Best Music to Listen to While Studying

Listening to music can be a great way to help you focus and add a productive boost to your study environment. To help you make the right selection, here are some of the best music genres to listen to while studying.

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Many of us struggle with getting into the right zone for studying and completing assignments. There are seemingly an endless number of distractions and it’s easy to find your mind wandering aimlessly or perking up with every little bit of movement from the world around you. Listening to music can be a great way to help you focus and add a productive boost to your study environment.

Getting the most out of your study soundtrack involves picking a music genre that works for you. The right type of music can help you stay focused, alert, and even add an element of fun to your study environment.

To help you make the right selection, here are some of the best music genres to listen to while studying.

Classical Music

The benefits of classical music on brain function are so widely known, it's practically common sense! Time and time again, classical music has been scientifically proven to improve cognitive performance – assisting with learning, memorisation, and focus.  

One of the ways we learn is by compartmentalising information, and some studies suggest that the musical techniques used by classical composers help the brain categorise information. Therefore, meaning that listening to classical music can help you understand and interpret new material. Classical music can also help with reasoning and can train your brain to pay better attention to patterns and make predictions about what may come next. In addition, classical music can also help you retain information while studying. Listening to classical music activates a process called targeted memory activation, which stimulates memory consolidation. Other benefits of classical music include improving concentration whilst simultaneously reducing stress. 

To optimise your classical music for study, it’s best to choose the simpler rhythmic pieces such as solos, sonatas, or string quartets over the dynamic orchestral movements.

 

Classical music study playlists: 

Lo-Fi Hip Hop

If you’ve ever searched “study music” anywhere on the internet, you’ve probably seen the Lo-Fi Study Girl. The animated Studio Ghibli-looking girl with short brown hair in a ponytail and headphones, peacefully concentrating on her work with her cat curled up in the background. Lo-Fi is an interesting musical genre that mixes the sounds of hip hop, vaporwave, and elevator music to create a sense of calmness and nostalgia.

Lo-Fi is a popular music genre amongst students, and for a good reason! The beats are catchy and entertaining and are at just the right pace to pull off both relaxing and energising. Listening to Lo-Fi during a study session can also help you concentrate on your work. Lo-Fi sound contains technical flaws, some of which include limited frequency response, distortion, hum, or background noise. These differences in sound trigger your cerebrum to help put you into a focused mindset. This means that lo-fi hip hop could be a great way to have fun and stay concentrated while studying. 

 

Lo-Fi hip hop study playlists: 

Coloured Noise (White, Brown, or Pink Noise)

Distractions are one of the biggest hurdles to a productive study session. While you sit down and try to stay glued to your notes, the rest of the world continues around you – footsteps outside your door, cars pulling into driveways, heated drama coming from the T.V.  

One of the ways to combat this is by listening to ambient coloured noise. White noise is a collection of random sound frequencies mixed at equal intensities which creates a steady humming sound. You might also prefer pink noise which contains fewer high frequencies than white noise, or brown noise which is an even deeper sound. If white noise sounds like radio static, think of pink noise as sounding like raindrops and brown noise like ocean waves.

Whatever your preference, coloured noise can be a great solution for minimising the effects of distracting sounds. In complete silence, the slightest of sounds are detected by your brain and may detract your attention away from your studying. Steady background sound can combat this as it masks other noises by making them less significant compared to the ambient noise, allowing you to remain focused. If you find ‘proper’ study music is too distracting, listening to coloured noise might be the best way to go.

 

Coloured noise study playlists: 

Video Game Music

When it comes to studying, the thought of video games probably sounds like the complete opposite of productivity. While this might be true for any other part of gaming, listening to video game soundtracks can provide a valuable boost to your study routine.  

The purpose of video game music to complement gaming tasks, many of which involve solving puzzles and stressful experiences. This means that it’s carefully composed to immerse you in a task without distracting you from it, a characteristic that translates into quality study music. Several elements of video game music make it beneficial for concentration. Most soundtracks are relatively steady and low volume, lacking sudden changes that may divert attention. They also don’t tend to have lyrics, which can be distracting and are the number one feature to avoid when selecting study music. Above all, video game music is designed to entertain and adds some fun to your study sessions. 

There is a diverse range of soundtracks to choose from within this genre: from slow to fast- paced and includes almost any instrument you can think of. As a bonus, you have the comfort in knowing that substantial investments in time, money and research went into ensuring that your soundtrack of choice both engages and induces focus.

 

Video game study playlists: 

 

For many of us, the perks of listening to music while studying are boundless. Music has many cognitive benefits, activating both hemispheres of your brain to improve information processing and absorption. Music is also great for helping you focus and can enhance your study experience by creating a positive link between productivity and enjoyable music.

As with any other musical preference, choosing the right study music is incredibly personal, and it is totally up to you to decide what works best for you and your current state of mind. With so many options to choose from, it’s easy to have a go-to study playlist as well as some other options for switching it up to keep your study routine fresh.

- Wendy Xu, Nxtstep Content Writer

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