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How can you use music to boost learning?

by Matthew Barnett1 min read17th Aug 20191 comment



I often find that I am able to appreciate the beauty of a subject more while listening to music (especially instrumental music). Hearing the notes while I think about the topic helps creates a lot of subconscious connections with the material, solidifying what I am learning as a distinct set of memories. In general I think that associations with powerful sensory experience is just a good way to remember things and learn.

However, I have also heard that listening to music can distract you when you are trying to do deep work. Apparently, there is some research on this, but I have barely scratched the surface of the literature, and I wouldn't know where to start.

Is there an optimal way to use music to learn? Should I employ certain strategies, like putting on the music only after I've read something, so that I can think about what I just read while music floats through my consciousness?

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