Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Listening to music while doing math

  1. Apr 7, 2013 #1


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I still remember a long time ago one of my teachers told me ''Discman(LOL) are forbidden in class , if you are coming to class you should be able to concentrate and music ruins your concentration''.I then proceeded to explain to her that I thought music could actually help me concentrate even more by throwing me into some sort of trance , or ''in the zone'' if you prefer (she didn't care).

    I still listen to music (mainly house and trance , to each his own) most of the time when I'm doing math.

    Anybody else thinks music is actually helping instead of distracting when doing mathematics (or something similar).

    If so , what kind of music do you enjoy listening to?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 7, 2013 #2
    I have a mind that zips and gets distracted easily so I use music as a means to help it focus. When I am doing math or something like that I find listening to Bela Bartok to be more comforting even though that sounds like a contradiction (if you've listened to his pieces, they are anything but pieces geared for relaxing), it is the best thing that helps me at least.
  4. Apr 7, 2013 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Music is like a form of addictive drug -- it imprints on one's neural structures, sometimes to the point where addicts cannot cope well in their normal life without it.

    I've found that even my most favorite music is a distraction when I need to concentrate on some other difficult complex unfamiliar task. Listening to music in lectures, or while washing the dishes, might help the time pass faster, but when trying to complete a complicated calculation or tricky proof, I need absolute silence.

    (There's a reason why libraries and study areas usually have signs like "Silence Please".)
  5. Apr 7, 2013 #4
    I rarely do, but when I do try to study or do homework while listening to music, it has to be a song without lyrics; classical music works wonderfully for this.
  6. Apr 8, 2013 #5
    I listen to techno when I'm working (at home), dub techno and other deep, unobtrusive stuff with no hooks or buildups. Like this :)

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  7. Apr 8, 2013 #6


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Music (even classical music) distracts me when it comes to study and even online chess. I need silence in order to study well.
  8. Apr 8, 2013 #7


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    While reading/doing math, I can listen to most instrumental music as long as it isn't too energetic or noisy. Classical, jazz, electronic are usually OK. However, I'm not sure how you could focus on (or even hear) an instructor if you had a discman(LOL) jammed in your ears.
  9. Apr 8, 2013 #8
    I enjoy listening to music most of the time when working on HW, but often I find when I need to think hard about something that I turn it off instinctively, and then it'll be some time before I realize the music is off.
  10. Apr 8, 2013 #9
    I find that it helps me concentrate for trivial tasks but if I'm doing something that requires a lot of effort or is new to me, I'll turn the music off.

    I could see students with headphones on being an overall hindrance in a classroom setting and I agree with the teacher regardless if I would have benefited from it.
  11. Apr 8, 2013 #10
    For me it just doesnt work... I wish it worked, but it doesnt. I cant focus with music.
  12. Apr 14, 2013 #11
    I can prefer classical music and instrumentals. Very calm music while I read or do physics. But only with no lyrics otherwise I started singing along and start thinking about the meaning behind the words. I can do math problems while listening to anything no problem though
  13. Apr 15, 2013 #12
    Legitimately created chipmusic (you know, stuff made with gameboys, or ZX spectra[plural?]). I don't know why, but I think it's because it's LIKE instrumental music, but the simplitstic, though varied tones allow me to concentrate better than the complex waveforms and sounds of normal instruments.

    To each their own, I suppose.
  14. Apr 15, 2013 #13
    Music usually helps me concentrate on trivial homework problems. Film Scores, Electronic music, or albums that I've heard several times usually do the trick. However, once I come onto a homework problem that takes a bit more processing I need to take my headphones off so I can think through it.
  15. Apr 21, 2013 #14
    You can check this article Music Can Help You Study in http://uncc49er.com/622/music-can-help-you-study/

    Listening to music while studying can be a help or a distraction. It depends solely on the person himself. Some are comfortable with it while others are not. Some prefer writing down their thoughts while others prefer reading aloud. Remember that every individual have different learning styles. So I guess, it is up to you. Just monitor your self. See for yourself whether listening to music is helping you concentrate to your studies.
  16. Apr 21, 2013 #15
    I like to saturate myself with a particular composer for a test. During the carbonyl chemistry section in o chem ii, I only listened to Jean Sibelius. Now when one of his pieces are played, I think about carbonyl chemistry. This method keeps refreshing information that may be lost.

    Studying to music with lyrics makes it hard to focus in my opinion.
  17. Apr 21, 2013 #16
    For me, it depends what kind of math I'm doing.

    If I actually need to learn theorems and work proofs, then I listen to soothing music like cool jazz or classical, so I can think.

    If it's just rote computation, I listen to gangsta rap, so I can actually enjoy the music.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook