lots of people study best with sounds, while others may prefer white noise or just silence – it’s a trial and error of seeing what works best for you! this is an ultimate guide to study playlists and songs. you can find more study playlist posts / masterposts at my tag #study sounds (check it out here!)
what to know about studying with sounds
it’s super important that you know the pros and cons of studying with music, because it’s not right for everyone. music and studying research has shown that students who study listening to classical music tend to absorb more information, because classical music has the power to stimulate a student’s thinking. furthermore, studying with music can also keep a student awake by putting them into a rhythm that helps them to move through assignments and material.
however, some students may get distracted by the music and focus more on the sound than the assignment. while classical music and studying seem to be a nice combination, other sounds may not have the same effect. if you can’t focus when you study with music, it may not be the best option for you!
you can use sounds while you study in a variety of different ways. some may work for you while others may not!
let your music determine your break times. if you enjoy making your own study playlists, make one that will last as long as the study period. if you intend to study for 40 minutes, make a 40 minute playlist so that when the music stops, you know it’s time for a break! (source)
use music to study for different subjects. for example, if you play one playlist every time you study for math, whenever you hear that playlist your brain will go into math mode. if you don’t use random music whenever you study, music can really help shape your studying routine.
blast during breaks. maybe it’s not necessary to study with music playing, but playing music during your break times is a great way to keep your energy up and refresh your mind from all that silence!! during your breaks you can grab a snack or stretch, and music will definitely set the mood.
sounds to study with
for those of you who work best with white noise, the sound of rain, coffee shop sounds, etc. a few great ones are:
coffitivity : recreates the sound of a cafe, there are three free options (morning murmur, lunctime lounge, and university undertones) as well as three options you’ll unlock if you purchase a premium for $9 a year.
noisli : awesome site that allows you to mix different sounds and create your perfect environment. a wide variety of nice sounds such as rain, wind, fire, cafe, and more.
gentle rain : this is literally a 12 hour youtube video of soft rain white noise. on the video there’s links to other superlong rain youtube videos so you can check those out!
nature sounds : waterfalls, birds chirping.. if that’s what you like, this 8 hour youtube video is perfect for you (gosh, how do people have the patience to make these things!!)
calming seas: 11 hours of the sound of the nice calming sea. i really like this one :)
there are TONS of great playlists and such on youtube, i promise if you just search “calming sounds” you’ll find so many. again, it’s a matter of finding the sounds that work for you!
there are also tons of applications you can download on phones or ipads that have neat sounds. i like muji to relax (bonus points for muji) and natr (which has like.. 47 different nature sounds, if i’m counting correctly!).
for those of you who prefer gorgeous instrumental tracks, i’ve got goodies for you too! 8tracks playlists galore. i know it looks like a lot to read through but i’ve added comments to each one just so you’ll know whether it’s what you’re looking for – instead of having to go through every single one.
work hard in silence, let success be your noise : this is a great playlist of 14 tracks, they’re all instrumental (majority piano) and there’s a good mix of different types of songs and tempos. the second track, comptine d'un autre été – l'après-midi is really high speed and energetic while song for sienna (solo piano version) is more gentle and soft. my favorite track on here is skinny love (piano) ohhhmygoodness.
the sky - the moon - the stars: this one’s more slow and relaxing (though waltz “swan lake” starts out with a bang and has more energy!) you’d totally be able to use it for nights where you’re having trouble sleeping as well. there are 8 tracks and like the first playlist, there’s a nice variety of sounds.
more coffee, please : this is a diverse mix of 11 tracks and i’m sure there’s something for everyone! this playlist starts off with black & yellow which is really high-energy and fun, great for if you want to jam while you study. take me to church is this beautiful but faster-moving violin and piano cover of take me to church by hozier. on the other hand, cristofori’s dream (live orchestral version) is really soft and slow. so this 8tracks list really has it all.
stillness of mind : really lovely playlist of 22 tracks that i think would be great for studying at night because it’s calming without making you super sleepy, while still having both fast and slow songs. talk about a balancing act! i like this one so much, especially at the ivy gate and love story.
for those times when even words are too much : 10 track playlist. a calming and quiet start with clair de lune. though that song’s more soft and sleepy, bach’s cello suite no.1 i-prelude will wake you right up, trust me! overall it’s a nice mix like the other playlists – not my personal favorite but it’s lovely so i’m i’m sure it’ll work for some of you! :)
the theory of everything : 17 gorgeous tracks. i. love. this. these aren’t classical piano songs or anything but they’re all so bright and beautiful!! warning though cassandra was a huge surprise to my ears because it got super loud. i love this playlist a lot though!!
mindscapes - music for writing : exactly what it sounds like! 12 really nice and calming tracks for writing. can’t say much about it honestly, i think it would be great background music for writing papers / essays. the creator of this playlist is a writer and you should check out her other playlists as well over here because there are playlists for action scenes, love stories, etc.
sense of wonder : this playlist of 8 tracks was actually created by a studyblr, @sleepy-study (who you should check out!) i think the playlist actually captures the name really well, it has this sense of wonderment to it – it’s calming and makes my head feel nice and light. great for if you’re feeling really stressed!
