Listening to music can calm you down, leading to more conscientious studying, elevating your mood, motivating you to stay focused and studying for longer periods of time. Not only can listening to music make studying less boring, but it can also potentially help you retain the information better. However, not all music will help you concentrate when you’re studying. The key is to find the right kind of music that will fade into the background and not distract you.
Method 1: Finding the Best Study Sings
Never underestimate the power of classical.
Classical music is known for being both peaceful and harmonious, creating a calm and serene study environment for the listen. It’s recommended as one of the best studying genres for students because listeners report side effects like better mood and increased productivity. As far as side effects go, those aren’t too shabby!
Choose music without lyrics for studying.
While you might usually prefer to listen to songs with lyrics, it’s best to go with lyric-free songs when you’re studying. Lyrics can be distracting, especially when you know them and can sing along. By listening to songs that are lyric-free, you can focus more on your studies and less on the music.
This type of “music” is perfect for those not so into classical music. It’s known for increasing concentration levels and keeps the listener’s mind engaged at a more subconscious level. It also can be very calming, which is why many use it to help with meditations and to fall asleep. What falls into this category are soundtracks of nature like waterfalls, rain or the sounds of the seashore rolling in.
Listen to monotonous, relaxing music.
Fast-paced songs with lots of varying tones and pitches can be distracting when you’re trying to study. You want songs that fade into the background, not songs that grab your attention. Look for songs that are slow and relatively monotone — if a song makes you want to dance or hum along, it’s probably too upbeat for studying.
Listen to low tempo electronic music if you don’t like classical.
Similarly to classical music, low tempo electronic music can provide nice background noise for studying. Look for electronic music that doesn’t have lyrics or intense variations. You want monotonous songs that fade into the background while you’re studying.
Save upbeat, motivational music for your breaks.
Upbeat, fast-paced music can actually help motivate you when you’re on a break. After listening to a couple of your favorite songs, you’ll feel more ready to jump back into your studies. Just make sure you switch back to lyric-free, relaxing music once you start studying again.
Method 2: Listening to Your Study Music
Plan out your playlist.
Don’t wait until the time you’ve set aside for studying to create a playlist. Create it on your downtime so that, when it’s time to study, studying is the only task at hand and all you need to do as far as music is concerned is press play. That way, you’ll be able to stay focused and won’t take any time away from what you should be accomplishing. If you forget to plan ahead or don’t want to create your own playlist, don’t sweat it! There are some great resources that will do it for you, like the
Study Music Project, which gives you a playlist of free study music each time you press play for more than an hour.
Break it up.
Plan your playlist so that, when it ends, it will be an indication that it’s your break time. It’s helpful for you do not have to shift modes and have to worry about changing your music and you have the added benefit of never having to look at the clock because your playlist will function as a built-in timer.
Play your music at medium to low volume.
It should be playing in the background while you’re studying. If the music is too loud, it will be harder to concentrate. If you find yourself having a hard time reading or writing with the music playing, it could be a sign that it’s too loud.
Avoid using headphones to listen to your music if possible.
While headphones are convenient if you’re studying in a library, they make it easier to get distracted by the music you’re listening to. With headphones in, it’s harder for the music to fade into the background. If you have to use headphones, try to keep the volume down as low as possible.
Change the song if you feel yourself getting distracted.
If you’re listening to a song and you notice that you’re humming along, tapping your fingers, or dancing in your chair, it’s a sign that you’re being distracted. If you’re focused enough on a song to be doing these things, you probably aren’t retaining the information you’re studying. Change the song to something less engaging.