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Feb 25 2018
by Sarah Shih

7 Types of Playlists to Listen to While Studying

By Sarah Shih - Feb 25 2018

During every single study session, the playlist I listen to is always a big decision. Back in high school, I used to simply put my playlist with all my latest favorites from Apple Music on shuffle. I soon discovered that wouldn't work too well in university with my playlist being predominantly rock music that can be pretty loud and distracting. After some experimenting and stumbling upon different music on YouTube, I have finally found some playlists that can help me focus or be in a relaxed state during studying. Here are seven types of music that I have found to be beneficial during studying.

1. Jazz and Bossa Nova


Looking for the coffee shop vibes? Then Jazz music and Bossa Nova is for you. Lively and relaxing, Jazz music and Bossa Nova is just enough to get you motivated for work, but not too distracting. The Cafe Music BGM channel provides lots of amazing playlists that satisfy your need to study in a fun and relaxing atmosphere.

2. Studio Ghibli Music


Not only does music from Studio Ghibli bring back many fond childhood memories, the songs in themselves are beautiful and soft, which fills up the void of silence in the most wonderful way. However, due to the fact Studio Ghibli music is essentially movie soundtracks, I suggest that you listen to the instrumental version instead of the original playlist so it's not too loud or distracting. This playlist is a compilation of the instrumental version of many Studio Ghibli soundtracks, and there's even a live radio version that can last you for hours.

3. Ocean Waves or Fireplace 


While this is not exactly music, listening to the sounds of ocean waves and fireplace crackling can still be very relaxing. They come in especially handy when the weather is just not cooperating: ocean waves will give you summer vibes and fireplace sound effects make you feel warm and cozy. This version of ocean waves and this version of fireplace are my personal favorites.

4. Classical Piano


If you are a classical music fan or if you are looking for something solemn, classical piano music is definitely something you can try listening to while studying. It also helps that piano music is soft in nature and won't demand your attention. Chopin is always my go-to when I am in need of absolute concentration and doesn't want heavy beats that makes studying difficult.

5. Acoustic Guitar Music


My (and a lot of people's) favorite thing about guitar music is that it can make every single song sound so cozy and bright. Guitar music creates the relaxing atmosphere of a weekend afternoon that I like to immerse myself into, and it helps that there are a lot of acoustics guitar covers of the newest Top 40 music to satisfy my occasional need to listen to pop music. There are many playlists of song covers on YouTube available, and if you are simply looking for acoustic guitar music, this one is an amazing playlist. 

6. Lo-Fi Music


Lo-Fi, or low fidelity music, has become extremely popular on YouTube lately. Lo-Fi music playlists are usually more upbeat, and the lower quality of this type of music actually gives a very unique atmosphere. If you prefer something more upbeat to get yourself motivated, or if you just want to try out some new types of music, this playlist that I have found to be a good balance of relaxation and beats can be a great starting point. 

7. Music Box


Music boxes are typically used as a decoration, so the songs they play are usually extremely short. That doesn't change how beautiful the songs from music boxes can be, though, and it also allows great concentration since it doesn't have heavy beats. Fortunately, there are still many people who make music box music into playlists on YouTube. If you are looking for softer music and some nostalgia, this is definitely something you can try out. 

Listening to music always makes study sessions more bearable, especially if you are looking into more than two or three hours of studying. As someone whose attention span is not the longest, listening to music has always helped me concentrate. However, you don't want the music you put on as background music to fight for your attention. Remember to keep the volume low and to look for playlists that last a long time so you don't need to constantly start making a new playlist and worrying about what songs to put on. Give these playlists a try, and I hope your studying session will become more enjoyable!

Lead Image Credit: Unsplash

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Sarah Shih - University of Western Ontario

Sarah is a Second Year student attending the University of Western Ontario studying Psychology and Linguistics. In her free time, she can be seen reading or writing. If she is silent during a conversation, she is most likely plotting for her next article or the next chapter in her novel.

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