By Christian Chen, Staff Writer

People these days tell me that music is a distraction and that it hurts your performance, but what if the opposite is true: what if music could potentially help students with concentration? Personally, I believe that the claim that music helps you study depends on a few factors, but some people believe that regardless what music type a person listens to, the person can potentially study better.

Studies have shown that music helps improve mental health, help with depression and improve memory. They would lead some to believe that listening to a certain kind of music while studying could help trigger someone’s memory of a certain subject that they read about while they were listening to that kind of music – a kind of “Mozart effect”, to put it another way. However, not everybody listens to Mozart these days, and as different genres of music emerge, the type of music that seems to be the most effective varies depending on the person, in addition to the song they listen to.

Some have claimed that video game soundtracks can help with study methods because they create an immersive environment to facilitate-but not distract-someone from the task at hand. However, as technology progresses, the styles of music will change and will have various effects on people.

Not everyone agrees that music helps with concentration, however. One British study from the Applied Cognitive Psychology Journal revealed that students who didn’t listen to music while studying tended to do better than people who did. They would find that even listening to tunes someone liked would hamper their concentration and affect their performance. They concluded that studying while listening to music isn’t really beneficial. For instance, studying for a math test while listening to music will most likely hamper efforts to retain the information while studying. Therefore, listening to music before studying seems to be a better option. Those who claim that music helps, they say, is only because they listened to music prior to studying, not during the study session itself. Still, others will beg to differ.

In my personal experience, the effectiveness of music while studying seems to depend on what type of music I listen to. For instance, one time I listened to “Colors of the Wind” from the movie Pocahontas while studying for a Contemporary Math Test. I entered the test with a sound mind as a result, and eventually got a high score-the best Math score I’d ever gotten, and the first math score I’d gotten that was above a D (I got a 90%, an A minus). A more recent example was listening to “Be Prepared” from the Disney movie “The Lion King,” which also helped me to calm my nerves and help with concentration prior to the test. In prior experiences, music hampered my study, as it prevented me from concentrating. Henceforth I got lower scores.

In conclusion, I must say that listening to music has mixed results, and that whether it actually helps depends on the type of music you listen to, regardless of whether it is during a study session or before a study session. Whether you want to listen to music before or during a study session is up to you. If you decide to listen to music before or during a study session, I must say this: good luck.