Less than half of the population in France play a musical instrument. Most students nowadays acknowledge immersing themselves in a musical environment for at least two hours each day and youngest people are regular attendees at concerts and musical events.
According to an informal investigation run among the Master students this year, we’ve found that the majority of students listen to music every day when going to work. Fewer would rather listen to music at home at the end of the day. In fact, listening to music or practicing an instrument appears to be a useful means to relax, allowing students to isolate themselves before an important event or sitting an exam. Others have suggested that music stimulates their brain and brings them motivation to accomplish the tasks of the day.
As for completing university assignments while listening to music, 80% of students acknowledge doing so. Most of them express a preference for a certain style of music according to the type of academic activity in which they are engaged.
For instance, classical music holds a major role in students’ working atmosphere. It has the advantages of not being harsh and of not having lyrics to which the attention is too often attracted.
When doing research for an essay or a presentation, students would rather listen to instrumental music (classical music, soft music or jazz). Some of them also listen to movie soundtracks, but they rarely listen to rock or metal since most of these styles include songs and thus lyrics which can influence their writing.
When summarizing courses, most of the student will still avoid listening to songs, but they do have diverging opinions on listening to soft or rhythmic music. It rather depends on the importance and the subject of the course. Yet, when revising their courses for an exam, the majority recommends not to listen to any kind of music. They would rather choose a quiet environment so that their mind can entirely focus on the subject.
Alongside stimulating thinking abilities, music has a scientifically proven effect on our linguistic acquisitions (perception and oral expression) through the process of singing*. This is the reason why reading aloud or singing when learning a course can be quite useful for people having an auditive memory. Some of the students use this method.
93% of students, either professional or hobbyist singers, sing (quite often, if not everyday) in any familiar environment (kitchen, bathroom…). Besides, singing opens the rib cage, works on the breathing process and lays down the rhythm of speech. This is therefore quite useful for oral performances in a lecture or for those wishing to become teachers.
Therefore, merging studies with music is not only beneficial for most M.Phil students but it also directly contributes to their academic accomplishments.
*Called ‘musicotherapy’ (Frégaville-Arcas, O. (2010). Musique sur ordonnance, Science et santé, 0 32-33), dealing with linguistic troubles and psychological traumas through the process of listening to music and singing.