Music and Studying: Friends or Frenemies?
This time of year at law school is associated with different verbs; studying, graduating, writing, interviewing, and outlining are a few of those words! The mood in the library changes a bit during the reading period and final exam period. It becomes more serious and more tense. Because of COVID-19, you may be studying at home this year instead of in the library. If you are at home, there are a variety of library resources which can help you, specifically the law library’s study aids collection. That is a fact and not at all controversial. But what is quite the controversy is whether you listen to music while you study.
Some say that listening to music while studying is a bad idea. They argue that the music can distract your focus from the material and can be annoying. Others swear that music enhances their studying and cite a 1990s study that made “the surprising claim that, after listening to Mozart's sonata for two pianos for 10 minutes, normal subjects showed significantly better spatial reasoning skills than after periods of listening to relaxation instructions designed to lower blood pressure or silence.” A further study refutes this so-called Mozart effect and that study’s authors claim that music can interfere with short-term memory performance.
It may be a matter of preference and not a matter of science but there does not seem to be general agreement, even here at RWU Law. Some of us (Prof. Raposa and Nicole) like to listen to music while studying. Nicole listens to the same album on repeat and has listened to that same album while studying since she was in high school. Dean Ortiz never listens to music while studying. Mike and Artie take a middle position and both listen to music without lyrics while studying. Mike particularly favors the soundtrack to the movie Last of the Mohicans.
Whatever study method you prefer, remember the librarians are available to chat if you have research questions or just want some study music recommendations!