College Info Geek

The Ultimate Study Music Playlist

This is a playlist of my favorite study music. It’s great for homework, studying for exams, reading, and generally getting crap crossed off my many checklists.

I’ve been working on this playlist for several years, and it contains music (all non-lyrical) from a wide variety of genres and sources, including video game/anime/movie soundtracks. At the moment, it’s got about 240 songs for you to choose from.

Listening on another app? I’ve worked to mirror this study playlist to other services. Check them out below:

  • Spotify Study Music Playlist
  • Apple Music Study Playlist

If you’d like, you can study with me in another tab while this plays. You can also listen to the playlist on YouTube instead of on this page.

By the way – I create my own study music as well! If you’d like to give it a listen, here’s a playlist:

You can also follow me on Spotify or on YouTube if you want to be notified when new tracks are released.

Need even more study music?

Here are a few options. – Music designed specifically to help you focus more effectively. It works really well for me, and I use it for around 50% of my research, writing, and reading sessions – the other half are mostly done with the playlist above.

Piano Study Playlist – If you’re in the mood for a more consistent playlist, check out this one full of solo piano tracks.

Coffitivity – Sometimes I’m in the mood for ambient noise instead of music, and the sounds of a bustling coffee shop are my personal favorite type.

Noisli – An ambient noise generator that lets you create your own mix using sounds like rain, thunder, fan, and white/brown/pink noise.

More Playlists

Work Vibes – My personal playlist of “getting-stuff-done” music. Most of the tracks here have vocals, so I wouldn’t read or study intently with them. But they’re great for crushing emails, working on design projects, or doing other work where I simply need to execute quickly.

Tom’s Workout Playlist – A collection of the tracks that usually accompany me to the gym.

The best music to listen to while you work or study

They say classical music makes the best study tunes, but are we really limited to Bach and Mozart?

listening while doing homework

You've probably heard that classical music is good for studying, taking tests and doing creative work. This idea stems from the " Mozart Effect ," a term coined in 1993 when scientists discovered that listening to Mozart's Sonata for 10 minutes resulted in better spatial reasoning skills -- a particular type of intelligence that involves visualizing and manipulating images in your brain. 

The findings in that 1993 study got blown out of proportion, however, and classical music became synonymous with intelligence: so synonymous, in fact, that in 1998, then-Governor of Georgia Zell Miller proposed sending a classical cassette tape to every baby born in the state, free of charge, so that the babies would become smart. 

Even though the Mozart Effect has been more or less debunked in the time since, some experts still argue that music can offer other benefits to our brains -- namely, concentration and productivity. 

Read more: How to create the best exercise playlist for better workouts

listening while doing homework

How can music help us focus?

Consider these few reasons why music might help you plow through your to-do list: 

Elicits positive emotions: People tend to be more productive and efficient when happy ( recent research confirms this ), and the right kind of music can put a little pep in your step. People who listen to music, in fact, may be happier overall than people who don't listen to music.

Makes you feel upbeat: Sometimes, work and life just feel drab. If you've been feeling bored, a happy tune can make lackluster tasks seem more appealing. 

Drowns out other noise: If you've ever worked in a coffee shop or an office with an open floor plan, you've probably been driven up the wall by the sounds of someone sniffling or shuffling their feet. Listening to music, particularly through a good pair of headphones , can drown out distracting noises.

Read more:   Best music streaming: Spotify, Apple Music and more, compared     


If you can't stand the sounds of your work environment, use music to drown them out. 

Can music really make you more productive?

Research on music for productivity is inconclusive, to say the least. Some studies show that background music can improve your episodic memory and overall cognitive performance , yet other research suggests that background music can actually be a detriment to your ability to focus and learn . Still others say that it has no effect one way or another .

There are factors that affect whether background music works, too: Some research suggests that background music needs to be free of lyrics in order to promote productivity ; other studies say simply that whether music aids in concentrating depends on how much a worker likes or dislikes the music . 

Note that the studies discussed in this section measure something different than the aforementioned Mozart Effect. While the Mozart Effect measures the ability of music to enhance intelligence after the music stops playing, research on music for productivity investigates background music, or music that plays while your attention is primarily on something else (your work).

Read more:   Best turntable under $300 in 2020: Audio Technica, Pro-ject, Fluance and more   

40 gorgeous headphones for people who are sick of black

listening while doing homework

What kind of music helps us focus? 

With the fact that there's no real scientific consensus in mind, it's worth looking at the handful of research studies on different types of music and their ability to aid in concentration.

Classical music

Despite the muting of the Mozart Effect, some research still suggests that classical music can help people learn and focus (just not as impressively so as the 1990s would have you believe). For example, one study found that college students who listened to classical music during lecture learned more than those who listened to the same lecture without classical music. Some research suggests, however, that classical (or any type of complex) music is best when performing simple tasks , rather than complicated ones.

Ambient music

Ambient music is a style of gentle, tone-based music that utilizes ambient sounds like the hum of an air conditioner or the buzz of TV static. Ambient music often lacks a true beat, usually doesn't have lyrics, and ends up blending into the preexisting background noise -- this is why ambient sounds like white noise are often used at sleep aids . 

In terms of focus and productivity, one study found that white noise can help people with ADHD ignore noisy environments and perform tasks with more efficiency. There's still a lot of work to do, however, when it comes to understanding when ambient noise helps and when it doesn't , according to recent research from the University of Alberta.

Nature sounds

We already know that spending time in nature is good for our physical health. It turns out that listening to nature sounds, even when trapped in an office, can boost your mood and promote deep focus . Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York found that soothing nature sounds, such as rainfall, can mask intrusive sounds and help workers stay on task. 

This Nature Sounds playlist on Spotify has more than one million monthly listeners, a good indication that the playlist works for something, be it relaxation, sleep or focus. 

Test your music system with these great rock tracks

listening while doing homework

What type of music to avoid

Just as particular styles of music can help you focus and get things done, other styles can sabotage your efforts no matter how strong your work ethic. There's no research that explicitly compares the effects of different types of music on productivity, but most people can probably agree that it's best to avoid distracting styles, such as dubstep music and heavy metal, while working. 

Truly, though, it all comes down to personal preference. And it's not as if experimenting with background music can really hurt -- we're talking about music here, not whether a food additive is safe or not . The worst outcome is a slow day at work and perhaps a bit of scolding from your boss. 

You should know yourself well enough to understand what types of music and sounds help you focus, and which ones don't. If you find yourself struggling to focus with '80s classic rock in the background, maybe it's a good idea to turn off the Guns N' Roses and switch to something with less electric guitar.  

It's worth experimenting to find out what kind of music helps you focus. I personally can't listen to any music, regardless of style or tempo, that has lyrics. I've tried and tried and failed. I just get too caught up in the words and can't concentrate on the task at hand.

Instead, I've found that I focus much better when listening to soft electronic music or nature sounds (particularly rain and waterfalls). Some of my most productive days have been the result of simply switching on a floor fan to block out distracting noises. 

In the end, as with all things, do what works best for you.   

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October 2021

Best Study Playlists - Study Music, Focus Music

Arizona Online

  • Online Learning Community

Everybody has their own routine for how to study for exams, do homework, read or focus on a particular task. Listening to a study playlist is a great way to center your attention and lift your mood. Listening to music can also reduce stress, which is a plus when it comes to balancing a busy schedule of work, school and family!

