Noor Salem, Teresa Xiao, Arfath Chowdhury, Annie Chen, and Rivka Aghababayeva
Abstract– Everyone enjoys listening to music, and because of technological advancements, more people can do so on their smartphones, computers, and iPods. This study aimed to see how students’ academic performance and confidence may be impacted by listening to music while they are either studying or participating in other academic activities. A cross-sectional design was used by distributing anonymous surveys among students aged under 54. A sample size of 68 students completed an online questionnaire. The data were collected from the survey through google forms and analyzed using google sheets, as well as graphs. The findings revealed that students studying with music have a greater chance of performing better in school overall GPAs than students who study without music. However, students listening with or without music is not likely to affect a student’s perception of how well they performed on assessments. Specific music taste as well plays a role in study concentration. This study can be used in future research to enhance student cognitive ability and concentration during assessments and academic programs.
Keywords– music, academic performance, confidence, satisfied
Music has become more commonplace with the introduction of new technology that allows people to access any song they would like at any time from their homes. As a result, listening to music became not only an activity for leisure but also a way of providing background noise for students completing school work. Many individuals today enjoy listening to music for a multitude of reasons, making the activity seem like a filler, but music has a greater effect on people than initially realized.
To study the magnitude of the effect that music has had on individuals ever since it became mainstream, we examined the effect that music has on students’ academic performance and confidence to dive in-depth into how music affects the brain. By studying students’ academic performance and confidence, we are able to get a sense of the effect of music on individuals in a more uniform, organized way.
Other studies have shown that music has a huge impact on academic achievements. According to researchers, music assists brain and neurological development and helps children achieve academically (Yoon, 2000). They also express music not only as a benefit for academic performance and brain development but also imparts many useful and applicable life skills. Certain life skills are essential and enable students to achieve not only in their academic subjects but also in their personal lives (Yoon, 2000). Another study found that using background music to create a good environment is possible. Background music has the power to affect students’ behavior as well as their emotional, cognitive, and physiological processes (Szentgyorgyi, 2015). Students’ productivity and relaxation will rise when the proper music is played at the right moments, and this will also help to reduce stress. Soothing music could be utilized as a technique in the classroom when typically developing students are over-aroused because different genres of music can alter mood and arousal differently (Szentgyorgyi, 2015).
Students have a positive attitude toward listening to music. Results show music aids in academic performance and that the genre of music while studying is the same for all genders (Jain and Gada, 2019). The interest in listening to music among students is growing rapidly today. Some of them believe it benefits them by increasing their efficacy and efficiency. While others worry that it will distract them and prevent them from giving their work their complete concentration and focus (Jain and Gada, 2019). In our classrooms, music plays a significant role, but its potential is frequently underutilized. People will not support something they do not understand, and they will not grasp something that is not taught in the educational system, therefore the connection between music and memory improvement is going unreported (Compabello et al., 2002). Researchers show that music activities aid in developing the intellect, improve student listening skills, and lead to increased interest in academics and learning (Compabello et al., 2002). In order to prove that music is beneficial to students learning there needs to be an understanding of music in relation to academic performance.
- Describe how listing to music affects students’ performance
- Determine the effects of music on one’s grade, confidence in assessments, satisfaction with assessments, and the time needed to study and complete school work.
We hypothesized that students who studied and completed school work while listening to music would perform better academically than those who do not listen to music.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
A cross-sectional study design was used because the exposure and outcome are measured at the same time. This study design was used for this research as a survey done on students. In order to assess the impact of listening to music on students’ academic performance and confidence. First, we created a survey through Google Forms to help us collect data. In the survey, we collected information on the participants’ demographics, their grade point average, time spent completing schoolwork, confidence after taking an assessment, their satisfaction with assessments, and how different types of music make someone feel while studying. An important question on our survey, “Do you listen to music?”, allowed us to split our participants into three groups: a group of students who listen to music, a group of students who sometimes listen to music, and a control group of students who do not listen to music as a basis of comparison. These three groups would allow us to compare and assess the effects music has on academic performance and confidence.
The research setting was a Mentoring in Medicine Program class via Zoom. The time frame of July 2022 to September 2022 by the distribution of online Google surveys.
The survey was distributed among students most in the U.S., as well as outside of the U.S. with a variety of social demographics. The data was collected from various students who are studying at current. For the survey, the total sample size consisted of 68 participants which consisted of 76.5% females, 14.7% male, and 8.8% preferred not to say. Out of these participants, 70.6% are students under the age of 18, 19.1% are students 18-24 of age, and the remainder is between the ages of 25-54 of age.
Convenience sampling was used to select the participants by every member of the group sharing the link of the survey to anyone they know, as well as the survey’s presence in the MIM database, and social media.
