studying and focusing - music recommendations

Listening to music while studying isn’t for everyone, and it definitely isn’t for me, however, I do listen to music while writing fiction. I feel like it does help getting into the mood your characters are in, thus helping you to describe their emotions in much more detail, but that’s just on a side note.

Music can help us feel so many things. It can make us feel happy, sad, or just overly emotional. Music can add so much to our lives, and it can also help us focus. Even if it’s just to block out background noises - music does the job. It can make us feel more alert, or even more awake at times.

But which music is ideal to help us focus? I created a playlist with my recommendations for you to check out. If you’d like to see it over on spotify and listen right away, click here. I’ll add to this over time, so make sure to check it out every now and then if you’re looking for more songs for your very own studying playlist.

Music that I find helps me focusing usually only meets two criteria - it’s instrumental, or at least doesn’t have any lyrics in the vocals, and it’s not too positive. I haven’t really figured out why, but I feel that uplifting music distracts me from what I’m doing while more neutral and sometimes even dark pieces keep me focused. However, I included some more bright pieces in my playlist as well. They help whenever I try to write more positive scenes, which - to be fair - doesn’t happen too often, but still.

What music does meet those criteria best? The answer is easy - music from motion pictures, aka film music. But why is film music such a good fit for focusing?

Music always serves a purpose when it’s used in movies. It’s designed to make the audience recognise certain characters, events or relationships - that’s why many characters get their own theme. Sometimes, the entire movie seems to have one theme that always returns, making you recognise the franchise everywhere the soundtrack is used.
Apart from that, music also serves another purpose in movies, and that is helping your mind to focus on what is going on. Filmmakers try to keep you interested in the movie at all costs, and that doesn’t only include means of tension and the general design of the script and storyboard, but also music. Most watchers don’t even notice the music as it only is a background noise, but it works unconsciously - because the music you’re hearing is designed to keep you focused on the movie. And that’s exactly why I like listening to various soundtracks whilst trying to focus - whether that’d be on reading or writing.

Feel free to share your own studying playlists in the comment section down below - I’d love to listen!