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Music and learning

PEOPLE often wonder can listening to music actually improve IQ or EQ? This article will help explain the effects of music on learning.

Our brain or mind with music
Research on listening to music has shown an increase of activity in the brain's temporal region, which is the auditory center responsible for transferring sound and music. According to J.M. Flohr and D.C. Miller's (1999) research on children's brain waves based on EEG (electroencephalogram).

The EEG shows that the left temporal region of the brain responds to music. Flohr and Miller also found that children's EEG appear differently with different types of music after the age of five.

Human brainwave activity also increases when listening to music of particular amplitude (loudness). They found that music helps to improve cognitive functioning, increase the size of brain neurons, and assist a person to achieve higher mental performance. According to Bower (2004), children who listen to music show average IQ increases of about 7.0 points each school year.

Effect of music on academic and work
Researchers also tackled the question of whether listening to music while doing homework or studying or performing a task or job would affect the particular performance. Different music has different effects on the brain?it is possible that we each tend choose music based on our individual emotions at a particular time. Music may create a positive learning environment.

Researchers, Flohr and Miller (1999) found that when students listening to classical music in the background scored higher in math than students who were not listening to any music. At the same time, researchers discovered that listening to soft rock, jazz or fast pace background music in the work place can enhance worker productivity and performance efficiency.

All in all, researchers have not identified what fits best in all situations and have no proof whether background music is really the cause of better academic or work performance.

Music varieties
There is a lot of music to choose from as a background music while performing a task. What suits you the best and which can bring out your best performance? Turn on your stereo and try it out in different situations and find out for yourself. Make sure to record your results. Try these variations:

Instrumental music vs. vocal music.
Music with familiar vs. unfamiliar lyrics.
Slow vs. fast pace.
Light and easy vs. hard rock.
Classical music vs. pop music.

Some research indicates that when doing math problem solving, it's better to have background music such as classical music or music without lyrics or with unfamiliar lyrics. However, when performing routine tasks such as cleaning a room, it can be advantageous to have music with lyrics, especially familiar ones.

All in all, "music or background music actually provides great positive learning environment" (Malyarenko et al., 1996).

Benefits of music
According to Strickland (2001), a doctoral student of marriage and family therapy from Florida State University, Tallahassee, young children who received musical instruction show enhanced academic development. This may be because playing a musical instrument has beneficial effects on cognition.

According to Mary Ann Davies (2000), an associate professor of education at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, music also helps reduce stress, increase productivity, regulate energy, set an appropriate mood, and stimulate creativity. For instance, filmmakers use music to create the mood for a movie in order to brings out the feelings of actors or actresses. Without the background music, the movie may be boring, dull and lifeless.

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