If you like to listen to music while you study, choosing the right type can be vital to your overall productivity level.
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.
While it can be a challenge to stay away from the hottest hits, selecting the wrong type of music can distract you from your studies and become counterproductive.
So, what type of music is considered “music for the mind?”
The following types of music are recommended for studying, along with tips to help you choose which genre will keep you most focused on your objective – studying.
Below each genre there’s a recommendation so that you can test out the genre and discover which type of music works best for you.
1. 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!
Recommendation: Brandenburg Concerto #3 – Bach
2. Timed Tempos
Studies have shown that music timed at 60 beats-per-minute can help put people’s minds into ease; putting brains into a more productive mode where thinking are creativity are easier.
Recommendation: Concertos for Recorder – Telemann & Vivaldi
3. Instrumental Ambient Sounds
If you prefer a more modern flair, this may be the perfect option for you. Relaxing sounds of instruments can be paired with modern tunes to get the best of both worlds – so you don’t have to sacrifice a thing.
Recommendation: VSQ Performs the Hits of 2013, Volume 2 – Vitamin String Quartet
4. Nature Sounds
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.
5. Modern Electronic
Modern electronic is also commonly referred to as “chill out” music. The genres include Ambient House, Ambient Trance, New Age and Trip Hop.
They are known to relax the mind, encouraging it to roam. Be careful not to let it roam too much, however – you want to stay focused on the task at hand!
Recommendation: Music for Airports – Eno
6. Volume control.
Make sure that your background music is, indeed, in the background and is not distracting you or any of the students around you.
Think about it: it’s nearly impossible for you to be completely focused if your head is about to, um, explode. Keep the noise level to a minimum so that the study level is at a maximum.
7. 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.
8. 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 to 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.
9. Studying is more important than music.
Avoid spending hours creating your playlist. After all, it should essentially just become background noise. What you should ultimately focus on is your studies.
You can spend hours on playlists for your road trips in the summertime when school is out!
10. The bottom line.
Whether you listen to any of these recommendations, Miley Cyrus, Tupac, or whatever else, it really doesn’t make a difference – as long as it works.
Remember: what’s most important – what actually matters is that whatever you’re listening to doesn’t distract you, calms you and truly puts your mind into study mode so that you can be productive and retain as much information as possible.
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It’s the first day back to work after the Christmas break and you’re probably not feeling your best. Luckily, we’ve got the perfect remedy for New Year sluggishness. Who better to give you a boost than Kanye, Liam G or MIA? Here are 30 motivational anthems to kick start your 2018 and help you conquer the world.
30 Snow Patrol – ‘Run’
Gary Lightbody apparently wrote ‘Run’ after going on a massive bender and falling down some stairs. “The words ‘Light up, light up’ gave this sense of a beacon. There had to be a light at the end of a tunnel,” he said.
29 Franz Ferdinand – ‘Do You Want To?’
Follow Franz’s lead and go where you’ve never let yourself before! Well, at least switch your usual lunch for an edgier meal deal tomorrow.
28 The Jam – ‘Going Underground’
If any song’s going to make you politically motivated ahead of the forthcoming election, it’s this anti-Conservative rant from The Jam. “You choose your leaders and place your trust/As their lies wash you down and their promises rust,” Paul Weller sings. Let that be a lesson.
27 Doves – ‘There Goes The Fear’
Two important things to know about ‘There Goes The Fear’. 1. It’s imperative you dance like your dad to the jangly bits that sound like the Grange Hill theme tune. 2. Make the most of the track’s passive motivational skills by letting the lyric “You turn around and life’s passed you by” give you the fear factor.
26 La Roux – ‘In For The Kill’
Do what La Roux says (go in for the kill, do it for the thrill, etc. etc.) on her sassy electropop debut and you’re sure to tackle whatever naysayers might come your way with aplomb.
25 House Of Pain – ‘Jump Around’
Two parts aggressively energetic, one part hilarious (“I never eat a pig ’cause a pig is a cop”), ‘Jump Around’ has featured in at least two action movies, ‘Daredevil’ and ‘Rush Hour’, so is certified motivation music.
24 Justice Vs Simian – ‘We Are Your Friends’
Combine forceful synth stabs with stirring lyrics – “We are your friends/ You’ll never be alone again” – and you have a track so powerful it’ll defeat even Hollyoaks Omnibus laziness.
23 Friendly Fires – ‘Jump In The Pool’
Something about this synthy, bubbly, giddy tune turns tedious jogs through rundown towns into excited dashes through vibrant metropolises. It’s the ultimate ‘pretending to be in a movie’ exercise song.
22 Arcade Fire – ‘Ready to Start’
What better way to begin the day than with double-drum-kit, full-throttle Arcade Fire. Just make sure you pick the “Now I’m ready to start/My mind is open wide” lyrics as your mantra rather than the “Businessmen drink my blood” bits. That would be weird.
