Music is universal. Across varying spoken languages, different eras in time, and even stark contrasts in life experiences, we all understand the joy that music can bring in the same ways.
In some of our previous posts, we’ve talked about the power of music when it comes time to study and how it can help us focus and improve our moods.
According to a study by Stanford University, music can help us pay attention better and it can also aid our memory recall. Music has also been shown to improve sleep quality, improve mental alertness, and reduce our anxiety, blood pressure, and even pain.
“There are few things that stimulate the brain the way music does,” said a Johns Hopkins otolaryngologist. “If you want to keep your brain engaged throughout the aging process, listening to or playing music is a great tool. It provides a total brain workout.”
It’s easy to turn to music in high-energy, physically active situations such as exercising or dancing. However, many people often miss out on listening to music in low-energy, more mentally stimulating scenarios such as writing, studying, or even sleeping.
Musical Genres Good For Mental Concentration
Multitudes of studies have been done to try and determine which musical genre is the absolute best for mental concentration. While many people will instantly associate classical music as the top choice, there are actually quite a few other genres that are equally excellent.
Ambient and Electronic
A recent study by Florida National University found that “the minimal beats and rhythms of ambient music — often used as background noise — is so effective that it is able to put the listener’s senses at rest, resulting in lower blood pressure and heart rate.”
Instrumental and Post-Rock
Rock music is a lovable genre for a lot of people, but many haven’t experienced the true spectrum that rock offers. Particularly in our modern era with the increasing use of electronic instruments, instrumental and atmospheric rock – two components that typically make up the post-rock genre – have really taken off. The genre explores electro textures and timbres over traditional rock structures of chords or riffs. Post-rock tends to have limited to no vocals and serves as perfect background music for studying.
Jazz has long been a favorite of professors for its stress-reducing and creativity-boosting capabilities. Stress is the arch-enemy of memory, and the upbeat, swing and rhythmic characteristics of jazz can help set a tone of mental relaxation and focus.
Short for low fidelity, lo-fi music has taken off in popularity in recent years for its soothing and refreshing vibes. One survey found that 86% of listeners saw an increase in their productivity and their study habits while listening to lo-fi music. The genre gives our brains just enough stimulation to tune out stress and be productive.
12 Spotify Playlists Perfect for Any Study Session
Since effective studying is kind of our thing here at Pocket Prep, we’ve curated a handful of playlists that are perfect for mental concentration and de-stressing even through the most intensive work or study projects.
These playlists span downtempo ambient electronica to instrumental rock and classical compositions, and they all have little to no lyrics to ensure productivity over distraction.
➡️ You can find all these playlists directly on Pocket Prep’s Spotify. ⬅️
1. Late Night Satellites
Genres: Electronic, Synth-pop, Synthwave, Techno, Piano
Imagine you’ve just been handed a free ticket to Mars. After takeoff, this playlist comes on as you stare out the window into the darkness of space. Downtempo, relaxing, and a perfect ride into the great beyond.
2. Post-Rock Focus
Genres: Post-Rock, Instrumental Rock, Acoustic, Electronic, Chilltronic, Ambient
Dive into all the things post-rock has to offer, from electronic guitar riffs to ambient peaks and valleys, it’s sure to have you feeling free and ready to face anything.
3. Soulful Study
Genres: Contemporary R&B, Neo Soul, Indie Soul, Hip Hop
A perfect blend of relaxing, contemporary rhythms that are sure to inspire and spark creativity.
4. Studious Strings
Genres: Folk, Acoustic, Flamenco, Instrumental
Who knew the plucking of strings could be so relaxing? This playlist is packed with modern and classic melodies that are sure to keep you focused on the task at hand.
5. Jazz Pizzazz
Genres: Contemporary Jazz, Latin Jazz, Afrobeat, R&B, Funk, Soul
Jazz compositions spanning forty years. Bounce back and forth between unearthed vibes from the 1960s and 1970s and modern-day artists in this diverse jazzy playlist.
6. Contemporary Classical
Genres: Classical, Late Romantic, Impressionistic, Contemporary, String Quartets
Classical compositions that span decades of eras and genres. From string quartets to single composers, this diverse playlist is superb for deep focus and concentration.
7. Bouncy Beats
Genres: House, Electronic, Techno
If underground dance music is your thing, this playlist is for you. Downtempo, deep house beats with a relaxing energy that will awaken your senses. Imagine the feeling of your coffee kicking in right when you need it to.
8. Pocket Prep LoFi
Genres: Low Fidelity, Chillhop, Piano, Electronic, R&B, Jazz, Funky
Arguably the most popular musical genre of the 2020s thus far, lo-fi is a proven favorite for any study session. Perfect for relaxation and focus, these low frequency beats will have you vibin’ along to every song.
9. Ambient Light
Genres: Ambient, Electronic, Experimental, Synth
If you’re looking for peaceful sounds with no lyrics, this is your playlist. From the sounds of harps and crashing waves to electronic crescendos, there’s something in here for everyone.
10. Electro Chill
Genre: Electronic, Indie, Future Bass, Trap
If you’re in the mood to bop along, this upbeat playlist is vibin’ with the latest sounds from chill and indie electronic artists.
11. Pocket Prep Piano
Genres: Piano, Neoclassical
A deeply relaxing and calming piano playlist that features modern day artists and composers predominantly from Europe.
12. Outer Space
Genres: Electronic, Instrumental, Psychedelic Rock, Lo-Fi, Hip Hop
Float into the abyss with this multi-genre, downtempo, and instrumental playlist that is jam packed with artists and producers who don’t limit themselves to a single genre.
Be sure to follow Pocket Prep’s Spotify to be in the loop on new additions!