Music Therapy has proven that you can process a wide range of emotions from excitement to thoughtfulness depending on what type of music you listen to. When we’re studying, we’re probably aiming for thoughtfulness. Research has also shown music has the potential to boost memory, which can be a huge plus.  However, complex and distracting music might not be the way to go when choosing the right studying playlist for you.

We have found that the best genres of music to listen to while studying, reading or writing include minimalist, classical, piano and low-fi music. We’ve compiled some of the best lyric-free playlists that will act as brain food while keeping your attention on your studies so you can ace that test and earn that A.

Best Study Playlists on Spotify

This more than 24-hour playlist is full of piano and classical songs to help you focus.

Lofi Girl curates some of the most relaxing and engaging playlists. Her use of lo-fi tracks mixed with ambient pieces will keep you relaxed but never bored.

This playlist is all instrumental all the time!

Best Youtube Study Playlists

This is a deep-focus playlist so you know you’ll finish what you need to get done!

This Bossa Nova & Jazz playlist is a MOOD. It will transport you to a lovely cafe, on a rainy day.

This extra ambient playlist describes itself as “brain power, focus concentration music.” You’ll feel like you’re in a sound bath.

Music is just one way to improve your mental health. See more tips on how to improve your mental health as an online student.

* Arizona Online does not endorse playlist creators. Music is not guaranteed to boost academic performance.

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M usic is an indispensable part of our life and you will hardly meet a person who doesn’t like listening to it. Of course, it can be a music of different genres, with or without lyrics, modern or classical, but people enjoy listening to music and can combine a variety of activities with it.

Young generations are also fans of music and every second student has always his headphones. Students listen to music everywhere: on-the-go, in public transport, in the shower and even when they do their homework. However, the last habit is quite controversial as scientists have different opinions about the effect music produces on studying. Let’s analyze the viewpoints of different scholars and decide whether pros or cons of listening to music while you do your homework will outweigh.

How can music be beneficial?

It is not surprising to see different studies about the influence of music on learning and their results are sometimes opposite to each other. Some scientists claim that music can influence the brain work positively as well as provide a learner with some huge advantages including:


  • Useful for creative and reflection activities The study done at John Hopkin’s University confirms the viewpoint that music can be a great boost in writing , brainstorming, project work, problem-solving activities. It can improve productivity as well as be a perfect solution for several minutes of rest to recharge for the next activity.

music and homework 2

Negative impact of music on doing homework

At the same time, many students still call music a distraction. Why does it happen? The answer is simple, students speak about absolutely different styles of music.

It goes without saying that listening to the song with words you will be more likely to distract from studying by repeating the words of the singer. This fact was confirmed by the University of Phoenix where researchers have proved that lyrics activates language-processing centers of the brain and that results in a lack of concentration and difficulties to recall the memorized information .

The last fact was described in the book “ Educational Psychology ”. Context-dependent learning means that people will recall information better in the same environment how they were memorizing it. If it was a music background at home, there are few chances that this background will be at school too, so information recalling will suffer greatly as well.

One more apparent point is a huge difference in people’s learning styles. Some people will have a much better productivity studying in silence, the others chewing a burger and one more group watching a TV. Music can be beneficial only to some of the students as any sound can affect the performance of others negatively. Consequently, it is impossible to make the only right conclusion about the ultimate benefit or the toughest negative impact of music on student’s performance of the home assignment. The only conclusion is apparent: everything depends on the person and his study environment .

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Is it OK to listen to music while studying?

October 17, 2019

UOW researcher answers this tricky question as NSW students start written exams for the HSC.

It’s a good question! In a nutshell, music puts us in a better mood, which makes us better at studying – but it also distracts us, which makes us worse at studying.

So if you want to study effectively with music, you want to reduce how distracting music can be, and increase the level to which the music keeps you in a good mood.

Read more: Curious Kids: Why do adults think video games are bad?

Music can put us in a better mood

You may have heard of the Mozart effect – the idea that listening to Mozart makes you “smarter”. This is based on research that found listening to complex classical music like Mozart improved test scores, which the researcher argued was based on the music’s ability to stimulate parts of our minds that play a role in mathematical ability.

However, further research conclusively debunked the Mozart effect theory: it wasn’t really anything to do with maths, it was really just that music puts us in a better mood.

Research conducted in the 1990s found a “Blur Effect” – where kids who listened to the BritPop band Blur seemed to do better on tests. In fact, researchers found that the Blur effect was bigger than the Mozart effect, simply because kids enjoyed pop music like Blur more than classical music.

Being in a better mood likely means that we try that little bit harder and are willing to stick with challenging tasks.

listening while doing homework

Music can distract us

On the other hand, music can be a distraction – under certain circumstances.

When you study, you’re using your “working memory” – that means you are holding and manipulating several bits of information in your head at once.

The research is fairly clear that when there’s music in the background, and especially music with vocals, our working memory gets worse .

Likely as a result, reading comprehension decreases when people listen to music with lyrics . Music also appears to be more distracting for people who are introverts than for people who are extroverts, perhaps because introverts are more easily overstimulated.

Some clever work by an Australia-based researcher called Bill Thompson and his colleagues aimed to figure out the relative effect of these two competing factors - mood and distraction.

They had participants do a fairly demanding comprehension task, and listen to classical music that was either slow or fast, and which was either soft or loud.

They found the only time there was any real decrease in performance was when people were listening to music that was both fast and loud (that is, at about the speed of Shake It Off by Taylor Swift, at about the volume of a vacuum cleaner).

But while that caused a decrease in performance, it wasn’t actually that big a decrease. And other similar research also failed to find large differences.

listening while doing homework

So… can I listen to music while studying or not?

To sum up: research suggests it’s probably fine to listen to music while you’re studying - with some caveats.

It’s better if:

  • it puts you in a good mood
  • it’s not too fast or too loud
  • it’s less wordy (and hip-hop, where the words are rapped rather than sung, is likely to be even more distracting)
  • you’re not too introverted.

Happy listening and good luck in your exams!

Read more: Curious Kids: Why do old people hate new music?

Timothy Byron , Lecturer in Psychology, University of Wollongong

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article .

UOW academics exercise academic freedom by providing expert commentary, opinion and analysis on a range of ongoing social issues and current affairs. This expert commentary reflects the views of those individual academics and does not necessarily reflect the views or policy positions of the University of Wollongong.

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Listening to Music While Doing Homework and Studying: Is It A Good Idea?

words Al Woods

Music Whilst studying

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Nowadays, most students go to the library with their headphones and to the study halls. Although, the question is, does listening to music when studying help? Yes, it may help despite the distractions that come your way. Music can put you in a better mood, and in a better position to study.

You can choose to listen to soothing music because it has several advantages, like helping you beat anxiety and beating your stress while doing your assignments. The following reasons show that listening to music when doing your homework is a good idea.

Reduces anxiety  

When you’re studying, anxiety can be a crippling blockade, and some ways can help you beat the heat, especially when you’re writing that extended essay you were given from school as your homework. For example, you were issued a complimentary massage during each study session in your college period. As a result, your anxiety and tension levels may lower when doing your homework. So, the music’s effect on your anxiety levels during your homework time can be similar to the impact you have when getting a massage.

Your favorite music tune can reduce your anxiety as you do your assignment because it helps you feel relaxed. Also, you can opt to listen to rap music when studying or doing your homework because of the uplifting effect it may give you that may help you manage, accept, and know how to deal with your mental health issues. Since there is more than one genre of rap, you can look for the one that gives your brain the extra support it may want.

