Study Playlists That Can Make You Smarter
Let’s face it: Everyone loves music, and most people hate studying. But if you combine the two, can you reach intellectual nirvana?
Studies show that music can help the mind focus, but other studies prove that music (especially certain types of music) can detract from singletasking.
Classical music, especially Baroque era composition, is largely considered the perfect music for the mind. And, oddly, so is death metal. What works best for you? That’s for you to find out. Only your ears, your brain, and your grades know the answer. Here’s a few hints.
The Ideal Playlist:
- … is heavy on classical music. Think Chopin. Chopin is great, especially if you’re writing. And if you know nothing about classical music, start with Bach and Mozart.
- … switches it up. A little Vivaldi here, a little Jack Johnson there.
- … isn’t distracting. You need to focus on studying, not rocking. Just this once.
- … hovers at about 60 beats per minute. You want something rhythmic — a functional metronome for your study session.
- … lasts for an entire study session. Need to pull an all-nighter? Time to do the study playlist shuffle. No repeats, if you can help it.
- … has a few gemstones every hour. Don’t pack your playlist with your favorite tunes, or you’ll be singing “Me and Bobby McGee” for six hours and getting nowhere with those partial differential equations. But do add a few wild cards into the mix. You’re only human — and the need to rock out is a natural one.
- … makes it easy to zone out. Think ideal study music, not ideal music. You’re trying to cement facts and concepts, not prove to your earbuds that you have good taste.
After college, my study playlists have morphed into my writing playlists. You’ll find a lot of Chopin, a fair amount of Coltrane’s session work, and “Rhapsody in Blue,” like a tonic — once every two to four hours. You’ll find a lot of ambient-yet-melodic music. As I write this piece, I’m listening to “Orange” by The Dandy Warhols. Next up is “Everybody Daylight” by Brightblack Morning Light. You won’t find my favorite genre — I listen to the blues when I listen to music. I let working music help me work, and I leave the good stuff for a time when my soul can manage it independently.
What’s On Your Smartest Study Playlist?
When making a playlist, try some or all of the following:
- Piano music. Be it classical or boogie (think Dr. John) — piano puts your mind in the right place.
- Dubstep. Or techno. I hate it too, but it totally works.
- Jazz. Jazz. Jazz.
- Slow, almost silent pieces. Sigur Ros B-sides should work just fine.
- One or two of your favorite bands, but toned down for studying. For me, that means something like this. Or this. Or this.
- White noise. Here’s a free generator.
- Classical music. Don’t know where to start? Start here.
- Something you know all the words to, but can easily ignore. For me, it’s stuff like this.
- Something that reminds you why you’re studying in the first place. Try this. It’s from a series called Symphony of Science.
What’s on your playlist? And better yet, what’s in your brain? Best of luck in your studies. Work hard and rock on!
YouTube: Best Study Music Playlist
8tracks.Com: My Ultimate Study Playlist
Playlist.Com: Classical Music for Study Time
Study Like A Champion: Study Playlist
CollegeInfoGeek.Com: 7 Great Albums to Study With
Science Daily: Music Moves Brain to Pay Attention, Study Finds
Aristotle Circle: Get Your Study On: The best music for cracking the books
Online Colleges: Top 10 Songs for Your Study Playlist