Thursday, October 6, 2011

Music vs. Silence

Whaddup readers?! This is Moiz coming to you via the new and improved UTSC Pulse Blog. I was asked to introduce myself in a short paragraph but personally, I’d like to think I’m a little (or a lot) more complex than a short paragraph! Anyway, my name is Moiz and I am a first year Neuroscience student at UTSC. I’m into performing/writing poetry and spoken word pieces so I figured being a blogger would be a perfect way to get my thoughts and pieces out there. I’m also a huge sports-fan, I love playing/watching just about any sport you can name (try me). You’ll be hearing from me every Thursday on this very blog! Agree or disagree with what I have to say? Have an idea that you'd like me to blog about? I am open to all kinds of feedback and questions so feel free to leave whatever in the comments box below! That’s enough about me; let’s get into what this blog is really about.

Listening to music while studying or doing independent work: some people can’t live without it and some can’t live with it. Personally, I am a music-junky. Music is what helps me get through those long and boring school days, those days where it seems like nothing is going my way, and even days where I’m just happy for the sake of being happy. It puts me into my own little world away from the distractions/stress in real life.

When it comes to listening to music while doing work or studying, I’ve heard the arguments go both ways. I realized the beneficial effects music had on me a couple of years ago. I was playing COD on my PlayStation and my parents had recently given me an iPod. I decided to listen to music half way through my game and after a couple of minutes I noticed a distinct difference in the way I played. It was as if I were more relaxed and less hesitant with what I did. That’s when I realized that music helped me relax and kept me distracted from outside distractions (does that even make sense?) which ultimately kept me focused on the task at hand. So basically, being distracted from distractions lead to me being more focused (yes, it makes sense to me).

On the other hand, I’ve heard people say that they absolutely cannot listen to music while they study because they get too caught up in the music and can’t focus on anything else. It didn’t make sense to me at first but eventually, I realized that everyone is different. Everyone has a different way of learning, studying, thinking, etc. If something such as listening to music while studying can produce great results for one person, the same thing could produce negative results to another. It all depends on how their mind reacts to what’s being thrown at it.
This is not only the case for students but for the average everyday worker as well. Listening to music while working has been shown to increase an employee’s production and even enlighten his/her mood.

Now, the type of music you listen to all depends on personal preference. I, being the music-junky that I am, love all types of music. Although I do lean towards Hip Hop, Rap and RnB, I open myself up to all kinds of music that either I can relate to or just groove to. People often ask me how I listen to Hip Hop and Rap while I study because a lot of people believe it’s loud and obnoxious. I understand where they are coming from but it’s actually the opposite. Rap and Hip Hop can be thought-provoking and easily related to by everyone.

The results you see will depend heavily on your personal tastes. Experiment with the types of music you listen to during certain tasks. Through trial and error, you’ll eventually discover your optimal soundtrack. I’m always looking for new concentration aids, so I’d love to know what type of music or other technique works best for you. It might not seem like a big deal, but listening to music can change your state of mind, causing changes in mood and productivity. 

For me, music has become more of a lifestyle. Happy Listening!

Moiz’s quote of the week: “headphones on, world off.”

My Current Study/Work playlist:
Mr. Nice Watch – J. Cole
Dollar and a Dream III – J. Cole
Cole World – J. Cole
Gone – The Weeknd
Loft Music – The Weeknd
Northern Wind- City and Colour
One and Only- Adele
I want you back- The Jackson 5

Do you listen to music while working? Why or Why not? If you want me to check out specific playlists/tracks you have for studying or working, leave them in the comments below!


  1. as far as the sports go - how about Curling?

    as for the music - most of time I've got to have music on and the type of music reflects the task at hand. If I'm doing image work - then I'll select music based on the kind of energy I'm after - could be anything from Hip Hop / Rap through to classic singer songwriters - however - if I'm working with words at all - I can't lyrics as the words tend to get mixed up with what i'm trying to read or especially write.

    so - for me - it's instrumental and non boring instrumental music at that!

    Good luck with your writing - there's a fairly active neuroscience topic over on Quora which you might find interesting:

    and may give you some ideas on what to look at!

    best of luck


  2. Alright fine, you win. Curling isn't my kind of sport. And I totally agree with the energy thing. Before my High School Basketball games, I use to blast some Hip Hop and Rap just to get myself more energized for the game. Thank you for your feedback and comments and I'll definitely check that site out! Thanks!

  3. Cool post.
    A couple of people in my office debated that same point.
    Some could only study in silence (no music).
    I actually need music playing if I want to study. I actually have 2 dedicated playlists on my iPod.

    Plus I've had a really good exam experience with music. I actually started to mentally sing a song I was listening to while studying. I ended up getting back on track (mid-exam no less), and killing the exam!
    I won't say that will work for everyone, but it did for me.

    That and listening to some songs pre-exam totally get you hyped up, and in the mental state of "I'm going to ace this!!"

    Some good songs I'd recommend (out of my own playlists) are:
    Enjoy Ya Self - Slakah the Beatchild
    100 Yard Dash - Raphael Saadiq
    Tightrope - Janelle Monáe
    Say What's Real - Drake

    Can't wait for the next post!

  4. I am totally in the same boat as you Subuhi. And I love your playlist! Those are songs that I would personally listen to during anytime of the day! Thank you!


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