Is it a Good Idea to Listen to Music While Reading?

Do you like listening to music while reading? If yes then have you ever thought how it affects your reading process? Does it allow you to read faster or does it slow you down? How does it affect the reading comprehension?

First, it must be stated that if you want to read fast then you have to concentrate well to the text you are reading. Your thoughts have to be focused and you should not let your mind to wander away. Poor concentration leads to slow reading speed. In addition, it hurts your reading comprehension. If your mind is not with the text you may lose track while reading and you will have problems with memorizing the content of the reading material.

It means that the effect of music on speed reading and comprehension should be judged upon the effect of music on your concentration. The question is can music distract you or could it be helpful for achieving better concentration.

It has to be noted that in most cases human mind can efficiently deal with only one task at the same time. For example, if you are reading and talking to the telephone simultaneously, then it is likely that your reading speed will be slower, you may have difficulties in memorizing the text and the phone call may not be as successful as you wished. So, if you want to be efficient then you should not read and talk with the telephone at the same time.

If the music that we are listening to starts to distract us in a way that we focus on the music instead of focusing on the text then our reading performance will suffer. If the music is for background and if it does not turn our attention away from the text, then music is not a distracting factor for reading.

It depends on your personality and some people find listening to music supporting to their reading process, while for the others the effect of music can be the opposite. Many people can not feel comfortable in a complete silence. For them, background music can create a more comfortable environment. Still, music should be there only for the background and it means that it should not be catchy. The music should not be so attractive that you start listening to it. It can be there for creating the atmosphere, but you should not listen to it attentively while reading. Therefore instrumental music is better for reading as there is no possibility for listening to the lyrics. It is good if the music is relaxing by its nature, so heavy metal would not be a wise choice. You can listen to sounds of the nature or music for meditation while reading.

You may also want to listen to music when you are in a noisy environment, such as an office, where other people are chatting, making phone calls etc. Then you can put on your earphones, and the music helps you to isolate from disturbing noises. Putting the earphones on may also helps in situations when you get often interrupted by your collections, who start chatting to you. If you have your ears on then other people usually will not disturb you unless the have a serious issue to talk about.

To find out if the background music is good for your reading performance you can try out reading with and without music. Afterwards you can compare in which situation you can read more focused. Try to observe if the music starts turning your attention away from the text. If that is the case, then reading and music do not mix for you or at least you should try different type of music, which is less catchy.

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