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Best music for studying

Best music for studying

My name is Tracy and I am currently a primary school teacher. Whilst I was studying VCE in Melbourne’s South East, I continued to use playlists to help my study efforts and direct my focus. I graduated as a High Achiever, with top scores in English, Psychology and Health and Human Development with an early acceptance into my chosen university course. 

During my time in high school, I had always been a conscientious student, even choosing to study certain units earlier than necessary in order to ensure my success. Developing good study habits and self-discipline are the key to success; students are constantly told this as they prepare for their final studied, but this can look different depending on how you learn best and store information.

Part of my achievement in my areas of study can be attributed to the use of music to aide my studies. Read on to find out how study playlists can work for you!

Why study with music?

I spent a lot of time studying in public and shared spaces, whether this be the school common room, the library or my dining table at home. This meant there was a lot of opportunity for background and ambient noise to distract me and have an effect on my ability to retain knowledge.

Studying with music allowed me to create a space which supported my ability to focus and retain information, wherever I was. Because I regularly studied with music and playlists, it also prepared me to enter a state of attention, where I was aware of what I needed to do in order to achieve my goals, no matter the time or place.

Studying with music, particularly with headphones, also signalled to the people around me that I wasn’t available to talk to or engage with, with further reduced the distractions I encountered and increased my productivity.

What type of music did you study with?

Music is a very personal topic, it’s important that you select music which works for you as an individual. The most important factor to me is always using headphones. I prefer over ear headphones as they have noise cancelling abilities too however in ear to the trick just fine! Some of my favourite picks for study playlists includes:

Best music for studying 1 – Classical music

I love classical music; the way it builds and lifts with only tempo, beat and instrument. I also find that it has a calming effect so when I’m studying or completing time sensitive tasks, it reduces my stress levels whilst also keeping me on track and determined. Some of my favourite tracks to study are:

  • Swan Lake, Op 20: Introduction & Act 1:9 Finale by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  • Clair de lune by Debussy
  • Lakme Act 1: Flower Duet by Leo Delibes

Best music for studying 2 – Familiar music

Songs which familiar lyrics and beats mean that when you’re listening to them, you don’t need to anticipate what’s coming next, you already know! These types of tunes, when you listen to them, have a way of finishing very quickly as you glide along to them in your head. For me, these are songs that I grew up listening to, so they have a welcomed and practiced sound to me. When you’re studying, I find this kind of music helpful as they don’t take up any additional brain power to listen to and instead, create a comfortable and familiar environment where you can get stuff done! My favourites include:

  • Hotel California by The Eagles
  • Quando, Quando, Quando by Michael Buble
  • At Last by Etta James

Best music for studying 3 – Non lyrical music

This can range from easy listening to guitar solos to Melbourne bounce! When words and speech are taken out of the musical equation, there’s one less thing to focus your attention on and instead, you can redirect that brain power to where you need it most. Rather than specific sounds, for this aspect of study playlists, I prefer to stick to artists and sound profiles so apps like Apple Music and Spotify really help to narrow my range and take the effort out of choosing individual tracks. Common themes and artists I use include:

  • Instrumental Jazz
  • Will Sparks
  • Orchestras for Ballets such as Swan Lake, Peter and Wolf and Coppelia

My (study) music playlists

Best music for studying 1
Best music for studying 2

Best music for studying 3

Hopefully this has helping you understand a little better some of the benefits to studying with a playlist and provided some inspiration for creating your own!

Happy studying!



Author: Tracy K

Tracy K

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