As the purpose of the study is to observe how listening to music affects the performance/confidence of students, the two main variables that were focused on for our research were whether or not students listen to music while studying and students’ academic performance. The two exposure variables for this would be if listening to music or not while studying helps students which is measured on a nominal scale and the academic performance/confidence level measured on a Likert scale. This is because the independent variable is students listening to music which in turn affects their grades academically. Since this can affect the other, it makes it the exposure. This leaves the outcome to the music that they listen to measured by the nominal scale. This is due to the fact that we were observing their performance by listening to music and their school progress.
This study aimed to, firstly, assess music usage, especially while studying, amongst students, and secondly, determine whether differences exist in these students’ academic performance and academic confidence when listening to different sound/music conditions (volume levels, calm, with lyrics, and without lyrics). Graphical representation is the visual representation of data that helps us to present our observations in a meaningful and easily understandable format. We used pie graphs to determine the correlation between grade point average to how many students believed that music is helpful in their academics.
Using the 68 responses gathered from respondents across the United States, a variety of variables were examined for trends and patterns.
Out of the 68 responses, 30 students said they do listen to music while studying, 7 students said they don’t listen to music while studying, and 31 students said they listen to music sometimes while studying.
Of the participants who responded “yes” to if they study while listening to music, 70.0% reported having a GPA between 3.7 and 4.0 and 6.7% reported having a GPA between 3.5 and 3.7, 20.0% reported having a GPA between 3.0 and 3.5, and 3.3% reported having a GPA between 2.5 and 3.0.
Of the participants who responded “no” to if they study while listening to music, 57.1% reported having a GPA between 3.7 and 4.0 and 14.3% reported having a GPA between 3.5 and 3.7, 3.0 and 3.5, and 2.5 and 3.0.
Of the participants who responded “sometimes” to if they study while listening to music, 54.8% reported having a GPA between 3.7 and 4.0, 19.4% reported having a GPA between 3.5-3.7, 16.1% reported having a GPA between 3.0 and 3.5, 6.5% reported having a GPA between 2.5-3.0, and 3.2% reported having a GPA between 2.0-2.5.
Grade Point Average (GPA) of participants on a 4.0 scale who responded “yes” to studying while listening to music.
Grade Point Average (GPA) of participants on a 4.0 scale who responded “no” to studying while listening to music.
Grade Point Average (GPA) of participants on a 4.0 scale who responded “sometimes” to studying while listening to music.
When participants study while listening to music, 4.4% are not at all confident while taking an assessment, 8.8 % feel slightly confident, 48.5% feel moderately confident, 20.6% feel very confident, and 17.6% feel extremely confident. Additionally, of the participants, 5.9% are not at all satisfied with their academic performance after they studied while listening to music, 5.9% are slightly satisfied, 33.8% feel moderately satisfied, 38.6% feel very satisfied, and 16.2% feel extremely satisfied.
When participants study without listening to music, 1.5% are not at all confident while taking an assessment, 25.0% feel slightly confident, 33.8% feel moderately confident, 36.8% feel very confident, and 2.9% feel extremely confident. Additionally, of all the participants, 2.9% are not at all satisfied with their academic performance after they studied without listening to music, 10.3% are slightly satisfied, 38.2% feel moderately satisfied, 39.7% feel very satisfied, and 8.8% feel extremely satisfied.
Confidence levels of students are measured in not at all confident, slightly confident, moderately confident, very confident and extremely confident after studying while listening to music.
Confidence levels of students are measured in not at all confident, slightly confident, moderately confident, very confident and extremely confident after studying without listening to music.
Satisfaction levels of students measured in not at all satisfied, slightly satisfied, moderately satisfied, very satisfied and extremely satisfied after studying while listening to music.
Satisfaction levels of students measured in not at all satisfied, slightly satisfied, moderately satisfied, very satisfied and extremely satisfied after studying without listening to music.
This study explored the impact of listening to music during studying. Commonly among students is the approach of listening to music while studying. Various researchers have offered varying viewpoints on this topic. Despite the fact that numerous research supports the idea that background music enhances students’ performance in schoolwork, just a few studies have focused on the negative effects of music on students’ ability to perform when they are completing school activities.
The findings of the current study demonstrate that students’ attitudes toward music while studying are favorable. This understanding may be attributed to the present trend among students, the majority of whom prefer listening to music. It appears that the students do not always listen to music when they are studying. Most of them only pay attention to it when they’re in the correct mindset to do so. The majority of the time, only a few students pay attention to it. Some may say that music is an alternative to keep them motivated. Because it has a favorable influence on the work done, music is frequently regarded as uplifting your mood. Music’s ability to uplift one’s spirits undoubtedly helps students focus better when studying.
