It’s the beginning of the week and it’s going to be a busy one. The gym sounds like a good way to start it off. I head to the gym, go on up to the third floor and get on the treadmill. All I can hear is the noise of people and the machines around me. I pull out my headphones and turn on something upbeat – nothing like a little motivation to get this week going.

Music is the heartbeat of life; there is a song for every mood and activity.

According to, the highest level of intrinsic motivation is known as flow. Flow is when there is complete focus on an activity to the point where nothing else matters. The website stated that athletes listen to music before competition to relax, mentally prepare, concentrate on the task and facilitate a state of flow. Having a state of flow isn’t just for athletes; it’s for anyone who needs to focus on a certain task.

Some of my friends enjoy listening to music while working on homework. This may be thought of as a distraction, which I agree with for the most part, but for others it could be effective in order to get their work done. Music is used for enjoyment; therefore, it can make a task easier to complete, even if that task is homework.

To continue, working out or doing homework both call for concentration. The difference for me is that when

Photo by: Sami medkinoff

Photo by: Sami medkinoff

I work out I’m thinking about my pace, concentrating on my breathing and focusing on the weights or machine that I’m using.

When I do homework I want to be in a quiet space, able to complete the assignment quickly and efficiently. If the music and its lyrics are motivational and positive then I usually feel like I will have a productive and effective workout.  I like to listen to upbeat music when I work out because it gets me excited and helps fuel my performance in the gym.

Aside from the gym, music could positively fuel students in the classroom as well. The textbook “Educational Psychology” stated that it is easier to recall information in the same environment that the information was originally learned in.

This means that listening to music while studying in your bedroom would allow you to recall the information better during a test if music is allowed to be played in the classroom.

I think that it would be a good opportunity for those students who can concentrate while listening to music to be able to do so through their headphones in class and see if it does improve their performance.

A 2005 study published in “Psychology of Music” found that workers who listened to music while working had higher productivity rates compared to those who didn’t. They speculated that music boosts mood, which improves motivation.

It is important to know that everyone has different styles of learning and a way of getting things done. I believe that in order to accomplish a task it is crucial to be in a quiet space with limited distractions.

Heather O’Brien can be contacted at

Share and Enjoy !