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study-tips 3 min read

5 ways music can make you a better student

By Lana 26 Jun 2019
Student listening to music in the Japanese Gardens at USQ Toowoomba Campus.

Whether you’re on your daily commute to work or heading to uni, one thing that always helps to spice up the travel time is listening to music. But were you aware that listening to music while studying can help you become a better student? I wasn’t aware at first either, but after conducting some research I’ve compiled a list of the top five benefits of listening to music, from helping to boost your performance at uni to improving your overall wellbeing and ability to focus.

1. Improves your mental health

Music does wonders for mental health! With one in four uni students experiencing mental health issues in any given year (Orygen, 2017), it’s important to find tools to help combat the stress and anxiety that can develop while studying. Interestingly, research conducted by Cambridge University has shown that listening to hip-hop music while studying uplifts listeners and helps them accept, manage, and deal better with mental health issues like anxiety (Sule & Inkster, 2014). So, if you’re not already a hip-hop fan, perhaps it’s time to expand your music vocabulary to include a little Eminem or perhaps some Kendrick Lamar? Because anything that helps support your brain is worth doing! 

2. Boosts your mood

Music has also been shown to increase feelings of happiness. While listening to music, a chemical called dopamine is released, and this makes people feel happier, relaxed and more motivated to undertake tasks.[3] So, if you’re looking for a non-caffeinated boost, tune into @usqedu on Spotify, and let the dopamine do its work to put you in the perfect mood for study. Now, ‘clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth…’.

3. A better memory

Do you ever wonder how you can always remember the lyrics to a song word for word, but never your exam notes? Our brain looks for patterns to recall, process and better understand information, so revising your study notes to a beat can definitely help when it comes to your memory recall (Ancheta, 2018). The best part is that any type of music can help!

4. Provides exercise for your brain

Just like reading and doing crosswords can exercise your brain, listening to music can too. Keeping our brain active is incredibly important, helping it feel younger for longer and combatting the onset of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. Listening to music acts as a cognitive exercise for the brain, training it in preparation for more complex thinking and analytical challenges (Ancheta, 2018). There’s no time limit set on when you should start exercising the brain, but as they say, ‘there’s no time like the present!’. 

5. Helps you focus

Listening to music can help block out unnecessary distractions from the outside world, whether that be people talking, traffic or even the sound of the coffee machine. Putting your headphones on will leave you feeling focused, in control and able to smash out your assignment or study session (Ancheta, 2018). Top tip: Beethoven may help you concentrate more, while rocking out to AC/DC could help you think more creatively – trust me!

So, there you have it, five ways that listening to music while studying can make you a better student and keep you feeling relaxed and motivated during the stressful times of the semester. If you’re looking for further ways to improve your stress levels when it comes to study, why not check out Ashley’s tips on how to cope with study stress?


Orygen. (2017). Mental health of Australian university students flying under the radar. Retrieved December 17, 2018 from https://www.orygen.org.au/About/News-And-Events/Mental-health-of-Australian-university-students-fl

Sule, A. and Inkster, B. (2014). A hip-hop state of mind. Retrieved December 17, 2018 from https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpsy/article/PIIS2215-0366%2814%2900063-7/fulltext

Ancheta, M. (2018). 8 Brilliant Benefits of Listening to Music While Studying. Retrieved December 17, 2018 from https://www.careeraddict.com/study-music-benefits

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