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Music while reading

The Pros and Cons of Listening to Music While Reading

The endless dilemma.
I’m sure many of you fine folks would agree that one of the best ways to make anything better is music. A break up, a party, a spring cleaning session. Once you add music it’s a whole different story. Especially when you play it while reading.


I’ve always been torn when it comes to doing that. I love reading, but I simply can’t resist singing along to a good song when it comes on. Perhaps I’m one of those people who can’t chew gum and walk at the same time. There’s been times when I’ve breezed through chapters with music in the background, but there’s times when I can’t move past a page until I turn it off. I’ve been trying to find a happy medium; so here are some pros and cons of pressing play on those tunes while you read.


1. Pro: It helps you focus more on your book


Many people find music to be very soothing in the background while sleeping, reading, cooking, and more. An old professor of mine had a tactic of playing Mozart while we did class work. He never explained his reasoning why, he just played it. And truthfully it did help me answer questions and take notes. It’s true that a little background noise can make your focus a lot sharper.


Con: It may very well put you off track


Sometimes when I think about getting distracted easily, I will indeed get distracted easily. If I hear a song that reminds of a past moment or I think of learning how to play it on my guitar or I suddenly think of what I’m going to eat for lunch, etc. This and more seems to happen when I aim to focus. Don’t be hyper aware like me, unless it’s lunchtime.



2. Pro: It sets that book nook mood


This all depends on the book of course. Specially selected songs can really make you feel what the character is feeling. I’ve listened to deeper slow songs for more serious works, but I’ve also listened to the songs of the musician whose autobiography I was reading. You’ve got to get in the mood because then you can actually feel like you’re in the book. I can recall listening to the Pride & Prejudice movie soundtrack while reading the classic novel and, I must say, I was totally feeling like a Bennett. I know, I’m very cheesy. Check out our list if you’re looking for something new to bless your ears.


Con: You NEED to find the perfect song


The dilemma of all dilemmas: When you just can’t find the right song. I want my life to have a soundtrack, but then that means you need the right songs at the right moments. This becomes a mission in itself, even while reading. Before you know it, you’ve spent nearly 30 minutes searching for that one hit that fits chapter seventeen so well. Yet you haven't read a word of chapter seventeen. This is a huge con.



3. Pro: You have a choice of lyrics or no lyrics!


Go by what you feel. Whatever mood you have today you may bring it into your reading time. Lyrics are nice to have on, sometimes you want a little more noise going through your ears. Or if you feel studious go for some classical. The choice is yours here; it’s nice to have options.


Cons: Visual and auditory memory process differently


By listening to lyrics and looking through words, you are now multi-tasking. And that can be tough. It depends on your personality, but some can’t take lyrical songs, some hate classical. The way your brain processes both and what it pulls from the music will clash at times. Although we do have options we can only go so far. You need that balance or else something is getting left out (most likely your reading).


What would you say before you press play?



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