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Is there any "chisaran" (is there something "lacking") in one's fulfillment of the Mitzvah of Talmud Torah if they listen to soft, slow paced, instrumental music (no vocals or lyrics) while learning in order to focus better or drown out background noise?

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I remember seeing the Sefer Piske Teshuvot discussing this... – Hacham Gabriel Feb 10 '13 at 1:50

The best way to learn Torah is aloud. That means that we should be listening to our learning.

I wonder whether you can learn aloud if there is background music. In my experience background music is useful if you are studying quietly.

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Let's say a person knows that he can't focus and learn that way. Who says learning aloud takes priority in that case? Or do you propose that such a case does not exist? – Fred Jan 14 '13 at 4:29
@Fred If he can't learn aloud, then he must use the best method for him, as you suggest. I know of one academic young man who went to Yeshiva and was given a room to learn in on his own. – Avrohom Yitzchok Jan 14 '13 at 9:30
I remember somewhere in RaMbaM that says day time learning in the beith hamadrash is loud due to everyone speaking, arguing, whatever else. But at night it's quiet because people are going to sleep. He then compared the two saying which one is better for which situation you are in. If I find the RaMbaM when I get home, I'll quote it. – MoriDoweedhYaa3qob Mar 11 '13 at 18:22

Whatever is best for you. It is probably best to learn aloud but if not, start with music. There is no chisaron (loss) of the amount of reward or quality. If you learn best with music, go for it. Eventually, try to build up to a level where you can shteig and not need the music. I recommend asking your rebbi or rav though, each case is different.

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Welcome to Mi Yodeya! Here, nobody knows who you are, so nobody knows to trust what you say. Therefore, can you please edit in support for your claim that music makes no difference in reward or quality of learning? and for your implied claim that not needing music is a higher level? I also recommend that you take the site tour; and that you register your account, which will enable more site features. – msh210 Feb 9 at 23:11

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