Increases creativity 

You may be in a situation where you are working on some assignment stressing you, and you don’t want to die of boredom . In that case, you can consider putting on your school headphones with microphone , then set the volume that you think is best for you, go through your playlist and choose your favorite songs, then enjoy yourself with the most soothing music.

It would help if you regulated your music to avoid distraction and concentrate on your work. The background music you put can help stimulate your abstract thinking and tune your brain towards a creative work mode. That’s why most creative people get attracted to the background noise music played in the cafes or the dams.

Energy motivation

You may be needing a quick pick me up, especially before a marathon writing session, and in this case, one or two stimulating songs can help in boosting your drive in tackling the awaiting drudgery. The music gets to engage the autonomic nervous system of your body, which shows that music can help control your psychological emotions at a certain level. Also, when the music you’re listening to is correct, it can help in serving as a fantastic stimulant that will help your pulse and accelerate breathing. It will help you do your homework well while motivated.

It can help ease your stress

It’s the middle of the semester, and your stress has run high because of the many undone assignments whose deadlines are catching up with you soon. It can be the perfect time to start doing your homework while listening to music. Music can help you reduce stress, especially when it’s not so loud. Even if you may be having some health problems, music can be your stress remover. When you listen to soothing music, it can decrease your heartbeat while reducing your anxiety levels.

Music can also help process your emotions while helping you feel relaxed because of the ups and downs when studying. In addition, you can opt to turn on the theme you can relate to because it will help you deal with your homework stress. So, if your college life has made you feel down or distracted you, then the best idea you should consider is putting some music on. Music will help you concentrate on your assignments and studies and keep your stress at bay while putting you in a learning mood.

Increases your focus 

Music can increase your focus because it can help your brain absorb and easily interpret new information. In this case, when studying, your brain can be processing much information that it receives from the world as it starts separating it into smaller segments. Music can help engage your brain and begin training it to start paying some attention to what you’re learning while making predictions on what may happen. So, it can help you study, especially when you struggle making sense of the new learning materials. Listening to music will make the process better and easier.

Also, it helps in learning where you can link the ability to make better predictions about the reasoning skills events. Of course, improved reasoning may not help pull some answers during exam time. But it’s possible to notice a difference in your reasoning ability based on your information.

Music helps deal with your noisy roommates

You may coexist in space with people who don’t keep quiet. In this case, your roommate may be fond of talking out loud and maybe doesn’t care about the presence of others and the reasons to speak in a composed way. Through this, it’s easy for you to get distracted if your roommate makes endless phone calls and has a lot of conversations. This nightmare can get solved with good noise-canceling headphones and good music. As you do your homework, you can consider music as the only possible way out, especially when you’re not feeling like going to the library.

Helps you memorize new information

When you decide to listen to classical music, it can help you, especially when you want to process some tasks in memory. There is a type of music that may help in boosting your memorization abilities and different cognitive functions. Music will help stimulate your brain, similar to exercising, which promotes your body.

In sum, music can be considered a big part of your daily life because you may need to listen to it, especially when you want to get many things done. In addition, radio or movie music may significantly impact how you understand what you’re learning.

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March 3, 2020

Does Music Boost Your Cognitive Performance?

The answer depends on your personality

By Cindi May

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Music makes life better in so many ways. It elevates mood , reduces stress and eases pain . Music is heart-healthy , because it can lower blood pressure , reduce heart rate and decrease stress hormones in the blood. It also connects us with others and enhances social bonds . Music can even improve workout endurance and increase our enjoyment of challenging activities .

The fact that music can make a difficult task more tolerable may be why students often choose to listen to it while doing their homework or studying for exams. But is listening to music the smart choice for students who want to optimize their learning?

A new study by Manuel Gonzalez of Baruch College and John Aiello of Rutgers University suggests that for some students, listening to music is indeed a wise strategy, but for others, it is not. The effect of music on cognitive functioning appears not to be “one-size-fits-all” but to instead depend, in part, on your personality—specifically, on your need for external stimulation. People with a high requirement for such stimulation tend to get bored easily and to seek out external input. Those individuals often do worse , paradoxically, when listening to music while engaging in a mental task. People with a low need for external stimulation, on the other hand, tend to improve their mental performance with music.

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But other factors play a role as well. Gonzalez and Aiello took a fairly sophisticated approach to understanding the influence of music on intellectual performance, assessing not only listener personality but also manipulating the difficulty of the task and the complexity of the music. Whether students experience a perk or a penalty from music depends on the interplay of the personality of the learner, the mental task, and the music.

In the study, participants first completed the Boredom Proneness Scale , which is a personality test used to determine need for external stimulation. They then engaged in an easy cognitive task (searching for the letter A in lists of words) and a more challenging one (remembering word pairs). To control for practice and fatigue effects, half of the subjects completed the easy task first, while the other half completed the challenging one first. Participants finished both tasks under one of three sound conditions: (a) no music, (b) simple music or (c) complex music. All of the music was instrumental, and music complexity was manipulated by varying the number of instruments involved in the piece. Simple music included piano, strings and synthesizer, while complex music added drums and bass to the simple piece.

The data suggest that your decision to turn music on (or off) while studying should depend on your personality. For those with a high need of external stimulation, listening to music while learning is not wise, especially if the task is hard and/or the music is complex. On the simple task of finding A’s, such subjects’ scores for the music condition were the same (for simple music) or significantly worse (for complex music) than those for the silent condition. On the complex task of learning word pairs, their performance was worse whenever music was played, regardless of whether it was simple or complex.

For those with a low need of external stimulation, however, listening to music is generally the optimal choice. On the simple task of findings A’s, such participants’ scores for the music condition were the same (for simple music) or dramatically better (for complex music) than those for the silent condition. On the complex task of learning word pairs, the participants showed a small but reliable benefit with both simple and complex music, relative to silence.

The results suggest that there are substantial individual differences in the impact of music on cognitive function, and thus recommendations regarding its presence in the classroom, study hall or work environment may need to be personalized. Students who are easily bored and who seek out stimulation should be wary of adding music to the mix, especially complex music that may capture attention and consume critical cognitive resources that are needed for successful task completion. On the other hand, students with a low need for stimulation may benefit significantly from the presence of music, especially when completing simple, mundane tasks.

Before students decide to slip in their earbuds, though, they should carefully consider both their musical selection and the nature of the task. All of the music used in the present study was instrumental, and lyrical music will likely be more complex. Complexity appears to increase arousal, and the Yerkes-Dodson law suggests that a moderate level of arousal produces optimal performance. When there is too little or too much arousal, performance drops. Thus, the benefits of music for those with a low need for external stimulation that were observed here could diminish or even disappear with the added complexity of lyrics.

Similarly, increases in the complexity of a cognitive task might also reduce or eliminate the benefit of music. Although the “complex” task used in this study (learning word pairs) was only moderately challenging, the increase in complexity, relative to the simple task, was enough to reduce music’s positive effect. With a highly challenging cognitive task (e.g., text comprehension or exam preparation), even those with a low need for external stimulation may fail to show such an effect with music.

With the right (low-need-for-stimulation) personality, the right (instrumental) music and the right (low-to-moderately-difficult) task, the presence of music may significantly improve cognitive functioning. Given the many other physical, emotional and psychological benefits of music, that subscription to Spotify just might pay for itself!

