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Contrary to popular opinion, studying with soothing music in the background
can enhance your concentration.  You'll find note of this in research and
study strategies material.  What's important to note is what type(s) of music
enhance(s) learning.  I really believe people can study and listen to music
at the same time (though what type of music may need to be defined).
I tried through high school to study to Van Halen and it didn't work...but
all through graduate school Enya, Hiroshama, Geaorge Winston, Lizstory,
Tesh and Yanni played as I studied and I swear I couldn't have made it
through the reading, etc. without them!!
I believe people can perform higher-level thinking skills and focus on
something else at the same time.  I know you do it everyday, possibly
every minute.  I know my dentist can function.  His office plays soothing
music while he's working on my teeth and I still have my pearly whites.
My OB/GYN delivered my two beautiful girls with soothing music playing in
the background (though it was just about this time I developed a strong
dislike for Kenny G - ha ha).
As for the MTV generation...I'm not sure if I qualify, but I'm in my 30s
and I listened/watched MTV all through high school and through part of
college.  In fact, I have been known to occasionaly stop at MTV when
channel surfing.  People can do whatever they want.