Reading with music is overrated

Why Reading With Music is Overrated

by Stella Agboola

“I love to listen to music while reading; it makes my reading fun and prevents sleep”. Have you heard someone you know utter such words?

On the other hand, other people do not feel the same way about reading with music. They believe that assimilating a material or content with music is not possible. 

What is the right thing to do? To read with music or not to read with music? Is reading with music overrated?

Several Nigerians from different backgrounds and personalities have given their real-life experiences for you and me to learn from when it comes to reading with music.

After reading their comments, it will be possible to decide whether reading with music is overrated. 

Is Music a Distraction While Studying?

Person A says: “Music is a big distraction. The mind cannot process more than one piece of information at a time.”

Person B says: “I used to read with music, but later on, I realized it distracted me a lot”

Person C says: “If I know the song, it is a distraction. But if I am sleepy, I can use music to keep me going. If I do not know the song, I might not be distracted.”

Person D says: “I feel reading with music is inefficient. One can only focus on one thing at a certain point in time. On the other hand, listening to music before reading refreshes my mind. I tend to forget about all other things and focus on the reading. It gets me to a state of flow”.

Person E says: “I don’t read with music. I read in silence or white noise [background music or natural sounds or cars or people moving around] or noise that doesn’t distract me or concern me. But music, no. This is because I like music. I will want to listen, and it will distract me.”

Person F says: “The type of music you listen to matters when reading. I listen to classical music while reading.

Person G says: “Reading and listening to music cannot go together. Our mind cannot concentrate on two important things at a time”.

From the experiences of the above Nigerians, will it be right to say that reading with music is overrated? What can be taken from their comments?

  • For many, music, especially very loud and wordy ones, can be very distracting, especially when the genre of music has a partying vibe to it or when it is a chaotic kind of music.
  • More often than not, unless the music type or genre is slow, not wordy, and calm, it reduces our concentration level because our minds cannot process multiple pieces of information at a time, just as our hands cannot do so much work at a time. 
  • It is possible that we may not know that listening to music while reading is not something we can do unless we pay critical attention to ourselves.
  • Listening to music that soothes us before reading can be helpful, especially if we feel stressed or have many things on our minds before preparing to read. Doing this will open and prepare our minds and hearts to assimilate what we are about to read. 
  • Some genres of music are not distracting because they are not loud, nor are they wordy. One of these genres of music is classical music, such as those by a singer called Mozart. Although classical music is not verbose, they allow full concentration on the reading material. 
  • Reading with music that we know is more distracting than reading with music that we do not know or are hearing for the first time. When studying complex materials, if we must listen to music at all, opting for songs that we are not very familiar with is a better option.

Does the distracting aspect of reading with music rule music as ineffective? Are there any benefits of listening to music while reading? Is reading with music overrated?

Is Reading With Music Effective?

Person H says: “I read well with music only when I am going over the same material the second time and other consequent readings. Music also helps me stay awake when I feel bored or sleepy while reading. For me, music is like a medicine to avoid sleeping/dozing while reading”

Person I says: “reading generally has to deal with digesting the content of what is being read. As a reader, what determines my understanding of the reading is the state of being while reading.

When time is limited, and worse comes to worst, mood and fatigue are inconsiderable factors. Hence, I seek an energy booster or a mind opener, which in most cases, mu ideal reading environment [serene] or music that suits the ambience.

Person J says: “Whenever my assimilation is somewhat slow, or the concept of what I am studying is complex, I often turn off the music. I use music to read at times to spice up the entire reading process… and rarely to concentrate whenever I am studying in a busy or noisy environment.

Person K says: “Music helps me stay awake when I feel bored or sleepy while reading. For me, music is like a medicine to avoid sleeping/dozing while reading. 

With the above comments, is reading with music overrated? It is important to note that music can be effective in the following situations:

  • Sometimes, because of other activities that have taken place before reading, be it work or school activities, stress might be inevitable. In such situations, music can help us stay mentally alert. 
  • In situations where we cannot help but study in our current environment, and there are noises from humans around us, music can be of more help than harm. In cases such as these, music performs the role of blocking out distracting sounds. 
  • Reading can sometimes be tiring and boring. The urge to drop the study material can be great, but what will serve as motivation to keep going in such a situation is music, and the genre of music in this situation might have to be pop or rocks.
  • Listening to music before reading can be more effective than listening to music while reading. What does music before reading do? It clears the mind of all distractions. 

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Disadvantages of Reading With Music

Are there disadvantages to studying with music? Yes!! Although music can be needed when studying in some unique situations like the ones mentioned above, it is impossible to carry out two activities simultaneously and give both activities a hundred percent focus. Reading with music is overrated because:

  • It causes distraction and reduces concentration.
  • More often than not, digesting the content of what is being read becomes very difficult or impossible.
  • Very loud music can disrupt the proper functioning of the mind rather than relax the mind.
  • Most times, music, especially chaotic music, can add to the distraction rather than remove it. 
  • When an individual becomes too dependent on music, reading when there is no music in sight becomes practically impossible. 


Is reading with music good or bad? There is no yes or no answer to this question. More often than not, some situations, such as those mentioned earlier, may call for listening to music while studying.

However, reading with music is overrated and bad for proper comprehension of an average individual. 

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About Author

Avatar of Stella Agboola
Stella Agboola
Stella Agboola is a content creator who specializes in the field of health and disease. She also has a personal blog where she discusses social-related content. In addition, she is an avid reader of domestic thrillers and African novels. At her leisure, she reads books and listen to podcasts for information and entertainment.

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