How to Choose The Best Music For Studying

March 20, 2017
HandMadeWritings Staff

Everyone studies in a different way; while some students prefer total silence to absorb new information, others students study best with music. At the end of the day, however, motivating yourself to study can be hard. But what type of music is the best music for studying? That’s a great question. Like most everything else in life, not all music is created equal. While some music is ideal music for studying, other music can be more distracting than helpful. If you’d like to try using music for studying but aren’t sure what types of music would be best, read on.

music for studying

Classical Harmonies

You’ve likely heard that classical music is an ideal choice for music for studying. This is true; classical music offers classical harmonies that help trigger the brain to focus and better learn the information it is learning about. However classical harmonies don’t just exist in classical music — you can find them in a wide variety of musical types. Many studies support the “Mozart Effect”; while much of classical music offers many of the classical harmonies which are ideal for music for studying, Mozart seems ideally suited on many different levels. Can’t find any love for classical music? Try the

Can’t find any love for classical music? Try the Vitamin String Quartet; this group recreates popular music in a Baroque chamber music style. Not sure what classical harmonies to try out first?

Try some of these favorites:

  • Mozart.
  • Vivaldi.
  • Bach.
  • Schubert.
  • Debussy.

Wading through the huge throng of classical masterpieces can be a daunting task. Check out these beloved classical favorites to see if you can find one or two you really like.

Comfortable Rhythm

Several research studies have suggested that certain rhythms affect the brain more positively than others. So what does this mean when it comes to studying? Simply that your favorite bands might not be the best bands to study to. You don’t want your body distracted when you’re trying to study and learn more material. Skip the club anthems and focus on a music with a more moderate, comfortable rhythm — it doesn’t need to be boring, but it should not make you want to get up and dance either. Ideally, you’ll want to look for music that stays around 60 beats per minute. This moderately paced rhythm helps the brain focus and better assimilate the information you read.

Comfortable RhythmSmooth Tone

When selecting music for studying, aim to select music pieces with a smooth tone. Jarring tones can force the brain to focus on them rather than what a student is trying to learn. Select music with the most even tones you can to ensure that you limit auditory distractions. If the ears become distracted with jarring tones, or tones that seem too low or too high, the brain stops focusing on what you’re reading and redirects its attention. Therefore, choosing music for studying with a smooth tone is important to help your brain stay on task while studying. Such music is often marketed as ambient instrumental music; while not classical, it lacks distracting vocals and offers soothing instruments. Ambient instrumental music could be considered a newer take on classical music.

Natural Sounds

Some students may find lyrics distracting; instead of focusing on the assignment at hand they may find themselves singing along. And if the classical harmonies within classical music is not appealing then an alternative could be natural sounds. Natural sounds music focuses on light, soothing sounds found throughout nature. Natural sounds as music for studying can include rainstorms, spring nights with crickets, or the rolling of gentle waves along an ocean shore. Students often find natural sounds quite relaxing; they can help reduce stress and anxiety, which can make studying easier and possibly even more enjoyable. Several studies suggest that listening to natural sounds actually helps to physical relax the body by slowing breathing. This relaxation can be useful in aiding studying because when the body is more relaxed, it can focus better. However, be forewarned: if you feel great relaxation when listening to natural sounds you may fall asleep! It’s best to find a balanced playlist with several different kinds of music to aid you in studying.

Here are different types of natural sounds to consider when selecting music for studying:

  • Rainforest sounds.
  • Thunderstorms.
  • Light rain or waterfall sounds.
  • Desert sounds.
  • Ocean sounds.
  • Insect sounds.
  • Bird sounds.

Moderate Volume

Moderate VolumeIt’s important to keep in mind the volume of music for studying. If the volume is too low, then the ears will strain to hear it and try to make sense of it, distracting the mind from studying. However, if the volume is too high, the mind also becomes too distracted and is unable to focus on the assignment before it. This may take a few tries, but keep trying until you find the right volume for you. You’ll know when you find the best volume for you when the music fades into the background. You should be able to hear it without focusing on it. As far as headphones go, the jury is out.. it really comes down to your personal preference. Some students may find headphones distracting while others find that headphones can be soothing and lend help in studying.

Just remember: whether you choose to listen with headphones or not, the key is to listen to music with a moderate volume. Finding a moderate volume is important too in respecting your roommate as well.

Once you’ve found the right music for studying, it’s time to make the ideal playlist. Feel free to mix and match musical genres; just remember that keeping all the musical choices within 60 beats per music is ideal for helping to encourage the brain to focus. When creating a playlist, try to take a break every twenty minutes or so. Arranging your playlist to break every twenty minutes give your brain the opportunity to absorb and store information.

After the break, try to recall the information to see if it’s stuck. It’s worth the time to create an awesome playlist; the more effective the playlist, the less time you’ll need to spend studying.


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