Did you know simply listening to music can improve your study skills? Here are 10 secrets about study music to help ensure you are getting the very most out of your study time.
Looking for a way to make studying easier and more effective?
Sometimes it’s a struggle to get in the zone when you’re trying to study for an important exam, reading course material, or writing course work. Your mind may start to wander, or perhaps there are noisy distractions around you—whether it’s people chatting nearby, a dog barking in the distance, or construction happening on the street outside.
A great solution to keep you focused on your academics is study music—that is, music you listen to while you study. Study music can not only drown out distracting noises that are around you, but it can even enhance your focus and increase the effectiveness of the time you put into studying.
Study Music Benefits
Music is a powerful tool. The right tune can make you break out in a happy dance, or it can reduce you to tears.
Music can affect our brain in all sorts of ways. Listening to music can alter our mood, inspire creativity, keep us going during a workout, and help us through challenging times.
And when it comes to sitting down and studying, music can improve focus, concentration, and productivity. It can even enhance your study experience by creating a positive association between good work habits and emotionally stimulating music.
According to researchers at Stanford University, music engages the areas of the brain that control your attention span and your memory retention—two factors that are crucial when it comes to studying effectively.
With that in mind, it’s important to choose the right music for you. Putting on the wrong kind of music may even end up slowing you down and distracting you even more.
That’s why we’ve compiled 10 secrets about study music to help ensure you are getting the very most out of your study time. So get those headphones on and get ready to groove!
1. You have to choose music that works for you.
What gets one person in the study zone might be incredibly distracting for another person. Try out a few different types of music and see what works best for your individual taste. Read on to find out what the best genres are for studying.
2. Classical music is proven to help enhance your cognitive abilities.
Listening to classical music while studying can actually help students score higher on tests, according to research conducted in the US and France.
In the study, students that had classical music playing in the background while listening to a one-hour lecture ended up scoring significantly higher on a multiple-choice test in comparison to the group of students that had no music playing.
The researchers speculate that the classical music influenced the students’ motivation to remain focused on the lecture, thus leading to better performance on the test.
If you’re looking for a focus boost yourself, try listening to simpler, more relaxed kinds of classical music, such as some Mozart sonatas or gentle Bach lute suites. Don’t go for the overly complex and booming orchestral movements.
3. Prefer something more modern? Try lo-fi hip hop.
Lo-fi hip hop is a genre of music that combines traditional hip hop with chill jazz elements to create relaxing instrumental grooves perfect to keep on as background music.
There’s tons of playlists on Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube (with no ads). Chillhop Music has some great playlists on all 3 platforms to keep you focused on your studies for hours.
4. Nature sounds increase concentration.
While it’s not exactly music, nature sounds are proven to help you concentrate and enhance cognitive functioning. Try putting on the soothing sounds of ocean waves, a crackling bonfire, or the soft pattering of rainfall. Nature sounds have a much smaller chance of distracting you the way actual music can, while keeping outside noise distractions at bay.
Rainy Mood is the most popular rain simulator to get you feeling focused and relaxed. There’s also tons of options to be found on YouTube that can instantly transport you to the ocean, a bird-filled forest, or near a babbling brooke.
5. If you’re feeling dull and bored by your studies, give video game soundtracks a try.
Video game music is specifically designed to keep you focused on what you’re doing. Plus you end up feeling a lot more epic while you study for exams.
As Sara Chodosh writes in Popular Science:
“This is, by far, the best Life Pro Tip I’ve ever gotten or given: Listen to music from video games when you need to focus. It’s a whole genre designed to simultaneously stimulate your senses and blend into the background of your brain, because that’s the point of the soundtrack.”
6. No lyrics.
Songs with lyrics can end up distracting you, which is exactly what we’re trying to avoid! Turn off the Bob Dylan tunes and opt for some instrumentals instead.
7. Don’t blast it.
No matter what kind of music you’re listening to, keep it at a moderate volume. It should be background noise, otherwise the music may end up distracting you away from your studies.
8. Create playlists that last for around 45 minutes.
Once your playlist has finished, allow yourself to get up and take a short break from studying. It’s good to take small breaks from time to time so you don’t get burnt out. Have a snack, do some stretches, and come back rejuvenated for another 45-minute study session.
9. If you’re feeling overwhelmed about figuring out what study music is best, don’t worry—there’s an app for that.
Brain.fm has worked with neuroscientists to design music that can enhance your focus in just 10-15 minutes. According to the site, Brain.fm has created “the most advanced AI music composer on the planet” that was “Invented to have the brain of a neuroscientist and the heart of a musician.” This AI music composer creates all the music available on Brain.fm.
Some people swear by this app. One student that provided a review said, “To fellow grad students and scholars: brain.fm. Check it out. My focus and productivity has improved substantially! This should be a staple!”
Give it a shot if you don’t feel like hand-picking your study music.
10. Studying is more important than the music you’re listening to.
At the end of the day, study music should be background noise that is helping you focus on your work. So don’t get too caught up in creating the perfect playlist, as this is just another distraction away from the work you should be doing.
Find what music helps you most (or maybe silence is golden for you instead!) and get back to focusing on what matters most: studying!