For many students, playing background music during their studies is the only way to train their brains. Perhaps they have noisy roommates or neighbors who are constantly doing repairs. Or, if someone is nearby, which is usually the case during the pandemic, listening to music through their headphones can help them resist distraction. And, for some students, music just allows them to concentrate much better than silence.
If you doubt how music can help you learn, our experts will tell you! Find out how it influences your cognitive processes in the article below. You will discover great practical tips on choosing songs and creating a suitable atmosphere. We’ve also included some playlists to help you focus on your studies.
🎵 Can Music Help You Study?
The answer is both yes and no. Music can be an effective learning tool for students, lowering stress and improving concentration. However, some people argue that additional noise can irritate them, distract them from studying, and prevent them from memorizing information. It is often the result of your individual disposition. Although, sometimes, it can be the consequence of a poorly chosen playlist.
Below, we’ve explained why listening to certain music can help you focus while completing your assignments or reviewing for exams. We have also examined the cases in which background sounds could potentially undermine your study process. Besides, check our essay database for additional help with your studies.
5 Reasons to Study with Music
If you are debating whether you should listen to music while studying, these reasons might convince you. Turning on some tunes can lead to the following:
- Better Mood.
Keeping a positive attitude is always worthwhile, especially while studying. When relaxed, you are more likely to learn new material and memorize information. Research shows that listening to music generally improves your mood. Consequently, it enhances your focus and academic performance. Even when you’re not studying, turn on some relaxing tunes if you feel overwhelmed. That could make all the difference!
- Improved Memorization.
When processing information, the human brain is partial to associations and patterns. Thus, we find it easier to remember song lyrics than important facts and dates. According to this study, listening to music helps stimulate your mind, improving your memorization skills. Consider putting on a catchy song while reviewing materials. This way, you’ll have more success remembering that information in the future.
- Enhanced Motivation.
Everyone knows that studying for long periods can become exhausting. We all use different methods to motivate ourselves to continue. Some take a quick nap; others look forward to a favorite snack. As it turns out, music works just as well, activating the reward-related parts of the brain. The 2019 investigation suggests that turning on a favorite tune can significantly enhance your motivation. It can help you power through your study session.
- Reduced Stress & Anxiety.
As students get closer to exam season, stress and anxiety tend to pile up. This can seriously interfere with the studying process, making it harder to review and remember your notes. Research demonstrates that music can soothe people and reduce their anxiety levels. Listening to relaxing songs can put your mind at ease. What’s more, it will keep you stress-free while you study.
- Increased Concentration.
According to some studies, music can improve your concentration and productivity levels. This effect varies between different genres and types, though. For example, hearing a familiar song boosts your creativity and energy levels. At the same time, listening to classical composers increases your focus. Appropriately chosen tunes will help you organize the information in your mind.
✨ What’s more:
Listening to music during studies can also become an indispensable habit for students with ADHD. In some cases, it can lead to improved academic performance and better concentration. However, the results seem to vary from individual to individual.
3 Reasons to Study in Silence
Unfortunately, studying with music isn’t for everyone. Some students may require other tools and tricks for effective learning. Below, we have looked at the problems that can occur:
- Worse Working Memory.
Working memory is a brain function that manages the information a person uses to learn and solve problems. It helps us remember things like number sequences, lists of items, or arguments for a persuasive essay. Different people have different capacities for working memory. Some researchers believe that listening to music while studying may actually reduce that capacity.
- Poor Reading Comprehension.
When we review material, we usually consume large amounts of text. We look through and examine various research papers, book chapters, or our own notes. Understandably, not every genre of music is suitable for that process, and research supports that idea. Tunes that are fast and energetic can disrupt your learning and decrease your reading comprehension. Keeping your volume too loud can also make it harder to understand and memorize your material.
- High Distractibility.
In some circumstances, music can be a distraction. As mentioned before, loud and fast melodies can make reading texts incredibly difficult. Songs with vocals can also interrupt your studies, making it harder to focus.
As you might have noticed, almost all of these drawbacks of listening to music have one thing in common – a poorly chosen playlist. Students generally have trouble working with the wrong soundtrack playing in the background. Thankfully, this problem is easy to solve.
🎤 What to Avoid When Selecting Study Music
As we have figured out, not all music is good for studying. Some songs are too catchy – you might not resist singing and dancing along. Thus, you will be distracted from the studying process. And some sounds make memorizing information impossible.
