The Best Music To Listen To While You Work Or Study
They say classical music makes the best study tunes, but are we really limited to Bach and Mozart?
You’ve probably heard that classical music is good for studying, taking tests and doing creative work. This idea stems from the “Mozart Effect,” a term coined in 1993 when scientists discovered that listening to Mozart’s Sonata for 10 minutes resulted in better spatial reasoning skills — a particular type of intelligence that involves visualizing and manipulating images in your brain.
The findings in that 1993 study got blown out of proportion, however, and classical music became synonymous with intelligence: so synonymous, in fact, that in 1998, then-Governor of Georgia Zell Miller proposed sending a classical cassette tape to every baby born in the state, free of charge, so that the babies would become smart.
Even though the Mozart Effect has been more or less debunked in the time since, some experts still argue that music can offer other benefits to our brains — namely, concentration and productivity.
These 6 Types Of Music Are Known To Dramatically Improve Productivity
Just another example of how much you gain by listening.
Music isnt just a means of entertaining ourselves: it can also encourage creativity and help us become more productive. Listening to music can also be therapeutic, relieving feelings of stress so you can concentrate better.
10’000 Hours | Getty Images
Research has found that certain types of music can be beneficial to us while we work. Some types of music seem to help with learning and improve our ability to process information. Other types help block out distracting background noise. Still other types sync with our brain waves to induce eureka moments.
So, if youre struggling with productivity and want to know what you should be listening to, read on. These are the six types of music that will give you a major boost in productivity.
It Can Lower Reading Comprehension
Certain types of music including music with lyrics and instrumental music that is fast and loud can make it harder to understand and absorb reading material.
Whether youre looking at an evening of Victorian literature or some one-on-one time with your biology textbook, soft classical music with a slow tempo may be a better choice.
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If I Hear A Certain Work And Really Like It Should I Get Recordings And Go Through That Composers Catalog
This endeavor could make what should be a bracing exploration feel like an academic assignment. If anything, Id urge someone who was excited about, say, Beethovens Seventh Symphony to seek out performances of symphonies by other composers from other periods, works by Schumann, Mahler and Sibelius, or maybe Stravinskys Symphony of Psalms .
If you really want to hear how the Beethovenian symphonic ideal was transfigured in the 20th century, try Messiaens ecstatic, serenely gorgeous and cosmically wild Turangalila Symphony.
Now, sometimes an ensemble will survey a composers works in one genre through a special series of concerts: an orchestra will play the six Tchaikovsky symphonies, or a string quartet might tackle the 16 Beethoven quartets. Ventures like these can be immersive, exhilarating marathons that youll partake with other audience members, which makes it more fun.
Does Classical Music Make You Smarter In Terms Of Helping You To Study
Classical music can make a difference in ones IQ. In a 1993 study, a professor found that there is a spike in the IQ of his students after he made them listen to a piece of Mozart.
This became a ground-breaking experiment because it garnered both positive and negative comments from experts. This was known as the Mozart Effect. It is more elaborated in a sense that the professor believed that listening to Mozarts music helps you on warming up certain parts of your brain that are concerned with abstract thoughts.
Another study investigated the effects of classical music on toddlers ranging from three to four years old. They found that these children have an increased spatial-temporal reasoning after being put into classical music.
As to the Mozart effect, the results were not proven and still is looking for more concrete ideas. Though there is no specific range of people having an increased IQ, the theory is still enforced as to how classical music can improve ones memory and brain function.
Although the result of improved IQ after listening to classical music is not definitive, it does not necessarily mean that listening to classical music is short of any benefits. Fact remains that same brand sound can improve your pattern of honing your short and long term memory that have long time benefits both in academic and everyday life.
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It Can Have A Negative Impact On Working Memory
Working memory refers to the information you use for problem-solving, learning, and other cognitive tasks.
You use working memory when trying to remember:
- items on a list
- steps for solving a math problem
- a sequence of events
Most people can work with a few pieces of information at a time. A high working memory capacity means you can handle more material.
Research suggests, however, that listening to music can reduce working memory capacity.
If you already have a hard time manipulating multiple pieces of information, listening to music could make this process even more challenging.
Works By Bach Brahms Mozart And Others Are Effective Aids That Improve Sleep Patterns And Reduce Stress Studies Find
As the season of cramming and finals approaches, Trojans can get help with a healthy, easily accessible study aid classical music.
Its a solution available 24/7 at Classical KUSC in Los Angeles or Classical KDFC in San Francisco. Listen either on the radio or live-streamed at kusc.org or kdfc.com. Theres a new version of KUSCs free app and one for KDFC to use on mobile devices.