Cindi May is a professor of psychology at the College of Charleston. She explores avenues for improving cognitive function and outcomes in college students, older adults and individuals who are neurodiverse.

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Common Sense Media

Should I be concerned about my teen's constant multitasking during homework?

Many teens multitask with media while doing their homework, and most of them think this has no effect on the quality of their work. Consider the stats :

  • 51 percent of teens say they often or sometimes watch TV during homework.
  • 50 percent often or sometimes use social media while doing homework.
  • 60 percent often or sometimes text during homework.
  • 76 percent often or sometimes listen to music during homework. (In fact, 50 percent of teens think listening to music helps their work vs. 6 percent who think it hurts.)

But, despite what kids think and do, frequently using several devices at a time affects the ability to focus. Productivity suffers when switching rapidly between different tasks because the brain has to re-focus every time it switches to a new activity . Over time, heavy multitaskers can also have trouble with face-to-face conversations.

The challenge for parents is figuring out what's normal (but frustrating) teen behavior and what are truly unhealthy study habits. Listening to music while doing homework seems harmless, but many studies have shown that listening to popular music with lyrics can hurt reading comprehension and the ability to do complex tasks, but that more "zen-like" and classical music does not. But if your teens' academics are slipping, that's a red flag. Discuss your concerns and talk about ways to structure homework time, such as turning off cell phones and TV for a certain amount of time or allowing kids to check their texts only after they complete each assignment. Consider asking your kids to write down assignments and have them check each off as they finish them. Maybe offer rewards for finishing in a timely manner, since multitasking tends to make homework time drag on.

If your kid is really having a tough time blocking out distractions and staying focused, you might need some technical assistance. If your kid's school uses a 1-to-1 device program, ask the teacher if it comes with some time-management software or other controls that allow you to restrict access to non-homework-related sites. If your kid is using your home computer to do work, you might consider a parental-control program such as OpenDNS or KidsWatch that lets you separate homework from playtime.

Common Sense Media offers the largest, most trusted library of independent age-based ratings and reviews. Our timely parenting advice supports families as they navigate the challenges and possibilities of raising kids in the digital age.

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Is Listening to Music while doing Homework OK: 21 best Songs

Music and homework

Listening to music doing homework

Listening to music while doing your homework has always caused divisions in its effectiveness. Some argue that it is advantageous, while others argue that it does not help.

As long as the music doesn’t affect your concentration, then there is no reason why you should not play several songs as you do your homework.

This will help you if you want to handle assignments well. However, if you have no time for that, you hire an assignment writer to do the job for you.

listening while doing homework

Need Help with your Homework or Essays?

Is it ok to listen to music while doing homework.

The answer to this question is twofold. Music can help put us in a better mood, which is good for studying. Music can also distract us, which is not good when studying.

It is OK to listen to music while doing homework if it does not distract you from your studies. In fact, if you get used to listening to your favorite songs, you can increase the amount of time you spend doing assignments. However, listening to music can be a distraction from your studies if you are not used to it or if it is not your favorite playlist.

For music to be effective when studying, the rate at which it disturbs you should be reduced, and the rate at which it makes you feel good should be increased. 

Liting to music doing homework

Research has shown that listening to music while doing tests can boost your scores.

This is due to the ability of music to stimulate parts of the mind that play a role in mathematical ability.

This theory about maths was debunked, and it was concluded that the main reason music can make you do well in tests is its ability to put you in a better mood.

Kids enjoyed more pop music than classical music.

Children who listened to pop did better in tests, as per the research. When music makes us feel good, we try harder, and our minds are willing to take on challenging tasks. 

Music can distract us when studying. When you are studying, your mind manipulates several types of information at once and music can distract that.

The working memory gets worse when listening to music with vocals. Vocals and music lyrics can decrease reading comprehension. Introverts are easily overstimulated and listening to music while studying can distract them more than extroverts.

Bill Thompson, a researcher based in Australia, found that the performance of people when studying can be decreased by listening to music that is both loud and fast.

Those who listened to slow and soft music were less distracted. The difference was not too big. The decrease in performance was minimal.

Therefore, it is fair to conclude that listening to music while you are studying is fine if it puts you in a good mood and it is not too fast or loud.

If you are not an introvert, listening to music while studying is less distracting. Less wordy music is fine to listen to while studying. 

Why Do Students Listen to Music While Studying?

If you turn on music every time you study, it can become a stereotype that can help trigger your mental activity.

Students listen to music while studying to trigger their mental activity as they study. Some report that they enjoy music playing in the background as part of the studying environment. Students also listen to music as a form of entertainment while doing homework, a task they find boring.

Listening to music studying

Music can prepare and tune your mind to do assignments.

The following are reasons why students listen to music while doing their assignments:

1. It Helps Students Relax before Learning

Music can help you cope with stress.

In research conducted by the US Department of Homeland Security, it was concluded that soothing music consisted of classical pieces, and it helped reduce the level of cortisol in the blood.

The music had an analgesic and sedative effect, too. Turning on the appropriate music can help you relax after a long day of classes and concentrate on your assignments. 

2. Improves Concentration

When it is hard for students to concentrate and do their homework, music helps them to find motivation. Music helps create conditions that are right and comfortable for brain activity.

Mozart music, for example, according to scientists, helps improve alertness and concentration. Students can gather information and thoughts as well as process a rich flow of information. Using MRI, scientists concluded that music affects the most active parts of the brain.

3. It Improves Memory

Soft music plays a significant role in activating neural connections that impact cognitive performance as well as improving memory. Soft music increases intellectual indicators.

It enables students to remember new information better and be less biased in solving very unfamiliar problems. Students can rely on soft music to learn faster and improve memory.

4. Helps Increase Creativity

The average noise level is an example of a creative catalyst. If boredom is killing you as you are working on several assignments, you can put on your headphones to your desired volume and set your favorite playlist.

This gives students some pleasure as they work on their assignments. Always note that loud volumes may end up ruining your concentration.

Background noises complicate the process of processing information and stimulate abstract thinking, hence tuning the brain into a creative work mode. 

5. Helps Deal with Noisy Roommates

Most students live together in school hostels. Roommates at many times interfere with each other’s work. A roommate can be a very talkative person and merely cares about the presence of others.

Sometimes, they don’t see the need to keep silent. Music and noise-cancelling headphones can easily help you deal with this problem. Music can be the only way you have to concentrate on your work if the library is closed. 

5. Music Helps Feel Blue Without Any Consequences

Music boosts the psychology of students. Students often think about their problems when they are studying. According to psychologist Stean Kelsch, positively listening to sad music affects emphatic qualities.

A student can then easily cope with problems. Students listen to performers, associate with them, and empathize with them. The brain then can control emotions and allow the student to let out negative emotions.

The sadness that comes with listening to sad music does not cause consequences that are the same as real sadness caused by difficult situations.

6. Music Motivates Students to Study

Students face the challenge of knuckling down to studies. Sticking to studies once you have started is also a problem among many students.

Students’ favorite tunes help them deal with this by creating a playlist of songs that get them in the zone. If you don’t feel like doing your homework , you can use music as a motivator.

why music when studying

They get excited about the assignment they are about to do and focus on the outcomes.

Listening to music helps release dopamine in the brain, which is a feel-good chemical, according to scientists.

Tracing of neural mechanisms using tomography was used by scientists in the study.

