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Does Music Boost Your Cognitive Performance?

Music makes life better in so many ways. It elevates mood, reduces stress, and eases pain. Music can even improve workout endurance and increase our enjoyment of challenging activities. But is listening to music the smart choice for students who want to optimize their learning?

— March 25th, 2020

Although a lot has been said, it truly depends on the person’s personality. A new study by Manuel Gonzalez of Baruch College and John Aiello of Rutgers University suggests that for some students, listening to music is indeed a wise strategy, but for others, it is not. 

In other words, the effect of music on cognitive functioning appears not to be “one-size-fits-all.”

The data suggest that your decision to turn music on (or off) while studying should depend on your personality. For those with a high need for external stimulation, listening to music while learning is not wise, especially if the task is hard and/or the music is complex.

For those with a low need for external stimulation, however, listening to music is generally the optimal choice. 

If you find the study to be interesting, you can read the complete results here


This article is a re-post, with small modifications, of “Does Music Boost Your Cognitive Performance?” an article published on scientificamerican.com by Cindy May.

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From Twitter

I love how Marcos lets me learn so many songs, not just one!

I love how Marcos lets me learn so many songs, not just one! I like how he gives me compliments.…

Julia, age 8

2016-10-06T01:13:27-07:00

Julia, age 8

I love how Marcos lets me learn so many songs, not just one! I like how he gives me compliments. It’s really fun when Marcos does the bass clef with the left hand and I get to make up my own song that goes with it for a warm up. It’s fun because I get to make up my own songs. I love the sound of the piano!

I really like that we get to pick what songs we want to learn in Marcos’s guitar class

I really like that we get to pick what songs we want to learn in Marcos’s guitar class. I also…

Mikey, age 12

2016-10-06T01:19:06-07:00

Mikey, age 12

I really like that we get to pick what songs we want to learn in Marcos’s guitar class. I also love that he is compassionate and lets us progress at our own pace. Marcos knows EVERYTHING about instruments, and I’m glad he can share some of it with me. I’m glad that I get to learn how to read, write, and play music for the guitar. It is a lot of fun when Marcos and I play the guitar together!

I highly recommend 123 Rock to anyone looking for a music teacher!

Both of my children love their music lessons with Marcos. They look forward to their music lessons each week and…

- Angie, parent

2016-10-06T01:20:25-07:00

- Angie, parent

Both of my children love their music lessons with Marcos. They look forward to their music lessons each week and come home eager to practice their new pieces. I especially love that he teaches them to compose their own pieces and inspires their musical creativity. Marcos is always positive and encouraging with my children, and he has a knack for bringing out their best. I highly recommend 123 Rock to anyone looking for a music teacher!

123 Rock studio is an inspiring place to make music

Marcos Moscat is a talented musician and instructor. His approach to teaching is kind and respectful. He encourages his students…

Nancy-Jean Pement, parent

2016-10-06T01:21:23-07:00

Nancy-Jean Pement, parent

Marcos Moscat is a talented musician and instructor. His approach to teaching is kind and respectful. He encourages his students to study music that appeals to them. By attending to the interests of each student, Marcos is a master at nurturing student engagement. Our son, Jackson, has been taking lessons for over two years. Jackson is proud of his accomplishments at the piano and he enjoys the time he spends with his teacher. Both Marcos and Isabel are warm and […]
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