study for a minute : 9 tracks of classical music that are all super pretty and calming to listen to. i think this would be great for writing essays or reading! i listened to this while i was doing math homework and it didn’t work as well, but it’s up to you of course.
focus and study : a 15 track playlist that starts out beautifully with claire de lune, and continues on in instrumental glory!! i really love the second track, serenity spa. also, lots of people have said it’s worked for them in the comments, so i think this playlist could work for any subject!
notes for dreamers : 35 track playlist of gorgeous piano songs, “for peaceful studying, tea drinking, deep thinking, melancholic drifting and sleep reaching.” (i really loved their description) it’s a very lovely playlist and kind of makes me feel like i’m in a ballet, haha.
focus. : 34 lovely classical tracks to listen to for focus! i loooove this one for writing / english homework. le moulin (4th track) and new moon (The Meadow) especially pretty! and even though i love it, the theme from schindler’s list always makes me sniffly. the creator of the playlist also said to combine with noisli, which i haven’t tried, but you can give that a shot!
cuddles and studies : 9 really soft and gentle tracks, the “cuddles” part of the title is definitely there!! a really nice playlist, but not completely instrumental. some such as skinny love (birdy / bon iver acoustic cover) and atlas:taste have vocal parts, so it may not be the best for writing papers / essays. play this when you need a musical hug while you study – whether you’re stressed out or you just got a bad grade!
mango juice & coconuts : this is a youtube playlist with 378 songs, so i haven’t listened to the whole thing, but it’s a mix of unique sounds so it may appeal to you. they are also not all instrumental. however, even if you don’t play this while you study, some of these songs would be great to play during a study break to get you feeling relaxed and help you refocus!
can’t focus : this instrumental playlist is quite bright and upbeat, and is great for studying in the afternoon and night especially if you’re feeling a little drowsy. although it’s one of the softer and less energetic ones, i really like to dust! it has such a nice and steady flow that really gets your brain in the zone.
unfinished sentences : calming piano playlist with 12 tracks. really lovely and soft, kind of makes me feel like i’m being hugged. also, how could i not love a piano cover of not about angels? it’s literal perfection and sounds like raindrops on a windowpane but prettier. loooove.
keep calm and study on : a lovely instrumental (piano and violin) playlist of 14 tracks. i find this one really calming as well, and i like the violin covers especially because in study playlists there’s usually a lot of piano. also, the playlist was made by fellow studyblr, @theverbivorestudies !!
arise : another great playlist of 12 tracks including works by ravel, saint saens, bach, schubert, and brahms. i love the description the creator wrote - “a lovely playlist to motivate one to explore the uncertain depths of one’s world.” really nice playlist for the morning to start out your day, especially track 2 (ravel - assez vif, tres rythme)!!
vellichor : over five and a half hours of instrumental music for reading, writing, studying, or wandering through libraries and bookstores. 69 track playlist of gorgeous classical music! not much i can say, but it’s really great and i think this would work for nights where it’s hard to sleep as well!
everything classic : exactly what it sounds like. classical music at its best!! 30 great songs – i will say that dancers on a string (reprise) creeped me out (anyone else have songs that scare them?). but otherwise, if you want classical… this is the way to go.
& all the sweet serenity of books : first of all, isn’t the name of this playlist gorgeous ?!?! yesyes it is. i looove this one (song of the heart is so pretty!!) and would definitely recommend for reading and writing. it’s just *single tear slides down cheek* so beautiful.
if you didn’t find what you were looking for, do not lose hope! there are so many corners of the internet to find study music. there are plenty of other 8tracks playlists (i’ve put in the tags study and instrumental, since that’s usually what i use to find my study music) and of course, there are many options on youtube(there are a lot of really long options for a lonnnng study session but some can get kind of boring so i would recommend a playlist instead!)
this list is just a few of my favorites that i think will work! i hope this helps you when you use music to study and i hope you like some of the playlists i chose! :)
I think the main reason the ocean has such a draw is that it doesn’t give a shit. How’s that for mystical? The ocean doesn’t give a shit about you or your problems. It doesn’t care about your rent, relationships, work deadlines, or mean people on the internet. And it is huge as hell. If you’re at the right beach you can stand in front of something that not only fills the entirety of your periphery and from your feet to forever out in front of you, but also doesn’t give a damn about you one bit.
To quote Herman Melville, the ocean is dispassionate as fuck.
Often, ambient noise is my favorite thing to listen to when I write. I get distracted too easily when things are too quiet, but it takes me hours to pick out writing music and “background tv” doesn’t ever stay in the a background.
Ambient noise mixes are collections of sounds created to reflect certain atmosphere. It’s white noise. Like cafe noise. Except you don’t have to put on pants and pay $5 for a coffee for it.
Ambient noise is a good way to tell your brain “I’m busy right now,” without providing it with any additional distractions. And that’s not just some random girl’s suggestion. There’s actually research that shows that a light amount of noise really does help boost creativity.
The next time you spend hours creating a writing playlist and still can’t find the perfect song, or just get bored of the sound of your fingers tapping away on the keys, try out an ambient noise mix. Write in a library during a thunderstorm or a Parisian cafe or an old Scottish castle. It just might do the trick.