It showed that listening to music helps increase blood flow and activate the brain parts that are responsible for emotions, motivation, and excitement. 

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List of 21 Good Songs to Listen to While Doing Homework

The challenge when it comes to selecting music to listen to when doing your homework comes with the type of songs. Do not choose music that distracts your need to stay focused.

Everyone can have a different list of songs depending on their favorite playlists. The music preference can be piano, acoustic guitar, classical music, Jazz, reggae, or any other genre.

The following is an example of a playlist that you can listen to when doing your homework:

  • Jelly 292 –Jimi Hendrix
  • Don’t play with my heart – India Shawn
  • Death bed coffee for your head – Powu t Beabadoobee
  • Friends Don’t Look at Friends That Way – Tate McRae 
  • Say Something – A Great Big World, Christina Aguilera
  • The Birth and Death of the Day –Explosions in the Sky
  • What If I Told You I Love You – Alie Gate
  • I hate you, I love you – Gnash t Olivia O’Brien
  • Ad Astra Per Aspera –Acceptance
  • Out of My Mind- John Mayer
  • Happier – Olievier Rodrigo
  • Shine on You Crazy Diamond (Parts VI-IX) –Pink Floyd
  • Guilty Cubicles –Broken Social Scene
  • Red-Eye –The Album Leaf
  • You Don’t Even Know – The Internet ft. Tay Walker
  • Open Eye Signal – Jon Hopkins
  • Symphony No. 40 in G minor, First Movement – Mozart
  • Canon. –Zox
  • Svefn-G-Englar –Sigur Rós
  •  Stone Cold Heart – Ana Whiterose x RUDENKO
  • Let Me Down Slowly – Alec Benjamin.

Josh Jasen working

Josh Jasen or JJ as we fondly call him, is a senior academic editor at Grade Bees in charge of the writing department. When not managing complex essays and academic writing tasks, Josh is busy advising students on how to pass assignments. In his spare time, he loves playing football or walking with his dog around the park.

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Why to Listen to Music While Doing Homework

listening to music while doing homework

Music is a proven tool that can help you concentrate. However, it’s not easy for some people to focus when even a light sound reaches their ears. Some people can even forget instantly that they were looking for essay writing help by and remember about it when it’s too late. It can be also a sign of irritability but can be fixed with the help of music as well. The trick is to test what music your mind perceives better.

Psychologists constantly repeat that a person should adhere to the schedule and strict regime to increase their work efficiency.

It is important to create the same work environment while doing your homework. Your table should be free of distracting things, and you should have enough light not to strain your eyes. Besides, your chair should be comfortable enough not to cause tension in your muscles. And you should turn on classical music in the background if you want to completely focus on monotonous work and immerse yourself in implementing your tasks. Besides, they recommend putting on “special” clothes for homework and making a certain “ritual” before the beginning. All these stereotypical, permanent things allow you to get ready for doing your mental work and increase your efficiency. If you turn on music every time you start doing your homework, it becomes one of these stereotypes that triggers your mental activity. Thus, when I am going to write my essay , I turn on the same musical composition every time, so my brain tunes to exactly this task. So, what benefits can you get from listening to music while doing your homework?

It helps quickly relax before learning

Specialists from the US Department of Homeland Security conducted a musical experiment and confirmed that music helps cope with stress. The study was based on combinations of different frequencies, durations, and amplitudes of tracks, which their test subjects were listening to; they watched their state and ability to relax. Most of the soothing compositions were variants of classical pieces close to Chopin’s music. Such music reduced the level of cortisol in the blood, had a sedative and analgesic effect. Thus, if you want to relax after classes and distract yourself a bit, you can turn on appropriate music for about 10 minutes. Another option to reduce stress is to order an essay paper to meet a deadline.

It helps concentrate

If you find it difficult to force yourself to start doing your homework, you should try to find motivation and create the right conditions for comfortable brain activity. Scientists have found that Mozart music and similar compositions increase alertness and improve concentration. According to a Stanford University Medical Center report, music affects areas of the brain associated with concentration and memory development. Scientists conducted a study using MRI. They tracked which parts of the brain are most active. Experts have concluded that Baroque music, written in past centuries, helps people gather their thoughts and process a rich flow of information.

It improves memory

Mozart music helps significantly improve memory and activate neural connections that affect cognitive performance. Scientists divided the participants into several groups, and each of them was listening to Mozart and Beethoven’s compositions. As a result, it was noted that those who listened to Mozart’s sonatas had increased intellectual indicators. People remembered new information better and were less biased about solving an unfamiliar problem. Another group of participants that was listening to Beethoven didn’t show such obvious changes, so the results of the experiment were called the Mozart effect. Thus, if you want to improve your memory and learn everything faster, play Mozart compositions in the background.

It helps deal with noisy roommates

It often happens that people who coexist in the same space interfere with each other’s work. Thus, you can live with a roommate who is fond of talking and who doesn’t care about your presence and necessity to keep silent. So, you can get distracted by such a person, their endless phone calls, and conversations. Noise-canceling headphones and music can help solve this problem. While doing your homework, music can become the only possible way out if you don’t want to go to the library, of course.

But in addition to homework, students often have to write essays on various subjects. Someone does not have free time, and someone does not have enough writing skills to perform such a creative task. Online services for students write test papers, essays, dissertations, etc. Written papers are interesting to read, they always correspond exactly to the task at hand. But how to choose a proven service? On , you can find detailed reviews of companies that specialize in student help. This way, you will save a lot of time on the search.

It helps increase creativity

Suppose you don’t want to die from boredom while working on some monotonous assignments. In that case, you can put on headphones, set the desired volume, choose your favorite playlist, and immerse yourself into the process with bigger pleasure. Be that as it may, loud music is unlikely to help when it comes to work that requires activation of the right hemisphere. It turns out that the average noise level is a kind of creative catalyst. By complicating the process of processing information, background noise stimulates abstract thinking and tunes the human brain into a creative work mode. That is why public places, such as cafes, dams, and parks, attract creative people.

It helps feel blue without consequences

Music psychologist Stefan Kelsch has concluded that listening to sad music positively affects empathic qualities and helps a person cope with problems. He believes that the listener associates themselves with the performer and empathizes with them. Currently, the brain regulates emotions, allowing you to let out negative emotions. Such sadness does not cause consequences on a par with real sadness that arises in difficult situations. Thus, sad music promotes the experience of pain without harm to a student’s psychological health.

It helps boost dopamine production

The hormone dopamine is produced as a reward for achieving goals and helps create a good mood. A study with a tracing of neural mechanisms using tomography showed that the subjects experienced an increase in blood flow during the experiment, activated parts of the brain responsible for emotions, excitement, and motivation. Listening to music that you like activates the brain’s reward system on a par with eating sugary, fatty foods, or socializing with loved ones.


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The Best Study Music: What to Listen to While Doing Homework

Singersroom Music

Students and music cannot be separated because they all love music and some can keep their players on an entire day. Music can help lift mood even when the student is alone in their rooms, relaxing outdoors, or walking. In the study room, not all music will be good when you are doing your homework.

You need to concentrate on getting the answers right because some types of music will just keep distracting you and you might lose an important point. The following music is good to listen to during homework time.

listening while doing homework

Hip hop is generally called hip hop culture because its lovers believe it promotes a music culture globally. Being one of the oldest music genres, Hip hop blends several tunes and vocals into one piece of a song that is vibrant, confronting, and celebrating life.

