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Enhance your focus: 8 best music to study and concentrate

music to study and concentrate
Wash away your stress with the sounds of waterfalls, one of the best music to study and concentrate. Source: Sam Yeh/AFP

Picture this: you’re at a library, preparing to complete your assignment or revise for an upcoming exam. 

But your friends are busy chatting, loud chattering noises flood the space, and ambient noises distract you. 

Usually, you would struggle in this kind of environment — but that doesn’t have to be the case when you have a playlist of the best, science-backed music to study and concentrate. 

music to study and concentrate

Certain types of music, particularly those with a slow tempo, can relax even the most tense of  minds. Source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images North America/Getty Images/AFP

Why are certain genres of music more effective in helping you study than others?

It’s been proven that listening to certain types of music in specific situations can boost productivity and mood, from enhancing the quality of your workout to reducing stress and anxiety. 

As a student, you would have crafted or listened to a study focus music playlist at least once in your life. 

You may have noticed that listening to certain genres improved your concentration, especially if you’ve been studying in louder environments such as cafes. 

Or perhaps you enjoy going to the library, slipping your headphones on, and listening to songs while you work. 

If this sounds like you, you’re one of the thousands of students who do the same thing. 

A survey showed that around 60% of students tend to listen to music while studying. Researchers also found that listening to music was the most popular side activity for teens who juggled studying with another task.

Not all music does the job, though. A University of Toronto study found that loud music negatively affects reading comprehension, agitating rather than focusing the listener. 

Similarly, the University of Wales found that sometimes, music — especially music with lyrics — can worsen a student’s working memory and reading comprehension. 

What are the best music to study and concentrate?

1. Classical music

Classical music is one of the best music to help you study and concentrate. 

There’s a theory dubbed “The Mozart Effect” that suggests this genre of music can enhance brain activity and arouse your brain to focus.

There are also several studies done where students listening to classical music did better on quizzes than students with no music.

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2. Lo fi music

We’ll be lying if we say we’ve never Googled “lo fi chill for studying” several times in a week. 

“Lo-fi” stands for “low-fidelity,” a type of sound recording that uses distortion, hum, background noise, or limited frequency response — making it distinct from live recordings.

Whatever it’s made of, playing lo-fi chill for studying makes us relax, focus, and ultimately, study better. Research says this is because these “flaws” trigger our cerebrum — the uppermost part of the brain — to help us focus.

Speaking to Hyde.edu, student Haley Bounds says lo-fi music can keep her focused while she completes her assignments. “Sometimes,” she says, “I actually lose track of time doing homework or reading my books.”

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music to study and concentrate

Video game franchises like the “Legend of Zelda” have some of the best music to study and concentrate. Source: Richard A. Brooks/AFP

3. Video game music

This might surprise you, but video game music is actually one of the best music for homework. 

According to Orion Academy, video game music is designed to keep you absorbed and focused — which is also great for memorising. 

When your brain is focused on just melody, it’s taking a break from trying to break down the lyrics of a song and thus increases your performance.

Video game music tends to stay at a relatively low, constant volume too. This prevents you from becoming distracted by sudden increases in volume.

Since video game music is generally fast-paced, your brain will be constantly engaged in the task at hand.

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4. Nature sounds

Nature sounds relax our nervous system. Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have discovered that natural sounds boost moods and focus.

The study found employees were more productive and had more positive feelings when nature sounds were playing in the background while they worked.

Nature sounds include the soothing sounds of the rain, ocean waves on the beach or even the jungle. Some prefer listening to bird calls and animal noises.

From the peak of Everest to the deepet ocean beds, there are millions of nature sounds to experiment with and find the best music for homework that works for you.

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music to study and concentrate

Binaural beats play two slightly different tones in each ear, creating a unique sound in your brain. Source: Miguel Medina/AFP

5. Binaural beats

Binaural beats are like a secret weapon for studying and concentrating. They work by playing two slightly different tones in each ear, creating a unique sound in your brain. This sound has a powerful effect on your mind and can help you focus and retain information better.

When you listen to binaural beats, they stimulate your brainwaves and bring them into a state of calm focus. They can shift your brain from a busy, distracted mode to a more relaxed and attentive state. Picture giving your brain a gentle massage — helping it to tune in and concentrate on the task at hand.

These beats also help synchronise your brain’s left and right hemispheres. The result? You’ll find it easier to process and remember information.  

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6. Isochronic tones

Isochronic tones are like a superhero soundtrack for studying and concentrating. They are powerful audio pulses that have a remarkable impact on our brainwaves. When you listen to isochronic tones, your brain responds by syncing up with these rhythmic pulses, creating a state of focused attention.

Unlike binaural beats, isochronic tones don’t require headphones. You can easily hear them through speakers — making them a convenient tool for enhancing concentration and study sessions.

The rhythmic pulses of isochronic tones help to stimulate the brain and bring it into a state of deep focus. They promote alpha and beta brainwave patterns, which help to boost alertness, concentration, and information retention.

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music to study and concentrate

Music is the food of the soul — in the case of rhythm and blues, it may even be the best music to study and concentrate.  Source: Pius Utomoi Ekpei/AFP

7. RnB

Are you someone who easily gets distracted? Then RNB may not be the best music to study and concentrate. 

There’s a high chance you might spend too much time jamming to the lyrics of the song instead of focusing.

While music in this genre generally has lyrics, many RnB fans reported feeling more relaxed, focused, and less stressed, which may have a positive impact on their ability to focus and learn.

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music to study and concentrate

Zero in on the chants of monks, one of the most effective music to study and concentrate. Source: Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP

8. Meditation music

Gentle rhythms and soft tones promote a meditative state of mind. It helps to clear mental clutter and boost your concentration. 

What’s more, meditation music often incorporates nature sounds, such as flowing water or bird songs. These natural sounds have a soothing effect on your mind, promoting a sense of harmony and tranquillity.

We recommend daily meditation (HeadSpace and Calm are our favourite apps) for overall better performance in school or at uni. 

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