Universities, researchers and even your local health and student bloggers are seemingly becoming more interested in the role music plays on studying and productivity. There are so many students who claim that music makes studying more productive!
However, the science shows these claims can be contested. According to an article by Cambridge Brain Science Researcher, Tram Ngyuen, music can either distract you, engage you or have no effect on productivity and most of her sample showed little to no effect.
Me? I stand by it – since I was in middle school, I have devoted my time to curating a blend of movie and television scores that make me feel engaged and motivated for those two-hour sessions before bed. Music helps me feel motivated, and relaxed.
It’s different for everyone – for me, the shuffling of papers on the table next me, the flicking of a pen, anything can distract me. Music helps me draw focus to a certain task, music or of course ambiences. However, there are TONS of people who cannot focus when there is music playing in the background.
My Playlist: Film & TV Scores
My essential study playlist has been my go-to for years, and is constantly being updated. I am a person who can only study with instrumentals, if I listen to music with lyrics, I may end up just writing the lyrics down instead of my reading notes.
Film & TV scores help me zone out what’s around me and fixate on one task at hand. (Sometimes I have to listen to the same playlist when I am trying to get through an hour of cardio on the treadmill too).
This playlist was designed for when I’m studying in the library, so naturally, when I am reading on the train or if I’m in a coffeeshop – I pick a different vibe. Intro by The xx is one of my favourites for studying on the train.
Picking a playlist that’s right for you
If music helps you study, there is no doubt in my mind that you understand the importance of a solid study playlist. One that keeps you grounded and helps keep you focused – however not everyone has the time to make a playlist.
I encourage you to experiment, pick a playlist in the explore section on your choice of streaming service such as Spotify, Apple Music or even YouTube! See if it helps you stay focused or makes it hard to.
I also encourage you who need more ‘background noises’ to check out various ambience soundscapes on YouTube! My favourites are of course, any of the Harry Potter ones – you can also find some catered to the POMODORO studying technique as well!
Studying while listening to music is not for everyone, however, for some (such as myself) it can make a big difference — hopefully some of these recommendations help you!