This is one of the styles of music a student can listen to while doing homework because it mostly speaks about real-life experiences and encourages a listener when they realize they are not the only ones experiencing a challenging moment. It can help encourage a student do homework even when they feel like the task is too difficult for them.

Other type of Homework help

If you want to do well in college, always make an effort to do all the homework your teacher assigns you. It helps improve learning and you will reap the good fruits of education. Despite your efforts to do your best and complete all academic work, sometimes you feel you need help. You don’t have to worry because Edubirdie can do your homework while you concentrate on your study. You can get help from their professional writers any time because they help every student according to their needs.

Country music

Country hits are mostly associated with things that touch on independence and freedom. The artists sing about situations they went through yet overcame. Some sing about terrible adversities like alcoholism, fighting, rejections, and such incidences and how they eventually overcame. Doing a ton of homework is not always easy because some assignments can be tough and complex. The student might feel it was not meant for them but if they can tune and listen to several country hits, they can start feeling encouraged and go on with their assignments.

listening while doing homework

Jamaican reggae is characterized by features such as amplified guitars, offbeat quavers, electric guitars, and a large number of drums. It is a genre that is more masculine than feminine and male students love this genre. Although it doesn’t have a unique rhythm, reggae reflects culture, values, and spirituality. Some researchers say listening to reggae can help students do better in math because the spirituality in reggae can help condition the mind to learn. If a student has some math to do in their homework subject, they might consider listening to reggae.

Classical music forms a combination of sophisticated tunes and vocals and this is what makes this genre popular. Researchers believe classical music nurtures the soul and helps grow the mind. Other studies say when a student creates a habit of listening to classical music, their language skills develop fast. They also benefit from improved spatial skills, reasoning skills, and better intelligence. These are benefits that can help a student do their homework better.


Instruments-only music was traditionally used as a substitute for vocals and to create music for dancing. Listening to this genre can help an individual learn better about other cultures and appreciate the expertise of instrumentalists. When used by a student, it can help boost critical thinking and improve development for creativity. These are important skills needed for higher student productivity.

Nature sounds

According to recent data, listening to recorded sounds of nature has many benefits to the mind. It helps reduce stress, pain and increase mood. The study further says listening to natural sounds helps an individual create a sense of safety and they can stop worrying about what is happening outside and concentrate on what is before them. A student can do their homework better when listening to recorded natural sounds.

Music has immeasurable benefits to students while at school, commuting, or relaxing. A student can listen to music to improve cognitive skills and enhance their memory. Students who create a habit of listening to music when doing their homework may enjoy doing their assignments without feeling stressed. Currently, there are over 1,000 music genres in the market and this gives a student freedom to choose which genre is best for them .

Author’s Bio:

Robert Everett is a leading writer and works for a marketing agency where is known for marketing collateral, brochures and PPT designing skills. He’s equally good in his freelancing job, where he helps students do their homework and essays on time and effectively. In his free time, he loves cooking Korean food, watching sports shows and learning digital art.

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Use Active Listening to Help a Colleague Make a Hard Decision

  • Cheryl Strauss Einhorn

listening while doing homework

Don’t jump straight to problem-solving.

Imagine a colleague is faced with a high-stakes decision. They’re likely stressed, conflicted, and overwhelmed. In these situations, many of us default to the role of problem-solver. We try to support our colleague by providing our opinion or offering a solution. But to effectively support decision makers in your organization, you need to step back from your own ego and just listen . This article outlines practical strategies for exercising four types of active listening: emotional, informational, analytical, and reflective. Active listening can be hard to do, but it’s a great skill to practice. It allows you to strengthen key relationships while giving decision makers the space to make decisions for themselves.

Arnaldo was the chief operating officer at a successful investment firm. Recently, the firm’s results had been underperforming expectations. This poor performance was due to one large investment that the chief investment officer, Russ, was committed to holding. Arnaldo had fielded several calls from investors who wanted Russ to sell the money-losing investment. So, when Russ asked for a meeting to discuss the fund’s performance, Arnaldo’s instinct was to make a pitch to sell — to solve the problem.

  • Cheryl Strauss Einhorn is the founder and CEO of Decisive, a decision sciences company using her AREA Method decision-making system for individuals, companies, and nonprofits looking to solve complex problems. Decisive offers digital tools and in-person training, workshops, coaching and consulting. Cheryl is a long-time educator teaching at Columbia Business School and Cornell and has won several journalism awards for her investigative news stories. She’s authored two books on complex problem solving, Problem Solved for personal and professional decisions, and Investing In Financial Research about business, financial, and investment decisions. Her new book, Problem Solver, is about the psychology of personal decision-making and Problem Solver Profiles. For more information please watch Cheryl’s TED talk and visit .

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Why Disagreement Is a Stubborn Enemy of Listening

Listening during disagreements is harder than you might think..

Posted May 26, 2024 | Reviewed by Jessica Schrader

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  • The anger we experience during disagreements makes it challenging to listen well to our conversation partner.
  • High-quality listening is essential for constructive disagreements.
  • Listening is trainable and requires effort and motivation.

A few months ago, I was at a restaurant with my family. A heated argument erupted between the shift manager and a waiter when we sat down. From the tone of the exchange between them, it seemed like we had arrived at a dispute that had started long before we arrived. The manager was furious at the waiter for breaking a tray with dishes, and he replied back to her, “Get out of my face.” Then, she yelled, “That’s it, I’ve had it with you!” She ordered him to put down his apron and told him his shift was over. The waiter stormed out of the restaurant. We and the other customers felt uncomfortable from the incident. Some customers even wanted to complain to the owner of the restaurant.

I tried to analyze the situation, or more simply put, whose fault it was. The waiter was very rude and what he said is not something you say to your manager (or even any other person). At the same time, I thought the shift manager acted unprofessionally by arguing with her employee in the middle of a (small) restaurant. I also thought about how contagious emotions are. Even though my family and I were not part of the argument, it made us feel uncomfortable and left a negative feeling for a while.

The following Friday, we had a big family dinner. I got to see relatives I had not seen for a while. It always makes me laugh to hear sentences like, “Wow, it’s amazing how your girls grew up so much.” (Of course, they did. You haven’t seen them in three years.)

During dinner, I had a disagreement with one of my relatives on a topic I have a lot of knowledge about. I started to get really upset when he criticized my perspective, especially when he barely provided any facts to support his argument. Then something interesting happened, although I had so much to say because I was angry, my mind “closed” and I couldn’t think clearly. It was as if everything I knew about the topic was erased, leaving mostly weak arguments in my head. It was like someone else was in my head handling this argument, and not in a good way. Moreover, my anger and willingness to explain to my relative why he was wrong prevented me from really listening to him. When he talked, I considered my next argument and judged him for expressing such “foolish” thoughts.

After our disagreement, when my anger and frustration levels reduced, I felt I missed an opportunity. Not only was I unable to communicate the knowledge I had about the topic in an effective manner because of my anger, but I also missed an opportunity to learn about a different perspective, and I might have also hurt my relationship with this relative. Why was it so important for me to “win” the argument? What difference would it make? How can it be that after 12 years of researching and learning so much about all its benefits , I did not manage to overcome my anger and listen well in this situation?

