What Is the Best Music to Help You Study?

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listening to music when studyingBeethoven once said, “Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.” As it turns out, music enhances learning, too. According to a College Entrance Exam Board Service study, students involved in musical extracurricular activities scored 51 points higher on the verbal portion of the SAT exams and 39 points higher on math on the SAT exams. [1]

Through this and other research findings, educators believe that music relaxes, soothes, and helps people concentrate better, making it the perfect study companion to diminish distractions and keep students learning.

In Don Campbell’s book The Mozart Effect, Campbell has condensed research on the topic to enlighten readers about how music affects their brain. According to Campbell, music:

  • Improves test results
  • Reduces learning time
  • Helps you focus
  • Reduces errors
  • Enhances creativity [2]

Yet all music genres aren’t created equal. Loud and more abrasive genres, like rock and metal, might only distract you. Below are some music genres that can help students study and learn:

  • Classical: While it might not be your thing, many believe that classical music has mind-boosting effects and does wonders for concentration levels. Researchers refer to this as the “Mozart effect,” indicating that listening to classical music—Mozart in particular—can improve people’s ability to think out long-term and figure out abstract solutions to logical problems. [3]
  • Ambient: To keep your brain engaged, consider listening to ambient music, such as waterfalls, rain forests, and so forth, which cultivate an effect similar to meditation, producing a relaxed but alert state of mind. Turn to well-known artists that have made ambient music including Aphex Twin and Brian Eno.
  • Chillout: Discover Chillout, an actual music sub-genre that refers to certain varieties of Intelligent Dance Music (IDM), which encourage people to break, relax, and recover. It stimulates listeners, while encouraging productivity and inspiring creativity. [4]
  • Electronic:  Introduce low-key genre music, including Trip-hop, Jazz, House, Trance, or New Wave, into your study routine to help relax your mind and get your creative juices flowing.

Students can easily access these genres of music on free platforms such as Pandora, Spotify, and other mobile or web apps. Parents and teachers should encourage children and students to listen to music during study and homework periods, potentially reducing learning time and increasing young adults’ memory throughout the process.


Tiffany Sumner is a freelance writer who writes articles and blog posts on a wide range of topics. In her spare time she reads, writes fiction, and watches way too many cat videos online. You can follow her on Google+


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  1. Alex September 21, 2013 at 1:06 pm - Reply

    Post-rock always does the trick for me 🙂

  2. Oud September 21, 2013 at 10:26 pm - Reply

    I believe that listening to music while studying will only distract you, but learning to play an instrument or having extracurricular musical activities will improve your mental skills

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