In addition to aiding concentration, the right kind of music can act as an insulator that keeps external distractions from penetrating your virtual school student’s focus. How? By giving the brain’s unconscious attention system something to focus on.
You see, our brain’s attention system has two different parts, referred to separately as the “dorsal” and “ventral” attention systems—otherwise known, respectively, as our conscious and unconscious attention. Both parts work together simultaneously but do very different things.
Our conscious attention directs our focus to the primary task at hand—which, for your conscientious homeschool student, is studying. While our dorsal attention is hard at work, our ventral or unconscious attention is detecting peripheral sights, sounds, and other distractions: a creak in the floorboards, a siren in the distance, a smell coming from the kitchen. Unfortunately, even though your student’s ventral attention system is only doing its job, it’s disrupting his or her focus.
When we listen to music while studying, the music provides our unconscious attention system something to focus on. Keeping the ventral attention system busy drowns out other distractions and allows your child to concentrate on their schoolwork.