Which music is the best to study to?


Winston enjoying music.

Music is a universal medium of entertainment that is used for many purposes. Music can be used to set the mood and alter the atmosphere. There is music that is best to exercise to, music to fall asleep to, music to party to and music for any other occasion. However, it is extremely debatable as to what genre of music is the best to study to.

Every student has his or her own taste and preference with music but a personal favorite selection of tunes may not be the most ideal when it comes to getting work done. Some of us strictly listen to “turn up” music while others prefer soothing reggae. Some of us rock out to heavy metal while others enjoy pop.

When it comes to studying, our favorite genres may not be beneficial to listen to because we can get easily distracted by how much we enjoy the entertainment value of the music. I decided to put it to the test. By going on Pandora and sifting through different genres for about 30 miutes each, I planned on figuring out what genre of music was personally most productive conducive for studying.

Heavy Metal

I can enjoy Disturbed, System Of A Down and Avenge Sevenfold as much the next guy when I’m working out or doing intense physical activity. When it comes to studying, the screaming, the classical electric guitar riffs and head banging, melodic music made it hard to concentrate. Metal made me want to do more physical activity than sit down and work.


My personal favorite genre is socially conscious hip-hop. I highly enjoyed the works of Common, Mos Def and Talib Kweli, but it was more distracting than helpful. I often got caught up in the word play, hyperbole, metaphor and simile of the poetic artists and focused less on the matter at hand. As much as I love hip-hop, I can’t use it while I’m studying. I get more caught up in the lyrical content than homework.


I’m not a big fan of mainstream, radio-friendly pop music, but in the name of science and experimentation, I was willing to listen for a short period of time. The repetitive songs that I hear every day within the confines of the Silversword cafeteria were amongst the selection of pop music. “Royals” by Lorde, “Roar” by Katy Perry, and “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke are all songs that anyone who has listened to the radio recently would be familiar with. The fact that I’m not a fan and how much I dislike the genre made it hard to study, as well. Pop music was out of the race.


A lot of people would claim that classical music is great for anything related to brain stimulation. They aren’t completely wrong in that claim. Beethoven, Mozart and Bach were well known for their whimsical symphonies and compositions. Although the classical music did help my creativity, it stifled my concentration. Classical music came in a close second place, but still no cigar.


Perhaps something a bit more calming would work. I’ve always been a part-time fanatic of jazz because my father is a big-time jazz buff. Throughout my childhood, he’s kept me in tune with a lot of famous jazz musicians. The smooth, funky tunes of Herbie Hancock, Jeff Lorber and Grover Washington seemed to keep my mind at ease. As stimulating as every other genre was, the jazz was actually capable of not only maintaining my concentration but increasing my creativity. Everything seemed to flow, and I believe Jazz to be the clear winner for me.

This test may have selected jazz to be the victor for me personally, but every person has different tastes. It is truly up to the individual to try out different genres of music and find out what works. One may find that his or her favorite music benefits studying the most, while others may find that what they never realized would be good to study to was actually helpful. I recommend that everyone tests this out for themselves and have fun listening to different kinds of music.