Don’t turn on the music you don’t like. Regardless of our advice, don’t torture yourself with the melodies you find irritating. Annoying sounds will not let you concentrate on your studies. So, look out for enjoyable tunes, even if we don’t recommend them.
🎼 How to Choose Your Study Music: Best Genres
The researchers found several genres that are helpful in studying. Consider listening to all of them! Discover what will be the most suitable one for the learning process.
None of them may be appropriate for you, and that’s okay! However, according to numerous researches, the following genres can help you focus on a specific task:
- Instrumental music. The sounds of guitar and drums have a constant rhythm. It helps your brain increase cognitive performance. Moreover, instrumental music is often lyrics-free. So, you will not be distracted by the words.
- Classical music. Quality classical music helps reduce stress and boosts mental performance. Try different types! Some students focus better while listening to simple instrumental sounds, while others prefer full orchestra. Decide what works for you and make Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach your study buddies.
- Lo-Fi. It is definitely the top choice among students for study sessions. The low-frequency beats will help you put all the external distraction factors aside and fully concentrate on your tasks. According to the survey, 86% of participants noticed that Lo-Fi music increased their productivity.
- Ambient music. Futuristic and electronic sounds of ambient music help your brain focus on one specific task. This way, it boosts your productivity to a great extent. And these are not just random facts! There is research dedicated to ambient music’s effect on concentration. If you are searching for something unusual yet practical, this should be your choice!
- Jazz. The scientists have proven that this genre is creativity-boosting and stress-reducing. Besides, pleasant jazz music can help with concentration as it lacks both lyrics and a fast tempo. Thus, set the volume low and make your studying process effective!
- Post-Rock. It’s a modern direction in music that mixes instrumental and atmospheric rock. Such a combination results in original compositions with electro textures and moderate tempo. With very little or no lyrics, post-rock becomes ideal background music for studying.
- Sounds of nature. Are you too sensitive to melodies, so even the calmest music distracts you? Then, try nature sounds. Ocean waves or gentle rainfall may have a better effect on you than music.
📻 24 Playlists to Put You in the Right Headspace
Naturally, not every student has the time or the opportunity to create their ideal study playlist. Does it apply to you? Or do you simply want to find some inspiration? Check out these sections below. We have selected study playlists available on different platforms. Find the perfect one and start studying!
YouTube Study Playlists
- Classical Music for Studying
Theories such as The Mozart Effect claim that classical music can boost the brain’s capabilities and enhance productivity. Unfortunately, results concerning improved cognitive skills are controversial at best. Yet, when it comes to concentration and productivity, classical music can help you. This particular playlist features many classic masters, including Chopin, Debussy, and Schumann.
- Post-Rock for Studying-Focusing
A genre that emerged in the late 1980s, post-rock offers a gentle atmospheric sound that will relax an anxious mind. Many students claim that this music helps them concentrate, even if they usually can’t study with background noise. If you previously weren’t successful in finding the right playlist for you, maybe it’s time to give this one a try.
- Nightfall: Cool & Smooth Jazz Classics
You either enjoy jazz or don’t – it is as simple as that. If you belong to the former category, consider studying to Benny Carter or Duke Ellington. Return to the past with this selection of classic jazz compositions from the 1920s, 30s, and 40s.
- HYPER-FOCUS [Smooth Jazz Study With Me]
Perhaps you do enjoy jazz but prefer something more current. After all, this genre significantly evolved over the past century. This particular selection consists of pleasant melodies to help you get in the zone. Plus, you get a couple of study buddies to work alongside with.
- LoFi Hip Hop Radio
A relatively new genre, lo-fi has already become the classic choice of music to listen to while studying. The appeal is in the quiet and peaceful beats that don’t obstruct the thought process. The Lofi Girl is perhaps the most famous lo-fi study channel on Youtube, with their videos playing live 24/7.
- Focus Music, Binaural Beats
Recently, doctors and researchers have begun to study the phenomenon known as binaural beats. In essence, this sound consists of two tones with different frequencies that your brain interprets as a beat. Some research suggests that it has a therapeutic effect on the human mind. It has also been proposed that different frequencies can have different results, some helping with anxiety and others making you focus. The research is still in the early stages, but many students claim to feel positive changes when studying to binaural beats.
- Chill Music for Focus and Creativity
Most of the previous suggestions have generally been pretty slow-paced. What if you prefer something with a noticeable beat? Even though electronic music is usually associated with clubs, it is diverse. The compilation above offers relaxing yet energetic tunes that won’t distract you from your work.
