Some people prefer to work in silence. Others find blaring their favorite tunes helps keep them productive. Music can be beneficial for listening while you work or study. However, it depends on what you’re listening to and what you’re trying to achieve. Soft and mellow may help you to focus, while a high energy piece can keep you motivated, and pleasant melodies can make tedious tasks more enjoyable. In general, songs with lyrics, or complex musical sounds that command your attention, won’t work as well. So, keep that in mind if you want to get something done. Below is a list of the best music for listening while you work or study.
Classical – Ornately constructed compositions by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Vivaldi, and other classical composers can empower the senses and improve mood. Studies have shown that classical and baroque music helps enhance cognitive function, concentration, and accuracy, giving listeners a clarity of mind that isn’t provided by other styles of music. For starters, try Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons,” Bach’s “Brandenburg Concertos,” or “Mozart for Your Mind.”
Jazz – Cool jazz has a way of raising spirits and will keep your work flowing for hours on end. With smooth harmonies, groovy bass lines, and a pulsating rhythmic base, classic jazz can provide workers who do repetitive tasks with the perfect backdrop. However, it may prove distracting to those who need to think a little deeper while they work. If you want to give jazz a try, start with Miles Davis “Kind Of Blue”.
Rock – Classic rock from the ’60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s is some of the best music for manual laborers, energizing them while distracting them from the dirty job at hand – whether it’s digging a garden, fixing a car, or building a house. The perfect songs for such a playlist include The Beatles “A Hard Days Night” (1964), Bachman-Turner Overdrive “Takin’ Care of Business” (1974), Rush “Working Man” (1974), Styx “Blue Collar Man” (1978), Loverboy “Working for the Weekend” (1982), Bruce Springsteen “Working on the Highway” (1984), and Dire Straits “Money for Nothing” (1985).
Epic Music – Epic music is typically orchestral music with a rich, full-bodied sound. Epic music can help you power through your work and make you feel like you’re doing something grandiose to change the world. If you’re feeling tired and uninspired, listen to some epic music to lift you up and give you that extra boost of motivation. The theme music for adventure and action movies is a great example of epic music. Think of the soundtracks for Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars, Eragon, and Lord of the Rings.
Video Game Soundtracks – Like epic music, video game soundtracks are a great choice of music to listen to while you work or study. Although the compositions are specifically designed to enhance your virtual gaming experience, the music also makes your real work more fun as it creates positive vibes when played in the background, especially if it’s from one of your favorite games such as Bastion, Life is Strange, Mirrors Edge, or SimCity.
Ambient/Electronic – The perfect style for those looking for background music that won’t distract, ambient electronica provides a no-frills sonic retreat. As Brian Eno, creator of “Music for Airports” says, “Ambient music must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting.” Designed to help relax the mind and let it roam, the genre is perfect for those who are attempting to come up with some deep insight, and is especially handy for students who are hard at work on final exams. Lo-fi hip hop or “chillhop” is a form of downtempo ambient music popular on YouTube for the purpose of studying or relaxing. If you’re feeling stressed out, give ambient music a try.
Other Types of Music – Depending on the type of job, there are other types of music you can listen to while you work such as folk, country, pop, contemporary Christian, or New Age. If you just want to be able to concentrate without distractions, play some “white noise” or nature sounds.
The infographic below provides additional tips for the right (and wrong) playlist for your occupation. Of course, the most important thing is for the music to be something that you enjoy, or you won’t be able to concentrate at all. So, see what works best for you!
(Click to enlarge the image)
What is your favorite music for listening while you work or study? Let us know in the comments below.
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I usually listen to movie soundtracks, but that might be too distracting for some people. Without music, I can’t actually work as well.