21 Be Your Own Pet – ‘Adventure’
Containing the word ‘adventuring’ 8 times and the word ‘adventurer’ 10 times, if Be Your Own Pet haven’t convinced you to head off on at least a mini-break by the time you finish listening to ‘Adventure’ you’re a stone-hearted individual.
20 Missy Elliott – ‘Get Ur Freak On’
Question: Wouldn’t life be 100% better if you lived everyday like you were Missy Elliot? Answer: Yes. Make sure you “Getcha getcha getcha getcha getcha freak on” and today will be a glorious day.
19 The Strokes – ‘You Only Live Once’
Surely The Strokes have missed a trick by not re-releasing this classic now YOLO’s a thing? Anyway, aside for the obvious hedonistic title, this track has the kind of good vibes that make positive memories scroll through your mind like a ‘Big Brother Best Bits’ video montage.
18 Nas – ‘The World Is Yours’
Don’t be fooled by the laid-back beat, this is a song about winning at life. Its title was taken from ‘Scarface’ in which Tony Montana makes the phrase his mantra.
17 Primal Scream – ‘Higher Than The Sun’
Let’s slow down the tempo a little because even lazy Sunday mornings can be motivational. The mix of hazy melodies and lyrics like “I believe you get what you give” is potent.
16 Drake – ‘Started At The Bottom’
If Drake started at the bottom and got his whole team here so can you. He used to work all night, drive home through traffic, be hungry, live at his momma’s house and argue with her monthly but now nothing’s poppin’ off without him.
15 MIA – ‘Born Free’
Okay, so this video has that weird ginger genocide storyline but let’s ignore that. The lesson to learn here is “Yeah I don’t wanna live for tomorrow/ I push my life today”.
14 Florence + The Machine – ‘Dog Days Are Over’
This is probably one to listen to in the secrecy of your bedroom if you don’t want to ruin your street cred. It’s a bit, well, ‘X Factor final’ now (cheers Simon Cowell). Still, listening to ‘Dog Days Are Over’ puts an uplifting summer glow on dull, grey days.
13 Kanye West – ‘I Am A God’
If Kanye’s breathless ‘I Am A God’ doesn’t make you want to get up on your feet, not much will. It’s time to get stacking millions till you’re chilling with Jesus and remember, never ever accept sloppy service when it comes to croissant.
12 Kelis – ‘Bossy’
Life lesson to take from ‘Bossy’? Stop being nice to everyone. Remember: “You don’t have to love me/ You don’t even have to like me/ But you will respect me”. Now, dominate the office.
11 Nirvana – ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’
That riff, that anti-establishment attitude: whether you’re doing a 20 minute crosstrainer sesh or powering through your tax returns, try your hardest to channel ‘Teen Spirit’ in moments of stress.
10 Fatboy Slim – ‘Right Here, Right Now’
The musical equivalent to your mum standing at the bottom of the stairs shouting “No, not in five minutes! Do your homework NOW”.
9 The Vines – ‘Get Free’
If you’re trying to psych yourself into getting out of a mundane job/relationship/town this is the song to scream.
8 Daft Punk – ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger’
Do we really need to explain why we chose this? No track is more hype than ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger’.
7 Public Enemy – ‘Fight The Power’
Spike Lee commissioned ‘Fight The Power’ for his movie ‘Do The Right Thing’. “I wanted it to be defiant, I wanted it to be angry, I wanted it to be very rhythmic,” he told TIME magazine – and that’s why it’s the perfect motivator.
6 Dizzee Rascal – ‘Fix Up, Look Sharp’
Originally used to slew Asher D in a rap battle, you can now use ‘Fix Up, Look Sharp’ to convince yourself that sweatpants are never office appropriate. Even on casual Friday.
5 The White Stripes – ‘Seven Nation Army’
Egyptian journalist Mono Elthahawy says of ‘Seven Nation Army’: “Every time I hear the opening lines it just takes me to Egypt, where people – I’ve never seen anything like it. Literally, nothing can hold them back.” If it’s good enough for the Arab Spring it’s good enough for you.
4 Beyonce – ‘Run The World’
We imagine that when Beyonce faces the mirror each morning she looks herself in the eye and thinks “Who run the world? BEYONCE”. You should do the same.
3 The Gossip – ‘Standing In The Way Of Control’
Beth Ditto wrote Standing In The Way Of Control as a response to a US Amendment which would have outlawed same-sex marriage in the country. Explaining the ruling made her friends feel “helpless and cheated,” she said: “I wrote the chorus to try and encourage people not to give up.”
2 Kanye West – ‘Stronger’
A stone cold motivational anthem, guaranteed to put you in the zone. When it comes to getting yourself in gear, look no further than the king of overconfidence.
1 Oasis – ‘Live Forever’
Put this on, yell the lyrics at the top of your voice and pretend it’s 2am on Friday night, you’ve got your arms round your mates and anything is possible.