When we drove home, my lovely wife validated my perspectives. “You sounded pretty ignorant tonight,” she said, and as always, she was correct. I reflected on this experience and considered how to listen better in the next disagreement (and living in Israel will surely put me to this test sooner rather than later). As a first step, I decided to prevent myself from replying and focus on asking questions. This way, my mind should become less “closed,” like in a disagreement with my relative. I should be able to think more clearly and learn more about the other person.

I had such an opportunity a week later when I met a close friend at a pub, and we discussed a topic we both knew we disagreed on. I can’t say I didn’t reply, but it was 180 degrees different from my previous disagreement. I didn’t get mad and asked questions that made my friend and me think more deeply about the issue. We sometimes even reevaluate some of our initial thoughts. Most importantly, I felt it strengthened our social connection, which is the most important thing, much more than who “wins the disagreement” (if there is even such a case).

Our social lives are filled with disagreements, whether at work, school, in the family, or with our significant others. The challenge is handling these disagreements constructively so we benefit from them or, at the very least, that our social relationships are not hurt. As society becomes increasingly polarized around various issues, people even try to avoid conversations with others who hold opposite views.

This is why learning how to listen well is so crucial nowadays. When we feel heard by our conversation partners during disagreements, we feel more socially connected to them and are able to see our initial attitudes in a less one-sided manner. Listening is also an efficient technique to reduce speakers’ prejudice and makes them want to share more information with their listeners.

Listening is not a quick fix. There are many helpful tips for this important behavior. However, listening is a muscle that requires training . The good news is that every person can become a good listener. The first step is to set it as a goal, as with every other skill, and be ready to invest time and effort. People report an experience of high-quality listening when they feel that their listeners do not judge them and give them the freedom to express their authentic perspectives and emotions. In order to be able to prove such high-quality listening, we should also be non-judgemental toward ourselves when we realize we might not be as good listeners as we thought we were.

Itzchakov, G., Weinstein, N., Legate, N., & Amar, M. (2020). Can high-quality listening predict lower speakers' prejudiced attitudes? Journal of Experimental Social Psychology , 91 , 104022.‏‏‏

Itzchakov, G., Weinstein, N., Leary, M., Saluk, D., & Amar, M. (2023). Listening to understand: The role of high-quality listening on speakers’ attitude depolarization during disagreements. Journal of personality and social psychology .

Kluger, A. N., & Itzchakov, G. (2022). The power of listening at work. Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior , 9 , 121-146.‏

Knöchelmann, L., & Cohrs, J. C. (2024). Effects of intellectual humility in the context of affective polarization: Approaching and avoiding others in controversial political discussions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Advance online publication.

Weinstein, N., Itzchakov, G., & Legate, N. (2022). The motivational value of listening during intimate and difficult conversations. Social and Personality Psychology Compass , 16 (2), e12651.

Guy Itzchakov Ph.D.

Guy Itzchakov, Ph.D. , is an associate professor in the Department of Human Services at the University of Haifa.

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Ever since the discovery of whale songs almost 60 years ago, scientists have been trying to decipher the lyrics.

But sperm whales don’t produce the eerie melodies sung by humpback whales, sounds that became a sensation in the 1960s. Instead, sperm whales rattle off clicks that sound like a cross between Morse code and a creaking door. Carl Zimmer, a science reporter, explains why it’s possible that the whales are communicating in a complex language.

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Carl Zimmer , a science reporter for The New York Times who also writes the Origins column .

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Trump confronts repeated booing during Libertarian convention speech

Associated Press

Republican presidential candidate, former President Donald Trump speaks at the Libertarian National Convention at the Washington Hilton in Washington, Saturday, May 25, 2024.

Republican presidential candidate, former President Donald Trump speaks at the Libertarian National Convention at the Washington Hilton in Washington, Saturday, May 25, 2024. Jose Luis Magana/AP/Jose Luis Magana/AP hide caption

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump was booed repeatedly while addressing the Libertarian Party National Convention on Saturday night, with many in the crowd shouting insults and decrying him for things like his COVID-19 policies, running up towering federal deficits and lying about his political record.

When he took the stage, many jeered while some supporters clad in “Make America Great” hats and T-shirts cheered and chanted “USA! USA!” It was a rare moment of Trump coming face-to-face with open detractors, which is highly unusual for someone accustomed to staging rallies in front of ever-adoring crowds.

Libertarians, who prioritize small government and individual freedoms, are often skeptical of the former president, and his invitation to address the convention has divided the party. Trump tried to make light of that by referring to the four criminal indictments against him and joking, “If I wasn’t a Libertarian before, I sure as hell am a Libertarian now.”

Trump tried to praise “fierce champions of freedom in this room” and called President Joe Biden a “tyrant” and the “worst president in the history of the United States,” prompting some in the audience to scream back: “That’s you.”

This combination photo shows Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump at a campaign rally on May 1, 2024, in Waukesha, Wis., left, and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. during a campaign event, Oct. 9, 2023, in Philadelphia. Trump is addressing the Libertarian National Convention Saturday, May 25, 2024, courting a segment of the conservative electorate that's often skeptical of the former president's bombast while trying to ensure attendees aren't drawn to independent White House hopeful Kennedy, Jr. (AP Photo)

Trump is a Republican. RFK is a Democrat. They're both wooing Libertarians

As the insults continued, Trump eventually hit back, saying “you don't want to win” and suggesting that some Libertarians want to “keep getting your 3% every four years.”

Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson won about 3% of the national vote in 2016, but nominee Jo Jorgensen got only a bit more than 1% during 2020’s close contest.

Libertarians will pick their White House nominee during their convention, which wraps on Sunday. Trump’s appearance also gave him a chance to court voters who might otherwise support independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. who gave his own Libertarian convention speech on Friday.

Polls have shown for months that most voters do not want a 2020 rematch between Trump and President Joe Biden. That dynamic could potentially boost support for an alternative like the Libertarian nominee or Kennedy, whose candidacy has allies of Biden and Trump concerned that he could be a spoiler.

Despite the raucous atmosphere, Trump continued to press on with his speech, saying he’d come “to extend a hand of friendship” in common opposition to Biden. That prompted a chant of “We want Trump!” from supporters, but more cries of “End the Fed!” — a common refrain from Libertarians who oppose the Federal Reserve. One person who held up a sign reading “No wannabe dictators!” was dragged away by security.

Trump tried to win over the crowd by pledging to include a Libertarian in his Cabinet, but many in the crowd hissed in disbelief. The former president did get a big cheer when he promised to commute the life sentence of the convicted founder of the drug-selling website Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht, and potentially release him on time served.

That was designed to energize Libertarian activists who believe government investigators overreached in building their case against Silk Road, and who generally oppose criminal drug policies more broadly. Ulbricht’s case was much-discussed during the Libertarian convention, and many of the hundreds in the crowd for Trump’s speech hoisted “Free Ross” signs and chanted the phrase as he spoke.

Despite those promises, many in the crowd remained antagonistic. One of the candidates vying for the Libertarian presidential nomination, Michael Rectenwald, declared from the stage before the former president arrived that “none of us are great fans of Donald Trump.” After his speech, Rectenwald and other Libertarian White House hopefuls took the stage to scoff at Trump and his speech.

Those for and against Trump even clashed over seating arrangements. About two hours before the former president's arrival, Libertarian organizers asked Trump supporters in the crowd to vacate the first four rows. They wanted convention delegates — many of whom said they’d traveled from around the country and bought expensive tickets to the proceedings — could sit close enough to hear the speech.

