Do you love reading? Do you like listening to music as well? So do I! But have you ever considered combining both activities? I’m sure most of you have at least tried doing so? But did it work for you? Should we listen to music while reading? Well, based on my experience, I’m here to help you figure out if it is doable or not, and if it is, is it suitable for you or not.
I never really thought of having music in the background while reading by myself, but I was suggested, more like forced, to do so by a fellow reader friend of mine, and to be honest, I didn’t find it a bad idea! It is pretty entertaining and lively to read that way, but, of course, there are pitfalls as well.
Listening to music while reading a book/novel can be pretty relaxing but, at the same time, pretty tiring as well. It indeed exercises one’s brain and acts as a distraction in some cases. A person’s reading time seems to be increased considerably while listening to music, but at the same time, it won’t let you be as engrossed in the book as you are when you read in silence.
Reading with or without music is indeed a long debate. Some find it amusing, while others aren’t as thrilled. Which type are you? Not sure? Well, that’s what we’re here for!
Why Should we Listen to Music While Reading?
Now, first, let us have a look at why should one listen to music while reading. I have done that before quite a few times and I still do it sometimes so all the arguments that I make are based on the personal experiences of me and my reader friends.
1. It is Relaxing
Music is relaxing. Reading is relaxing. So, there’s no way that their combination can’t make you relax a bit. It helps you vent your frustration that you probably bottled up the entire day. It is the best combo to soothe your nerves when you’ve had a rough day.
I still remember once when I was in the process of reading the book ‘The Guest List’ by Lucy Foley. After fighting with one of my friends at a cafe, I came from one day. My mood was so ruined that I thought I’d stay that way for at least a week, but nope, the magic of reading and the serenity of music calmed me down in no time, and I was feeling a lot better.
2. It Helps in Better Visualization
Visualization is better when all the senses are involved. Imagine reading an ultra-romantic novel with a beautiful love song playing harmoniously in your ears or reading a horror novel with suspense music playing on.
Doesn’t that sound alluring? It sure does to me, and so is the implementation. Let me tell you my experience. I was reading ‘The Lost Apothecary’ by Sarah Penner and guess what music did I had on. Blank space by Taylor Swift! Weird combo, right? Well, not really. I know because I’ve tried, and you should do too. When you want to be happy, or maybe when you need a good cry, it’ll help you feel the emotion to the core, and everything you read would feel surprisingly relevant.
3. It Exercises Your Brain
Who says you need to solve those painstakingly tricky mathematical questions to exercise your brain? Not at all! A fun and straightforward book can do it for you. Reading in itself is a lot of focus and strain on your mind but reading with music is the ultimate exercise for your brain, especially when reading non-fiction, psychological, or self-help books. You know ‘The Book of Two Ways’ by Jodi Picoult, the one about egyptology?
I read the entire book with soft music playing in my earphones. I could feel the brain stressing out about where to focus, but I got hold of it quite early, and because of that, I can now even read in noisy places. It doesn’t tire me anymore, and I can read anywhere now.
4. Leads to Increased Reading Time
It is a proven fact, and I think most of you will agree that whenever we do a task while listening to music, we can finish it early. The reason is that music keeps us going on for a more extended period. The same happens when we read while listening to music. How long did it take you all to read ‘Ikigai’ by Hector Gracia and Francesc Miralles? Let me tell you this first, I am not at my best while reading self-help books, but I finished Ikigai within a week. No, really! I firmly believe this happened because I had Selena Gomez playing in my headphones.
Why Shouldn’t we Listen to Music While Reading?
All the reasons why one should read while listening to music have been stated above already. Now, it’s time to look at the other side of the coin. Let us now see what can be the reason for not choosing to read while music is playing in the background.
1. It May Act as a Distraction
I did say above that music helps us exercise our brain, and I also told you about my personal experience where initially I had some problems but later on, I caught up. But the thing is that not everyone can get a hold of it. Suppose that person still forces themself to read in music noise.
In that case, it’ll act as nothing but a distraction as music will take over your senses, and your body will unknowingly start reacting to the music, leaving the poor book unnoticed, which I’m sure none of you would want to happen. And especially, if your book is as exciting and thrilling as ‘the Midnight Library,’ who would want even the slightest bit of distraction?
2. May Cause Problem With Retaining Information
Now, not every book is read for sheer fun. We read quite a few books for research work or to gain information about something. If our mind grows habitual of listening to music while reading, you would have to put some tracks on even while reading reference or research books. Doing so would cause you big problems with retaining and processing information.
Facts can get mixed up simply because your brain was too busy analyzing the song’s lyrics. Not with reference material, but something similar happened to me while I read ‘The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People Book’. I had to repeatedly re-read the lines, which forced me to turn the music off.
3. Somewhere Ruins the Thrill
You must have read the novel ‘Wuthering Heights,’ right? It is such a fantastic novel! Two star-crossed lovers meet and then separate, meet again, and then say goodbye forever. It is such a beautiful story. It almost makes me cry every time I read it. But it didn’t matter when I read it for the first time. Reason? Well, I was listening to music side by side. I thought it wouldn’t make much difference, but when I read it once without the music, I realized the actual difference. This is what music does. It minimizes our excitement or reading by half.
4. Restricts You From Getting Lost in the Book
Reading with music keeps you aware of the surroundings, preventing you from getting completely engrossed in the book. Imagine reading ‘The Other Emily’ by Dean Koontz. Emily is missing, and Dean is going crazy finding the answers that’ll lead him up to the truth about the love of his life but suddenly, the high pitch of Ariana Grande interrupted you and brought you back to reality.
Trust me. You do not want that to happen to you. But this is precisely what happens when you try to read a suspense or mystery novel that requires all of your attention, with music on.
Conclusion| Should we Listen to Music While Reading?
I have been a reader for a long time now, and I keep experimenting with different things related to books and reading. I have tried reading in music because of a friend, and I grew pretty fond of that habit, but at the same time, it has also caused me several problems from time to time, about which I’ve already mentioned above.
I still read sometimes with music on, but if you ask me, I prefer reading in silence, like before. Hey, hey. You don’t need me to tell you what to do. You do what you feel is comfortable and fun for you. I mean, that’s the whole point.
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