existed, it provides an escape that still allows you to remain grounded. What do you think, is music an aid or is it a distraction? And if you do listen to it, what do you listen to?