Studies have proven certain kinds of music help you focus. Music has a profound effect on our mood, blood pressure, and heart rate. For the best music to focus and study, the consensus has been to choose tunes that keep you awake but won’t overstimulate you. Overstimulation can be as simple as causing you to start tapping to the beat.
“Music activates both the left and right brain at the same time, and the activation of both hemispheres can maximize learning and improve memory,” said Dr. Godkin to Northcentral University’s blog.
What Genre to Choose
Choices range from what’s on the radio to a random mix on YouTube or Spotify. Studies suggest it can be helpful for some to create a playlist. If you do choose to create your own, you can plan a set amount of uninterrupted music. Playlists can serve as a built-in timer for studying; when the music is up, you’ve earned a break.
“There isn’t a recipe for everyone,” said Nathalie Gosselin from Université de Montréal’s BRAMS International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research to CBC Montreal. “It would be great if there was a magic type of music that allowed everyone to focus. Unfortunately, what might work for one individual could be annoying or even distracting for someone else.”
What the Research Says
An article published by the scientific journal Nature concluded that people perform better on spatial abilities tests after listening to Mozart’s music. Researchers found Mozart’s music can activate our brains, stimulate our senses, and put us in a good mood. All of these conditions improve cognition.
“Researchers asked young teens to listen to popular music, and the same effects of improvement on cognition were seen, even though it wasn’t classical music,” Gosselin said to CBC Montreal. “It wasn’t due to the genre itself.”
Queen’s University said that for some people, working in a quiet environment helps them to focus. Research suggests listening to specific music genres in the background can help calm a person down; being calm helps with productivity.
Add Music to Your Study Routine
Everyone’s taste in music is different. When it comes to creating the best study-music playlist, here are some common genres and tips to consider:
- Soothing sounds of classical orchestra music are proven to increase mood and productivity, which makes it great for studying;
- Music with 60-70 beats per minute, such as Beethoven’s Fur Elise, has been shown to help students study longer and retain more information;
- Ambient sounds you would hear on a soundtrack during a spa treatment; Sounds of babbling brooks, birds, wind, and rain are very calming and make excellent background noise;
- New Age and ambient EDM music are a good alternative for those who don’t like classical music; and
- Don’t drown out your thoughts by listening at a sound volume; it’s supposed to be background noise.