The Power of Music: Enhancing Your College Experience Through Sound
Learning Hub Ambassadors share the best ways to listen to music while studying.Nov 24, 2023
Walking around CU Denver on a crisp fall day, you’ll notice the bustle of students from all
backgrounds coming together to embark on their academic journeys. Look closer, and you’ll see
that most have earbuds in or headphones on as they cascade through campus onto their next
class... and you might wonder what they’re all listening to. Most likely, it’s music. Among the
many tools and resources available to students in 2023, music stands out as a universal source
of joy, memory, relaxation, emotion, and motivation. It can transport you through time, soothe
your worries, and even elevate your mood. The ability for music to connect with our emotions is
not just anecdotal; science actually confirms its benefits in regulating physical, mental, and
Multiple studies have enlightened us on the many ways in which music influences our wellbeing.
It acts as a powerful catalyst for enhancing mood, improving focus, invoking nostalgia,
promoting relaxation, and boosting motivation. For CU Denver students whose days are packed
with lectures, assignments, and the pursuit for the elusive school/life balance, music can be a
loyal companion in their academic journey.
The question that often arises among college students, however, is whether music can enhance
their study experience. Some professionals argue that it's more distracting than beneficial.
Cognitive psychologists have noted that true multitasking is a myth since attention is a finite
resource. When you're studying and listening to music simultaneously, it can come at a cost. The
information you retain may be compromised due to the focus being on BOTH the music and the
Despite expert opinions suggesting that listening to music can hinder your ability to retain
information, some students continue to embrace this study habit. For those who insist on this
practice, the Learning Hub Ambassadors (LHAs) Natalie, Ven, Saaida, Manny, Shi, Ethan, and
Jack are here to offer some helpful suggestions to maximize the supposed benefits.
Commercial-Free Music with LHA Ethan
Opting for commercial-free music is crucial. Commercials and incessant DJ chatter are added
distractions that can pull your attention away from your studies. The key is to maintain a
constant flow of music that complements your study rhythm. Ethan likes to play his Spotify
premium to avoid ads—“jumpscares” he calls ‘em. But with how expensive subscription services
are these days, he also suggests finding hours-long, free YouTube playlists for an uninterrupted
Lyrics with LHA Ven
Music with lyrics can be distracting. Songs that tempt you to sing along or even songs with
relatable lyrics tend to draw your attention away from the task at hand. Try changing up the
genre—listening to instrumental music may be less distracting than “New Music Friday.” Ven
suggests Masakatsu Takagi's classical works or even video game music compositions for
studying as it reduces the likelihood of getting caught up in lyrics or unfamiliar rhythms. Music
without lyrics allows you to focus on the material you are reading or writing without distraction.
Study music shouldn't drown out your thoughts; it should be a supportive background. The key
is to strike a balance that minimizes distraction and balances with your study style.
Choose What You Like with LHA Saaida
For the most benefits, listen to music you enjoy and that makes you feel good. A recent study
suggests that memory is improved not just by the background music itself, but also by the mood
boost it provides. When music uplifts your spirits, it creates a conducive atmosphere for
learning and retaining information. When Saaida needs to put herself in a better mood, she
relies on smooth piano music. The tranquil sounds lift her spirit while the soothing melody
calms her anxiety, allowing her the capacity to focus and to study more effectively.
Ambient Music with LHA Natalie
Ambient music is an instrumental form of sound that emphasizes textures, moods, background
noise, and the atmosphere of a given place. Natalie loves playlists featuring coffee shop
ambiance, which not only features music you’d expect to hear in a coffee shop, but also the
sounds of a typical coffee shop—the hiss of an espresso machine, cups clattering, and even the
low hum of other students in the café. These sounds are all muted to become part of the
background of her desired study atmosphere, creating a calming/relaxing effect. Students who
prefer a mix of both music and white noise sounds may find ambient music an ideal choice.
The Optimal Way to Listen to Music with LHA Shi
Whichever genre you choose to listen to, there are certain things to keep in mind to best utilize
music while you're studying. Shi points out that one of the most important considerations in
achieving her optimal study space is the volume at which the music is played. With the use of
earbuds and headphones, even calm music can be a distraction if it's too loud. A moderate
audio level will helps her maintain focus without overpowering her thoughts.
The Emotional Impact of Music with LHA Manny
Music can have a profound impact on your emotions. When you study, it's important to be in a
positive and focused frame of mind. Music has the power to evoke nostalgia, which you can use
to your advantage by listening to songs that you truly enjoy and that uplift your spirits. When
Manny listens to Fabrizio Paterlini, it takes him back to a simpler time before the chaos of finals
appeared. Your choice of music should align with the emotional state you wish to cultivate.
Take Breaks with LHA Jack
Regardless of what music you choose to listen to, remember to take breaks while you're
studying. The same applies to the music you're listening to. Jack suggests that when you take a
study break, consider switching up your music to something else or pausing the music
altogether to give both your mind and ears a rest. The balance between focused study sessions
and brief breaks is crucial for maintaining productivity.
The world of music is as diverse as the students at CU Denver. If listening to music or ambient
noise helps you study and focus, no matter your musical tastes, you are sure to find something
that complements your study habits and enhances your overall academic performance.
Remember that the decision to incorporate music into your study routine ultimately rests with
you, though. Embrace the power of music, use it wisely, and let it enrich your academic
adventure. After all, college is a symphony of experiences, and music adds that bespoke
soundtrack to your success. The art of finding the right background music for studying is a
The Learning Hub Ambassadors have given some great suggestions on using music to enhance
your study routine, but what are they listening to when they're not studying? They, too, have
their musical preferences, reminding us that even the most dedicated students have diverse
lives outside of their academic pursuits. It's a window into their personal worlds, where music
takes on a different meaning and holds a special place. Take a moment to explore the
soundtracks of the Learning Resources Center’s LHA’s!
Ven is listening to:
• Show Me the Body
• The Muslims
Natalie is listening to:
• Cigarettes After Sex
Shi is listening to:
• Olivia Rodrigo
• Taylor Acorn
Saaida is listening to:
• Sabrina Carpenter
• Taylor Swift
• Noah Kahan
Ethan is listening to:
• Troye Sivan
• Azealia Banks
Manny is listening to:
• Sleepy Hollow
• Pop Smoke
Jack is listening to:
• LCD Soundsystem
• The Postal Service