Music for Better Studying

More stories from Becca Malachowski

Syracuse Winter Fair
February 1, 2019

It’s here. Spring Semester. Spring has always been classified as a new beginning or fresh start and when it comes to college life, you’ll hear a lot of “I just need to do better than I did last semester”. If you’re like me, then that almost always pertains to your studying habits— wanting more time, better time etc. and we’ve all heard the tips and tricks for those perfect knowledge-cramming minutes. Well, what if I told you that the music you listen to while studying could drastically impact your focus and retention? Oh, you’ve heard that too? Well, here are my honest recommendations:

Piano Guys: I love the piano guys. Their cover instrumentals of songs are great and they, of course, can play the piano amazingly. Something about the soft keys of a piano always makes me more focused, relaxed, and ready to concentrate! A favorite of mine is their “Relaxing Piano with Rain Sounds”. The whole album is super calming and even great for meditation or a few minutes of relaxation before that cram session. This album even calms down crying dogs, just saying.

Mozart: Like Kari from The Incredibles intelligently points out, “Mozart makes babies smarter.” It also has the same effect on our twenty-something brains during a study session. According to, Listening to Mozart can boost your memory—they’ve begun to call this the “Mozart effect.” The researchers claim that “that simply listening to the classical composer’s music can boost your memory and improve your thinking skills.” They also found that people’s brain wave activity linked to IQ, cognition, and problem solving increased after hearing Mozart pieces.

Amazon Classical Music/Focus Channel: If you have a subscription to Amazon or the free student trial (which honestly who doesn’t?) you can take advantage of Amazon music with its full repertoire of playlists and channels for anything you’re in the mood for. Another great thing about finding a full studying playlist/channel is that you don’t have to keep stopping your work to change the song, so this could help people who have a tendency to get distracted easily stay in the studying flow. My friend Katie swears by this channel to help her focus and she’s an Accounting major so she’s smart and we can all trust her.

Instrumentals/White Noise: I have found that sometimes any music is fine to listen to while studying, but other days when I really have to focus or if I have a long paper that I should’ve started days ago, music without lyrics is best. I usually always need some type of white noise in the background to concentrate but if I pick a great song to listen to with awesome lyrics, my study sesh turns into a jam sesh. I have found tons of instrumental playlists on YouTube that typically last a couple of hours. YouTube also has some white noise videos if you are one of those people who just need not-complete-silence to do your work.