A number of academic studies recently zeroed in on classical music, showing that listening benefits the brain, sleep patterns, the immune system and stress levels all helpful when facing those all-important end-of-semester tests.
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It Reduces Stress And Improves Your Mood
Music doesnt just motivate you. It can also help reduce stress and promote a more positive mindset.
In a 2013 study , 60 female volunteers carried out a psychological stress test while listening to relaxing music, sounds of rippling water, or no particular sound. Results suggested that listening to relaxing music makes a physical difference to the way people respond psychologically and physically in terms of hormone response under stress. However, the picture is complex, and more studies are needed.
In a 2021 study , patients in ICU said they felt less pain and anxiety after listening to music for 30 minutes than before.
Research suggests that a good mood generally improves your learning outcomes. Youll likely have more success with studying and learning new material when youre feeling good.
Studying can be stressful, especially when you dont entirely understand the subject material. If you feel overwhelmed or upset, putting on some music can help you relax and work more effectively.
Something Different: Space Ambience
For our final selection, weve included this 24/7 radio station of ambient space sounds futuristic electronic music thats meant to evoke a feeling of wonder. Its ideal for pondering big questions, and as a result, studying. Unlike the other suggestions above, which weve tried to tailor to genre tastes, this playlist is more of a genre on its own. Try it out, it might make your study experience out of this world!
It Could Help You Memorize New Information
According to a , listening to classical music seemed to help older adults perform better on memory and processing tasks.
These findings suggest certain types of music can help boost memorization abilities and other cognitive functions.
Music helps stimulate your brain, similar to the way exercise helps stimulate your body.
The more you exercise your muscles, the stronger they become, right? Giving your brain a cognitive workout could help strengthen it in a similar fashion.
Not everyone finds music helpful for tasks that require concentration.
Classical Music To Study To
If youre searching for that perfect playlist to study to before a big final, while writing your thesis, or just enjoying the companionship of a good book, you may have just found it. As All Classical Portlands 2020 Young Artist in Residence, one of my goals is to share my love for this music with people all over the world. I hope you enjoy this playlist I have curated for you, and may it help you achieve all of your scholarly goals!
Natalie Tan2020 Young Artist in ResidenceAll Classical Portland
What Type Of Music Is Good To Study With
The best type will depend on the individual. There is evidence that classical symphonies or relaxing music are a good choice for managing stress, but also that upbeat music might boost a persons thinking processes. Instrumental music may be more suitable than songs with lyrics, as the lyrics can be distracting.
How Can Music Help Us Focus
Consider these few reasons why music might help you plow through your to-do list:
Elicits positive emotions: People tend to be more productive and efficient when happy , and the right kind of music can put a little pep in your step. People who listen to music, in fact, may be happier overall than people who don’t listen to music.
Makes you feel upbeat: Sometimes, work and life just feel drab. If you’ve been feeling bored, a happy tune can make lackluster tasks seem more appealing.
Drowns out other noise: If you’ve ever worked in a coffee shop or an office with an open floor plan, you’ve probably been driven up the wall by the sounds of someone sniffling or shuffling their feet. Listening to music, particularly through a good pair of headphones, can drown out distracting noises.
If you can’t stand the sounds of your work environment, use music to drown them out.
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Will Reading About The Historical Era In Which A Piece Was Created Help Me Appreciate What Im Hearing
Though such knowledge may be informative, its not what matters in the moment of hearing a piece. Music has certainly changed over time. You could even say it has evolved. But its misleading to think you have to understand, say, a Bach violin concerto from the early 1700s, in order to get the much-later Beethoven Violin Concerto from the early 1800s or, moving ahead, the Brahms, Bartok and Berg violin concertos. Some listeners may by inclined to enjoy Bachs animated Baroque style much more than Brahmss teeming Romanticism. It has nothing to do with historical era.
Cello Sonata No 2 In D Major Op 5: I Allegro Assai Vivace By Felix Mendelssohn
This piece lends a joy and ease to any environment surrounding it, and it creates an ethereal sense of happiness. Whenever I listen to this piece, I dont imagine anything it clears my mind and allows me to relax. This piece sets my entire mood for studying it is upbeat enough that it gets me pumped and focused, but it also doesnt distract me and take away from my concentration.
What Exactly Is Classical Music And What Differentiates It From Other Musical Genres
Ah, that inevitable question. Labels can be problematic in any field classical music especially so. One complication is that music history refers to the years from roughly 1750 to 1825 as the classical period, when Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven achieved their glory. But in a broader sense the term classical music has been adopted as a way to describe the continuing heritage of music mostly written to be performed in concert halls and opera houses by orchestras, singers, choruses, chamber ensembles and solo instrumentalists. Another characteristic is that composers in this tradition have been drawn to larger, structured forms. Still, the term is far from ideal, but no one has come up with a good alternative yet.
