Utilize Music To Enhance Comprehension
We have all heard the almost universally accepted myth that listening to Mozart makes one “smarter”. That with the mere swells of listening to his majestic symphony, neurons would be rewired in our brains, synapses firing in ways they have never before, and our minds suddenly being capable of performing intellectual feats we never imagined possible.
Alas, this is not completely true. However, music can, when used selectively, help a reader mildly enhance focus, concentration, and comprehension.
If hearing classical music or jazz puts you in an inspired mood, then by all means, have some playing while you work or study at a volume that is low enough so as not to become a distraction to you or others. The Mozart example mentioned previously was mainly attributed to the placebo effect. The classical music, especially played to those who do not regularly listen to it, make people feel a tad bit more relaxed and sophisticated with it on, thus putting them in a genuinely more productive mindset. However, if you find yourself distracted or rocking out, then it is no longer functioning positively in regards to your reading.
Many times, just a tiny bit of aural stimuli will help break up a particularly tedious block of reading material for pure psychological support. If, for this reason alone, music can help you manage through a long or difficult reading session, then it is worthwhile. This is especially helpful if it counteracts sleepiness or fatigue which in turn leads to loss of focus, concentration, and the inevitable, seemingly endless rereading.
Another useful benefit to having music on while reading is that it can slightly interfere with the natural tendency to subvocalize (saying words in your head). At just the right volume, the music will fill one’s head and slightly dampen out the natural tendency of hearing all the words you come across on a page (see also: “How To Reduce Subvocalization”) . Having music on, in conjunction to using the finger technique, will greatly reduce subvocalization and help you read faster with better focus and concentration.
Paul is the founder of Iris Reading, the largest provider of speed-reading and memory courses. His workshops have been taught to thousands of students and professionals worldwide at institutions that include: NASA, Google, HSBC and many Fortune 500 companies.