Can Music Distract Us? – Is Music a Distraction?

We all know that music can be rather beneficial for us. We can be happier just by listening to a song we enjoy, let alone listening to an entire concert of our favorite band. We can do much more when listening to music.

But, on the other hand, can we be distracted by music? Are there ways that music can take away some of the positive things we get from it and if so, how much? Can music be a distraction?

Yes, and here are a couple of ways we can be distracted by music.

Music as a Distraction – Aggressive Music Does not Help

If you are doing work which requires you to memorize stuff, music which is aggressive, loud or has a very fast tempo can really take up your working memory and make it impossible for you to do a task. The same goes for studying, or even driving. People who are learning new things should stay away from aggressive music at all costs. It is better to learn in silence than be distracted with every note and beat of the drum. Music is not beneficial when you are learning a new thing, especially if you need to focus on the task at hand.

Music With Lyrics Might Distract You Still

Yes, your favorite song came up. What do you do? Do you continue programming or do you start singing along, even silently? If you start singing along, then you are not really coding anymore, are you? Your work will suffer for those five minutes, most likely.

The problem with music with lyrics is that the lyrics often call attention to themselves. You can either like them, be indifferent or hate them. The first and third options are the most likely ones to cause a reaction from you. Either way, you will lose focus and will probably need to switch songs or drop the music altogether, neither of which is helpful for getting the job done.

If The Task is Right Music Can Help

Music can be a distraction for so many people, especially if they are learning something new. But, for people who have mastered movements, both mentally and physically, music can help them achieve the focus needed to execute those movements perfectly. A practitioner of parkour can vault over obstacles much better with music playing in their ears as well as a surgeon, who can perform an operation smoothly with the music helping them stay focused and stress-free.

If the task is not right, music can become a serious distraction, to the point of it being cumbersome. For example, driving and a bunch of songs which you dislike end up getting played, you will probably want to change the station. If, on the other hand the songs end up being the ones you love, you can also end up singing and dancing, which isn’t the best thing to do while driving.

Music can be many things to us, beneficial and a distraction. It can become a serious distraction if the situation is not right. If we are working or learning something new, and our attention is required elsewhere, we might benefit from silence. On the other hand, experts who have mastered their job will benefit from the right type of music to find their focus and “zone”.

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