Antonio Vivaldi Four Seasons
Vivaldis Four Seasons is a collection of four concertos representing seasonal changes. At forty-two minutes long, this work is excellent as a stand alone study piece if you need to force yourself to sit at a desk for about an hour and study just put it on and work until youve heard the whole thing. Furthermore, its one of those pieces that will continue to inspire throughout the decades with its dexterous arrangement and beautiful motifs.
If youre looking for more great classical pieces, there are some great playlists on YouTube and Spotify that will help you focus. Good luck, and enjoy, and happy Studying!
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Nobuo Uematsu: Final Fantasy Vii
A yearning piano melody, gently rising and falling, sits atop lush string harmonies and a woodwind chorus in this gorgeous theme from Japanese composer Nobuo Uematsus video game soundtrack Final Fantasy VII. This one is all about the importance of still finding time to unwind, even while youre cramming.
Curious About Classical Music Heres Where To Start
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Over my many years of reviewing, Ive often been asked for advice from newcomers to classical music, people excited by what theyve heard, and eager to hear and to learn more.
Naturally, I urge those exploring classical music to find out whatever they can. Yet Ive found that many people assume that knowledge of the art form is a prerequisite to appreciation. Newcomers to other performing arts, like theater or dance, dont seem to feel this level of intimidation. Id encourage those who are curious to just go to a performance and see what they think. A symphony orchestra program or an opera, or a piano recital is not an exam. Its an escape, an adventure, an enrichment.
Still, let me offer a bit of advice, by answering some of the questions Ive received.
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Classical Music For Studying
School can be intense, especially during exam season. You find yourself spending all your free time studying, working on projects, reviewing assignments, pouring over practice tests, and doing everything you can to prepare yourself. But have you really tried everything? What do you listen to when you studya favorite playlist, a babbling brook, nothing at all? A wealth of scientific research has found a new way for you to boost your academic performance: listening to classical music for studying!
This simple practice can boost your grades and help you retain information, so give classical music a try and see if it becomes a helpful habit for life! You might find that you finally get the exam scores youve been craving, and feel healthier and happier in the process. Heres why classical music for studying works for so many people:
Scientifically Significant Study Benefits
You may be familiar with the rumored brainpower phenomenon called the Mozart Effect. A 1993 linked the effects of listening to Mozart with an increase in IQ, spurring an increase in the popularity of classical music for studying. The study demonstrated that participants who listened to Mozart tended to score higher on subsequent IQ tests. While this specific research is now widely discredited, it has been replaced by a plethora of well-respected studies demonstrating that there are definite academic effects derived from listening to classical music for studying.
Piano Concerto No 23 By Mozart
One cannot have a classical music list and not include Mozart. Piano Concerto No. 23 is an extremely popular composition by Mozart. This iconic classical music piece is sure to give you happy and positive vibes with its perfectly balanced rhythm and melody, keeping you in a calm and at peace kind of state of mind when you study.
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Worlds #1 Greatest Classical Music For Studying Playlist Library
by William Wadsworth | Dec 3, 2020
Looking for classical music to study to?
Youre in the right place.
The science is clear: provided its not distracting you, music can be pretty helpful for studying, and Classical often works great because the low / no lyric approach tends to be less likely to distract you.
Plug in to these epic playlists of classical music for studying, and watch the to do list melt away!
Isnt It Helpful To Know Something About The Musical Styles And Conventions Of An Era Before Hearing Certain Works
Not really. Now, learning about the historical background of a particular work can certainly enhance ones perceptions. I suggest hearing something fresh, and then, once youre intrigued, finding out more. Take, for example, the Beethoven piano concertos. You dont have to know about the history of the concerto genre to get that this form involves a back-and-forth between a soloist and an orchestra. The exchanges can be playful, stealthy or downright combative. But the feistiness is built-in and unmistakable. Just trust your instincts and your ear will serve you.
Of course, the more music you hear the more you start to pick up associations between one period and another, between one genre and another. For instance, Mozarts passion for opera comes through in all of his music. Many of the slow movements of his piano concertos can seem like instrumental evocations of an opera aria. The pianist, almost like a singer, often plays a single melodic line in the right hand, shaping and ornamenting the vocal part, and adding a minimal accompaniment with the left hand, as the orchestra provides deferential backing. But even without knowing this, most listeners, I think, will intuitively sense when the soloist in Mozarts slow movements becomes the pianist equivalent of a prima donna.
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