Spotify Study Playlists
- Intense Studying
A playlist composed by Spotify, Intense Studying is an ideal mix of calming melodies that you can put on in the background. It features piano compositions that are relaxing but not sleep-inducing. If you have a long study session in front of you, this almost ten-hour playlist can be the perfect companion.
- Studious Strings
If you don’t particularly like the sound of the piano, perhaps this playlist will suit you better. Studious Strings mainly focuses on the acoustic guitar as its instrument of choice. The song selection ranges from classical tunes to more upbeat flamenco-style melodies.
- Movie Scores Study
Studying can get pretty monotonous, and your typical playlist might not be cutting it anymore. Perhaps this is the time to try something different and turn on Movie Scores Study. This compilation features the soundtracks from the most popular films, such as Harry Potter, Inception, and various Disney titles. It is guaranteed to make you feel like the main character!
Nearly all of us experienced a time when we just couldn’t fit everything into one day. If you have to stay up and work instead of sleeping, All-Nighter could help you stay awake. Another playlist made by Spotify, it features trap and electronic music to keep you focused throughout the night.
- Study Vibes
We don’t normally recommend listening to music with lyrics while studying, as they can be distracting. However, the song selection in this playlist might be an exception. Study Vibes features slow electronic tracks with vocals that don’t draw your attention from the task at hand.
- Nature Sounds for Focus
Nothing is more demotivating than sitting in a stuffy classroom or library during a lovely day. This playlist won’t replace the outside world, but it does feature soothing music. It is interlaced with the sounds of forests, oceans, and rain. Maybe this tranquil accompaniment is what you need to get through the day.
- Uptempo Hip Hop Study
Sometimes, everyone needs a little energy boost to keep on going with the revision. The Uptempo Hip Hop Study playlist delivers just that. It features a wide range of songs with strong beats that are sure to reinvigorate your passion.
Apple Music Study Playlists
- Study Music Playlist
This particular playlist features songs from various artists specializing in studying music. You will find titles such as Focus on Learning, Brain Power, and Study Moods. These songs are mostly ambient, sometimes including piano or nature sounds.
- Deep Focus
Consisting of dance/electronic tracks, Deep Focus has a somewhat hypnotic quality to it. If you enjoy a fast-paced beat that stimulates your thinking, this could be the perfect playlist for you.
- Soundtrack for Study
Similar to the Movie Scores Study playlist mentioned before, this compilation consists of soundtracks from various media. It involves music from popular series, video games, and films. You will find tracks from Euphoria, The Witcher, Death Stranding, and more.
- Hitting the Books
Many students can concentrate better when listening to music they are already familiar with. If you’re one of those people and vocals don’t disturb your work process, you might want to give this playlist a try. Hitting the Books is a collection of mellow songs from famous artists such as Billie Eilish, Khalid, Drake, and others.
- Pure Ambient
Listening to music can get pretty overwhelming, especially for long periods. Your ears might be tired – however, you don’t want to just sit there in silence. Pure Ambient could be the perfect solution to your problem! This playlist features relaxing sounds that can help you create an easy and calm atmosphere for your study session.
- Study Beats
Study Beats is another fairly atmospheric playlist. It features a more prominent sound than Pure Ambience. It provides you with downtempo songs, perfect for getting in the mood for studying.
As the name suggests, BEATstrumentals is all about the beats. The tracks in this playlist feature undertones of funk, jazz, soul, and ambient music. Coming together to form a relaxing hip-hop selection, they will help you get through a challenging question or chapter.
Websites with Study Music
Besides creating or searching for playlists on different platforms, you have one more option: the radio. Nowadays, numerous websites concentrate on the focus and study music. We have provided the most popular ones below:
This specialized website features music designed to affect your brain in different ways. With three main categories (Focus, Relax, and Sleep), Brain.FM allows its users to choose from a broad selection of genres. This includes electronic, cinematic, Lo-Fi, classical music, and nature sounds.
Coffitivity is not so much a musical radio as it is a noise radio. Recently, plenty of students had to switch to e-learning. They might have begun to miss the sounds of a crowded café or library. This website recreates the ambient noise of those places to enhance your creativity and performance.
If you have tried every available playlist and nothing seems to work, you might want to give this website a try before giving up. Noisli allows you to create the perfect study environment by mixing and matching different sounds. You can change their individual volumes, combine them, and browse a collection of featured playlists. Noisli even offers a timer and a text editor to help you stay focused during your studies.
Thank you for reading our article! I hope you find our advice useful, and you will try to study with music. If you think that some of your friends could also benefit from our tips, share this article with them.