Instrumental Music to Help You Focus During Finals Season

Finals season is approaching, which means it’s time to start studying for online exams or drafting final papers (shout-out to my fellow humanities students). I’m the type of person who gets too distracted by song lyrics to listen to anything with vocals while I’m studying. Instrumental music has helped me stay motivated and focused while I’m working on assignments. Over the years, I have discovered several instrumental bands, playlists and YouTube radio stations that provide (in my opinion) the best studying music. Here are some of my favorites.

  1. These two may be the most well-known instrumental selections on this list. “Chill Beats Weekly” and “Lofi Hip Hop Radio-Beats to Relax/Study To” are essentially the same thing, just on different platforms. Both provide a randomized mix of lo-fi instrumental music by indie artists. During this time of the year, I would usually be spending my afternoons at the library or at my favorite coffee shop. However, since we are all stuck at home for the time being, these playlists make me feel like I’m studying at my favorite cafe instead of at my house.

  2. Growing up, “Kiki’s Delivery Service” was one of my favorite movies. I can’t even tell you the amount of times I have watched that movie in my life. In fact, I love “Kiki’s Delivery Service” so much that I cosplayed as Kiki in 2015 and 2016. Needless to say, I am a huge fan of this soundtrack. I like to listen to this album not only when I’m studying, but also when I go on walks. If you’re a fan of Studio Ghibli movies, I would also recommend checking out the "Premium Wind Ensemble Collection of GHIBLI" by Japan Ground Self Defense Force Central Band. This album features instrumental highlights from Studio Ghibli movies such as “Howl’s Moving Castle,” “Kiki’s Delivery Service,” “My Neighbor Totoro,” “Spirited Away” and many others. 

  3. If you want to listen to rock music while you’re studying, but don’t want to get distracted by the lyrics, I would highly recommend listening to Chon. Aside from being great study music, their music is upbeat enough to listen to anytime. I saw them live in 2017 when they opened for Dance Gavin Dance at The Blue Note and they put on a great show. The only songs that are not instrumental on this album are “Echo” and “Can’t Wait.” 

I hope you have discovered some new instrumental albums to listen to during finals season. Sometimes all you need is a good playlist to power through studying. Good luck with your exams and final papers!