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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

As you start a new semester, it’s important to start the semester off right by creating a space that will allow you to study effectively. Being able to focus for multiple hours on reviewing class material is important if you want to get grades that will make you happy; however, studying should be a relaxing process. One way to add to your study space is to listen to something while you study, such as music. If you find that studying in silence helps you focus, then ignore my advice and continue to do what works best for you. However, if silence is too deafening for studying and you think music would help, read on! Here are some of my suggestions for music you should listen to while studying.

First, let’s discuss the type of music you should and should not listen to while studying. In general, when choosing music to listen to while studying, you should avoid songs that have lyrics in a language that you speak. Listening to Taylor Swift’s Red (Taylor’s Version)  might make studying more fun but studies have shown that listening to music with lyrics while studying can be distracting and can mess with our working memory. Therefore, I suggest you stay clear of listening to music with lyrics. 

1.  Lofi Music

One good option for listening to music while studying is to listen to Lofi music. Lofi music is a good option for studying because it has a relaxed feel to it that helps you get in the mood for studying. Most of the time, Lofi music doesn’t have lyrics, which means it will enhance your concentration instead of disrupting it. There are a lot of goof playlists on YouTube to choose from, meaning you won’t have to go searching for a new video after a few songs. My favorite lofi videos would be ones by YouTubers  Lofi Girl, Dream Hop or Abao in Tokyo, though there are many other channels and videos to choose from. You can also find good Lofi playlists on Spotify or other listening platforms.

2.  Classical Music

Another good option is to listen to classical music since it can be calming and get you in the mood to study. Listening to classical music while studying makes me feel smarter, which helps me get through dense assigned readings by making me happy. Plus, there is a plethora of classical music to choose from, such as piano pieces or recordings of orchestral concerts. You can choose to listen to music from a specific artist or songs using a specific instrument. I tend to avoid slow music in favor of upbeat, faster pieces since these pieces help me stay motivated as I take notes. However, choose the classical music that works best for you.

If you find classical music to be boring, maybe try listening to music from Two Steps From Hell or spend some time compiling a playlist of classical music that pulls you in, forces you to focus. If anything, compiling your own playlist will help you unwind after a long day and help you start studying the following afternoon. I recommend the videos “Classical Piano Music by Mozart” by Just Instrumental Music, “Classical Music for Studying & Brain Power” by HALIDONMUSIC and “a dark academia classical study playlist” by Crachead.

3.  Movie or Video Game Music

Listening to music from video games or movies puts me in a different headspace. It’s as if the world fades away and the only thing I can think about is the schoolwork in front of me. If you are familiar with the game or movie that the music is from, it feels as if you are within the world of that game or movie, which can make studying more fun. I love listening to music from Studio Ghibli for this very reason. When I listen to Studio Ghibli music while studying, I feel as if I am the protagonist of a Ghibli film, which makes me feel a sense of purpose I don’t feel when studying in silence. Listen to this video, or similar videos like it, and see for yourself!

At the same time, I find that listening to music from video games specifically helps me focus on my work better than other types of music because video game music helps orient you in the world of the game; it is a form of word-building that motivates you to continue playing and sets the tone. Plus, different types of music from video games can help you tackle different tasks. For example, I tend to listen to battle themes when I am trying to write an essay because I will feel like I am taking down an enemy paragraph by paragraph. On the other hand, I listen to more calming adventuring music from games when I am reviewing flashcards for an upcoming exam because it will help me stay relaxed while I review information I don’t yet know. I often find myself listening to this playlist by Donuts, which is a compilation of music from the Final Fantasy franchise. Other good videos would be the “Relaxing Destiny Music” video by Lou Says and the “Beautiful Music for Relaxing-Studying | The Legend of Zelda” by Delice Musical. You can also search for a video game original soundtrack on Spotify, which I do when I’m not in the mood to go on YouTube.

4.  Background Atmospheric Music

The last type of music you could listen to while studying is Background Atmospheric music, which I highly recommend for those who still get distracted when listening to music. Often, the music in these videos won’t be the focal point of it, if these videos have music at all. This music will commonly feature natural sounds, such as a fire crackling, thunder or rain. These videos make listeners feel as if they are somewhere else, such as studying in an old library or sitting in a classroom at Hogwarts. I find these fun to listen to when I need to feel like I am somewhere else to focus on my assignments. They make me more aware of my surroundings and make me want to study since studying fits the mood created by the music and other sounds. These videos also, for whatever reason, increase my creativity, which is why they are my go-to when I have projects to work on. Plus, pretending you’re reading in an enchanted forest or taking notes at a café can be quite fun for someone who can’t focus if they study outside their dorm room. Nothing like a dark academia vibe to force you to start working on a presentation that’s due in 48 hours. 

Peyton Straubel

Bryn Mawr '24

Hi! I'm Pey and I am a sophomore English major at Bryn Mawr College. I am interested in Korean, traveling, and overanalyzing everything I read. A fun fact about me is that I always wear something blue.
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