We understand that music can reduce students’ levels of stress, which aims to help them achieve better academic performance. Also, we see that many students effectively manage to receive good grades on schoolwork when the background music is calm/relaxing and not loud.
After determining the kind of music that enhances study participants’ ability to concentrate, 49 out of 68 participants seemed to have better concentration with soothing and relaxing music. The other student’s focus began to decline as the music got louder and faster or they felt neutral toward it. This conclusion seems to point to one of two things: either students prefer listening to relaxing music while working on a task in order to improve focus, or when the music gets louder and faster, it inevitably turns into noise rather than music which may eventually cause them to lose focus or that it is natural and does not interfere with their performance.
-Interpretation of the Results
Based on the data that was collected, it is clear that listening to music positively impacts students’ academic performance. It was found that students who reported “yes” to listening to music and studying while listening to music had a greater number of students achieving higher GPAs than students who reported “no” to studying while listening to music. It was discovered that 70.0% of students who study while listening to music had achieved the near-perfect 3.7-4.0 GPAs compared to the just 51.1% of students who study without music achieving the same 3.7-4.0 GPA. In addition, in students who study with music 20.0% achieved 3.0-3.5 GPAs, however, in students who study without music 14.3% achieved 3.0-3.5 GPAs. Since students reported scoring higher and getting higher GPAs after studying while listening to music as opposed to studying without listening to music, it shows a positive correlation between academic success and listening to music and that students who listen to music are more likely to have higher GPAs and view greater scores than those who do not listen to music.
Students’ confidence and satisfaction levels during assessments were impacted to a certain extent when listening to music. It was found that 17.6% of students who studied with music are extremely confident when taking an assessment, but only 2.9% of students who studied without music are extremely confident when taking an assessment. However, 20.6% of students who studied with music are very confident when taking an assessment, but 36.8% of students who study without music are very confident when taking an assessment. The combined very confident and extremely confident confidence levels for the students who studied with music for an assessment was 38.2% while for the students who study without music for an assessment was 39.7%. Thus, the confidence levels as a whole were similar for students taking an assessment of whether or not they listened to music. Satisfaction levels were also similar in size where the majority of students who study with music reported being very satisfied with assessments at 38.2% and the majority of students who study without music reported being very satisfied with assessments at 39.7%. This suggests that studying with or without music is not likely to affect a student’s perception of how well they performed on assessments, however, students studying with music have a greater chance of performing better in school overall GPAs.
This study has a significant impact. If there are additional activities that can be done in the classroom that have been shown to aid in improving student learning, instructors should be actively attempting to implement those activities into their instruction and learning environment.
–Limitations of Study
There may have been some limitations that did affect the results of the study. To begin with, there could have been disparities in grades or GPA received among questionnaire responders and students who refused to participate. We asked individuals to report their academic confidence/performance and grades throughout the course of the school year and semesters, which could lead to recall inaccuracy. Furthermore, the questionnaire was not validated after being tested with a small sample size of the research population, limiting the relevance of its findings. In addition, because this study was conducted only amongst students, it is hard to generalize results to the general population, throughout the whole U.S., and at other institutions. In a cross-sectional design, the limitation is that we can say one thing causes another thing but we can still find associations and correlations. Furthermore, the survey was conducted on a time limit, which made it difficult to distribute the survey used to gather the data.
–Recommendations For Future Studies
This study only looked at how music affected students’ learning when they were working independently, which may not have given music enough chances to truly affect learning. Future studies may need to explore how music plays a role in enhancing children’s cognitive capacities and self-efficacy. As well as, looking at how school music programs can improve students academically. Using a larger population to see if music really helps students.
Listening to music will impact a student’s overall grade and this research revealed the conclusion that music had benefited students while learning. Students who listen to music are more likely to earn higher grades than students who do not listen to music. Students often think that music directly affects their academic performance, however, the study discovered that students’ perception of how well they performed academically is not affected by whether or not they listen to music.
When a student wants to listen to music while studying, it may help them focus to some level. This encouraging result is pertinent to support the widespread practice of students listening to music as they study because it has no negative effects on their ability to focus. In fact, it can boost academic achievement with higher grades. Similarly to this, specific musical tastes seem to have a big impact on how well students can concentrate.
We thank Mentoring in Medicine Inc. for providing the resources and leadership necessary to collect sufficient data for analysis and to synthesize this data into a coherent paper. We also thank Mr. Andrew Morrison and the MIM Leadership Team for coordinating the internship under which the paper was written and providing a timeline for its publication.
A special thank you to all members of our team for their dedication and for working diligently to make this research successful.
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