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Does Music Help Teens Get Good Grades in School?

By Jenny White ; Updated June 13, 2017

Listening to the right music while studying can contribute to the intellectual development of teens. Some parents, unsure of the kind of music that improves learning, discourage their teens from listening to music, terming it a distraction to their studies. However, specific beats of music have been found to encourage critical thinking and develop mathematical concepts. According to the Center for New Discoveries in Learning, music activates the whole brain and makes you feel more energetic.

Organized Music Lessons

According to a 2006 report published in the "Journal of Educational Psychology," researcher Glenn E.Schellenberg established that children's IQ and academic performance can be enhanced by taking music lessons. These lessons gives teens the opportunity to learn about the aspects of music that are fundamental to mental functioning. Schellenberg notes that the effect of music on the brain is even larger when lessons are taken for longer times. Encourage your teens to attend music lessons often to increase their chances of getting better grades.

Background Music

Having music play in the background as teens study creates a relaxed atmosphere, which helps to improve concentration while studying. Higher concentration enhances the brain's content absorption rate. A 2010 article at, a teachers' resource website, notes that playing music in the background during study time is successful in most contexts. It, however, warns that not all people are comfortable with background music. In a classroom, background music helps teens build their confidence, especially when studying in groups. If the groups are competing, music creates a barrier of privacy allowing the teens to contribute openly. This promotes a studying culture that improves grades.


Music does not necessarily make teens more intelligent, but can help optimize their natural skills for academic excellence. Joseph Cardillo, author and research psychologist, states in a 2012 article that listening to relaxing music facilitates meditation, a state of mind that can help teens visualize and mentally prepare for their class work. Meditation helps teens to lower their levels of anxiety, and focus on achieving the academic goals they are pursuing.

Music Genre

The genre of music your teen listens to can influence his study habits. In a 2012 article in "The Equinox" magazine, arts and entertainment editor Sam Norton observed that the ability of a person to listen to music without becoming distracted depends on its genre. Teens who listen to instrumental music develop good study habits because they are unlikely to be distracted. Music with an upbeat tempo is more likely to distract, leading to development of poor study habits in teens.

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