Staying focused is a challenge most of us face when we’re preparing for exams, assessments, or when we’re completing assignments. It’s natural for our attention to drift, especially when we have other things going on in our life. There are many different techniques that can be used to stay focused while studying, including mindfulness meditation, taking short breaks to recharge frequently, and, as you may have already realized, listening to music.
Music stimulates numerous areas of our brain simultaneously, which may make you feel more attentive and motivated. Have you ever felt tired, only to have your favorite song come on the radio and feel suddenly energized? Preferred music is universally enjoyable and has the ability to give us the energy to focus if used properly. Let’s take a look at how music can increase your concentration while studying:
Set study goals
Before starting a study session, it’s a good idea to set yourself some goals. Make sure you don’t set too many goals for yourself, as if you don’t complete the entire list, you’re likely going to feel unaccomplished and less motivated to continue. The most advantageous study goals will be a challenge, but will also be attainable. Your goals should always review the information you’ve already studied to ensure the information is still fresh in your head. Then, you should expand on what you already know in order to walk away feeling like you achieved something. For example, the goals you set for studying for an anatomy test could be as follows:
1. Review the muscles in the hand (information you already know)
2. Learn the different muscles in the leg
Everyone’s study goals will vary based on the subject they’re studying, and the deadlines they have. Just remember to set yourself up for success through goal-setting. You’ll also need to set yourself up for success with the music you choose, so let’s take a look at some study-friendly tunes.
Choosing the correct playlist
Choosing the correct playlist for your study session takes some pre-planning. Understandably, we want to listen to our favorite songs when we’re creating a playlist. After all, these will be the songs that motivate us most, right?
Although it seems logical to choose your favorite songs, you’ll actually probably want to stay away from the songs you can’t help singing along to. The best strategy for improving your focus while studying it to choose music that won’t distract you as much as your favorite songs are likely to. For a lot of people, this might mean excluding songs that contain a lot of catchy lyrics. Instrumental music is an excellent way to energize yourself without adding a distraction that will take away from your studying. The type of music that will increase your study productivity will be extremely personal. You may find that lyrics don’t distract you and you, therefore, won’t need to stick to instrumental lyrics. If you’re interested in listening to fingerstyle guitar songs, check out this article.
Here are some suggestions:
The Piano Guys
The Piano Guys are known for their excellent instrumental covers of both popular songs and traditional classical pieces. They are also skilled at synthesizing, and will often blend a classical piece with a modern pop song. For example, you can listen to their rendition of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony combined with One Republic’s “Secrets” here.
Ludovico Einaudi is extremely popular for his piano piece, "Nuvole Bianche", which means “White Clouds. If you’re feeling stressed before an exam and want to calm yourself down with instrumental music while maintaining focus, this is a great piece to take advantage of.
Listening to Mozart is great for increasing motivation because his pieces are typically upbeat and energizing. While Beethoven is equally as appreciated in the classical music world (for good reason), the darkness of his pieces may not always motivate listeners as much as Mozart. On the other hand, Mozart has a reputation of having created “happy” sounding music. For example, Mozart's Sonata No. 17 in C is popular because of its upbeat nature and happy melody.
If lyrics don’t distract you and you’d like to create a playlist with words, Bon Iver is a great option. Bon Iver’s songs are very ambient and usually relaxed, but not to the point you’re likely to fall asleep. If you enjoy listening to ambient styles of music, try studying with "For Emma, Forever Ago" playing in the background.
I hope you found this article on how music can increase your concentration while studying useful. Music is a universally appreciated human art form, so choosing the correct music can lead to increased energy and motivation to continue studying. Remember to set some goals prior to beginning your study session and choose music that won’t distract you. Good luck with your studying!
My name’s Natalie Wilson and I’m an avid music lover and guitar player who has dedicated my life to sharing what I know on my website. You’ll find a wide range of topics including reviews, tutorials, and tips for musicians.
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