Does listening to music help learning? - Glasshouse Christian College

Does listening to music help learning?

  • May 3, 2018

Does listening to music help learning?

For those with teens it can be rare to see them studying without earbuds. They adamantly state that listening to music helps them concentrate and they simply can’t do their homework any other way! Are they right?

The belief that listening to music helps learning began in the 1990s and was call the ‘Mozart effect’. Researchers found that people’s spatial performance was better after listening to Mozart compared to relaxation instructions or complete silence. This theory gained so much popularity in the US, the Governor of Georgia planned to give free music cassettes or CDs to prospective parents. Later on it was found that other music had similar effects and even an audio book by Stephen King (before the task) raised spatial performance!

This led researchers to conclude that it was not the actual music but people’s mood from listening to the music that helped learning in some instances. However, in all these instances it was listening to music or audio novels before (and not during) the learning/tasks were to be performed. How often do our children listen to music then turn it off and begin homework?

The study of how listening to sound affects performance has been in progress for more than 40 years. When what is being listened to has no relationship to the task to be performed it is called the ‘irrelevant sound effect’. This happens when the brain is trying to process two sources at the same time – processing the music and the task at hand. The brain has to work twice as hard to perform the task because it was also trying to process the music. This was especially noticeable when the task required rehearsing information and the results were even worse when the music had lyrics.

Another firm conclusion was that the best impact of music on learning is from actually learning to play a musical instrument. I spoke on this in more depth in my blog in September 2017, ‘Performing Arts linked to student success’.

This seems like the perfect segue to put in a shameless plug for our Open Day which is just two weeks away. Not only will you be able to see our students in music, dance and drama performances, you will also be able to have a sneak peek into our future Performing Arts Centre. Our Business Manager John Dohler will be managing the stand near the tour guides and you may even be able to enjoy a 3D experience of entering our Performing Arts Centre before it is built!

There are lots of fun activities for the whole family to enjoy on Open Day but it is always the students who are the stars. Thank you for supporting your children so they are the best ‘advertisement’ we have of our College. Please invite your friends and family to join us on the day and watch our students in action. You can share our Facebook event on your page or simply tag a friend on our page. All the details are also on our website and the 2018 Open Day Program has just been finalised.

I hope you enjoy our 2018 Open Day and look forward to seeing you there.





What do parents want?

Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) puts out a regular survey on this topic to examine the decision-making process parents undertake when choosing an independent school. This information is very helpful in providing quality schooling that meets parents’ expectations into the future.

I would appreciate it if you all could fill in this survey – especially if you are new to GCC. The survey will take approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete and will provide very valuable information for us to continually improve the education journey at GCC.

What Parents Want Survey link.

Mike Curtis, Principal

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