Many of the original seat occupants moved, but organizers eventually brought in more seats to calm things down.

The Libertarian split over Trump was reflected by Peter Goettler, president and chief executive of the libertarian Cato Institute, who suggested in a Washington Post column that the former president’s appearance violated the gathering’s core values and that “the political party pretending to be libertarian has transitioned to a different identity.”

Trump’s campaign noted that Biden didn't attend the Libertarian convention himself, and argued that the former president's doing so was part of an ongoing effort to reach would-be supporters in places that are not heavily Republican — including the former president’s rally Thursday in the Bronx during a pause in his New York hush money trial.

The Libertarian ticket will try to draw support from disaffected Republicans as well as people on the left. Such voters could also gravitate toward Kennedy.

Trump didn't dwell on Kennedy on Saturday night. But, after previously praising him and once considering him for a commission on vaccination safety, the former president has gone on the attack against Kennedy. He suggested on social media that a vote for Kennedy would be a “wasted protest vote” and that he would “even take Biden over Junior.”

The former president, while in office, referred to the COVID-19 vaccine as “one of the greatest miracles in the history of modern-day medicine.” He’s since accused Kennedy of being a “fake” opponent of vaccines.

In his speech at the Libertarian convention, Kennedy accused Trump and Biden of trampling on personal liberties in response to the pandemic. Trump bowed to pressure from public health officials and shut down businesses, Kennedy said, while Biden was wrong to mandate vaccines for millions of workers.

For his part, Biden has promoted winning the endorsement of many high-profile members of the Kennedy family, in an attempt to marginalize their relative’s candidacy.

Kevin Munoz, a spokesperson for Biden’s reelection campaign, slammed Trump and top Republicans for opposing access to abortion and supporting limits on civil society, saying in a statement Saturday, that “freedom isn’t free in Trump’s Republican Party and this weekend will be just one more reminder of that.”

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Would a ban of social media for children under 16 be the action we need to minimise harmful health effects?

Analysis Would a ban of social media for children under 16 be the action we need to minimise harmful health effects?

A teenage girl with blonde hair holds a mobile phone with both hands, with the phone in focus and her face obscured.

While federal politics often seems "top-down", some issues are pushed onto the national agenda from lower levels. We're seeing this with the increasing concern to protect kids from the harmful effects of social media.

This week, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese sympathised with calls for limits on children's access to social media, while last week's budget allocated funds for a trial of age verification, originally recommended by the eSafety Commissioner. The government in November also brought forward by a year the scheduled review of the Online Safety Act.

But on the whole, the federal government has been lagging behind the states and activist parents on an issue that has immense ramifications for a young generation that has been recording increased levels of stress and mental health problems.

South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas has recently said his government will legislate, if feasible, to prohibit children under 14 accessing social media accounts. For those aged 14–15, parental consent would be needed.

This week, Malinauskas had talks in Washington with United States Surgeon General Vivek Murthy about the issue. The premier later told the Adelaide Advertiser Murthy had endorsed the SA plan.

"He [Dr Murthy] was essentially saying, governments don't have time to waste because this is now creating almost a mental health emergency among young people." Murthy also told him young people were more open to the idea of relinquishing social media than often thought, if their friends were off it too.

In New South Wales, Premier Chris Minns this week announced a summit, to be held in October, "to address the increasing harm online platforms are having on children and young people".

In Minns's electorate of Kogarah, in Sydney's south, there's been intense activity on the issue. A group of parents with children at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Primary School and St Ursula's College got together a few years ago to discuss delaying their kids getting onto smartphones and social media.

Parent Dany Elachi, whose daughter was 10 at the time, told me they thought concerted action gave them the best chance of "staying the course" against the pressure from their children's complaints, or pleas, that "everyone else" had a smartphone.

The group of parents had no connection with Minns, then the opposition leader, until reading an article by him in their local paper. His concerns chimed with their own and they reached out to him.

The Heads Up Alliance is now a national movement of thousands of Australian parents delaying smartphones and social media for their children.

The group lobbied Catholic authorities, and there is now a widespread ban on mobile phones in Sydney Catholic schools.

Minns, as premier last year, implemented a ban on mobile phones in NSW public schools. All states and territories have acted on phone bans, with Queensland and the ACT falling into line earlier this year.

These have been important steps, but perhaps the easy ones. More robust action involves greater challenges to big tech and their revenue and customer streams. Capturing the kids is central to their business models.


The Albanese government has already had a taste of what taking on big tech can look like in its fight with Elon Musk over the eSafety Commissioner's demand that X (formerly Twitter) remove a post showing the stabbing of a bishop at a Sydney Assyrian church.

Tougher action in dealing with social media is one area where potential bipartisanship should be possible. Opposition communications spokesman David Coleman has been a strong proponent of protecting children and age verification.

The NSW summit will be attended by senior officials, academics, representatives from other jurisdictions, and people from leading social media platforms.

The idea of age-limited access to social media — the next logical step — is guaranteed to be a hot topic.

While states have been leading the way, to have a prospect of working properly, any legislated ban on young people accessing social media sites needs to be national. There are likely also constitutional constraints to be overcome. Minns has expressed doubt a ban would be enforceable at the state level.

Some social media companies argue they don't accept children under 13 setting up accounts. But this has been unenforceable, even assuming the companies wanted to enforce it.

Albanese said: "We want to make sure that any changes that are made actually work. You don't want them being circumvented around the side door, if you like."

That's right — up to a point. It should not be an excuse for avoiding action. In reality, no ban is likely to be absolutely watertight.

Critics of a ban cite privacy, concerned about the sort of information that would be handed to tech companies to establish a user's age. But age has to be proven in many circumstances, and various methods could be used to minimise the privacy problem.

Also, some critics say social media is important, especially for young people who need connection; they say there would be harm in denying this to them. Here it's a question of weighing one side against the other: the negatives of social media against the positives for young people.

In his recent widely-publicised book, The Anxious Generation, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt argues Gen Z (born after 1995) have been "rewired". He dubs them "the anxious generation".

With a combination of over-protective parents and the ubiquity of modern tech, Haidt says we've seen a move from a "play-based childhood" to a "phone-based childhood".

"Gen Z became the first generation in history to go through puberty with a portal in their pockets that called them away from the people nearby and into an alternative universe that was exciting, addictive, unstable, and […] unsuitable for children and adolescents," Haidt writes.

This had serious consequences for their mental health, he argues, with girls adversely affected in particular by social media, and boys more by pornography and addiction to video gaming.

While Haidt primarily writes of the American scene, he includes findings from other Western countries, which he says show similar trends.

Haidt prescribes four lines of action. Parents should not give their children smartphones before high school. Children should not be on social media before 16. Schools should be phone-free. Children should have more unsupervised play and childhood independence.

Those who fear that social media, for all its pluses, can be a serious threat to young people, will believe a lot more needs to be done than we're doing now. The burden is not one that can be carried by government, schools, or other authorities alone. Parents must also do their part. But parents need help from the institutions to do it.

Back at ground zero in the battle to curb harm from social media, Dany and his wife have "stayed the course". Their daughter, now almost 15, doesn't have a smartphone or a social media account. "We bought her a basic phone," Dany says. "But it's so unappealing she rarely uses it."

Michelle Grattan is a professorial fellow at the University of Canberra and chief political correspondent at The Conversation, where this article first appeared.

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  1. The Best Study Music: What to Listen to While Doing Homework

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