Last updated on November 24th, 2023.
Sometimes it can be challenging to focus with all of the distractions that have come with the digital age. Listening to music is one way you can help yourself stay on task and make your work more fun. But what is the best music to listen to when you need to focus and get down to business?
Classical music is best for focus and productivity because there are no lyrics to entice listeners to sing along or distract them. Other lyric-less music such as ambient and nature music, orchestral soundtracks, or lo-fi has also been shown to be helpful, though listeners can choose any genre of music they enjoy.
This article will go through some of the best music you can use for focus, offer the five best YouTube videos for focus music, and look into whether or not music actually improves focus so you can decide if background music will be beneficial for you.
Table of Contents
What is the Best Music to Help You Focus?
Classical music has been cited as the best music for focus. For example, music by Bach reportedly opens your mind and allows you to retain more information and boost your concentration due to the varying sound types and textures in his compositions. Classical music is also calming and can provide stress relief.
A study found that students who listened to classical music in the background during a lecture had a better recall of the lecture contents than those who did not. The fact that classical music does not have lyrics is also a factor because you are not tempted to sing along and can readily pay attention to the task at hand.
Finally, the upbeat tempo of most traditional classical music can help you feel more motivated to complete tasks and help you do a better job.
Now that we have gone over the benefits of classical music, let’s review other genres that are also good for focus.
What Type of Music Helps You Focus?
Aside from classical music, multiple other kinds of music can provide some excitement for your everyday tasks and help you get more done. Let’s take a look at a few of them below:
Ambient music is a genre of music that does not have a distinct melody or rhythm as most songs or compositions do. Instead, it highlights various textures, tones, and moods to craft a specific atmosphere or ambiance.
It is ideal for focus whether one is studying or working because it blends into the existing background noise of the space that you are in. This means that ambient music enhances the quality of your quiet area by making it more inviting without creating a new distraction. It also works to block out the sounds in the existing environment that might disturb you. There is some music to study to that will help you ace your test or kill your presentation!
As the name suggests, nature sounds are sounds like rain falling, waves crashing, and thunder booming complied into tracklists for focus and relaxation. They can be put together into a track by themselves or used as an accompaniment to instrumental tracks.
Listening to nature sounds helps bring down muscle tension, heart rate, and stress overall, according to a University of North Florida study. When someone is stressed, their ability to focus or function at a normal level is impaired, so when stress or stimuli leading to stress are removed, focus or concentration returns and tasks can be accomplished.
When selecting nature sounds to listen to, one needs to make sure that they are relaxing and not obnoxious. For example, bird calls can become extremely irritating after listening to them on loop for a while. The best nature sound compilations simulate real-world natural environments.
Cinematic music plays in the backgrounds of movies, enhancing the emotions invoked by the screenplay. Film soundtracks help increase focus because they inspire the listener and make even the smallest task feel important. They can also boost mood and help you feel more awake so that you can concentrate better.
Video Game Music
The soundtrack of any video game is designed to immerse you in the story and adventure that has been crafted. It is made specifically so that you are not distracted by the outside world and can thus insert yourself into the game world and fully engage. Who’s to say that it can’t have the same effect on your productivity?
The epic nature of the tunes from your favorite video game may help keep you engaged, and thus you may finish projects faster than anticipated. Any task will seem more fun when the soundtrack turns it into a daring adventure!
Lo-Fi (low fidelity music) is a subgenre of hip-hop where scratches and other errors that would usually be edited out of recordings are left in to create a unique listening experience. This music has no lyrics and no loud melodies to throw you out of concentration. It is nothing but catchy, soothing beats that thousands of people listen to daily.
All low-fi tracks are played at a low frequency, which prepares your brain to focus on whatever you plan to accomplish. Within a few minutes of listening, listeners report that they enter a Zen-like state that heightens their ability to concentrate.
Whether you select one of these music genres or a different one, having background music motivating you will provide a host of benefits. However, sometimes, the best music that will help you stay focused is simply your favorite. Listening to your favorite songs will make you excited and ready to work.
Music to Avoid When Trying to Focus
While listening to music is really beneficial for focus and concentration, there are also some genres that you are better off waiting to listen to until after your tasks are done. These are some of the types of music you should avoid:
- Heavy metal
- Any music that could be considered loud or distracting
With this being said, there are no studies that have scientifically shown that certain types of music destroy focus, and it is up to personal preference as to what type of music you listen to. Only you know the kind of music you can tolerate and enjoy while needing to be productive. The best way to find out your ideal music is to test different genres and see what works best.
The Five Best Music Videos on YouTube to Help You Focus
YouTube is filled to the brim with video compilations of study, sleep, and focus music for listeners. They consist of various genres, lengths, and purposes. Here are five of the best ones currently available on the streaming platform:
1. Alpha Waves Binaural Waves
2. 1 A.M. Study Session
This video made by the ever-popular Lo-Fi Girl channel has over 48 million views, and their channel as a whole has almost 1 billion views; thousands of listeners tune in to study and chill every week. The channel has over 100 different Lo-Fi videos for you to choose from, so you can pick the one that best fits your listening needs
3. Classical Music for Brain Power - Mozart
This classical music for focus compilation video has over 35 million views. The HALIDONMUSIC channel is known for its vast library of classical studying music. They have videos based on specific composers as well as classical music mixes that are great for the workday. They even have videos for specific tasks like reading.
4. Binaural Sleep Music - Rain Sounds & Delta Waves
This nature sound video contains an hour of soothing and meditative rain sounds that are the perfect accompaniment to even the most arduous tasks. The channel the video is on, MITM, features a library full of relaxing sound videos so that you can focus for as long as you need to.
5. Wonderful Movie Soundtracks
This cinematic soundtrack video from the channel Sleep Instrumental has over 6 million views and features scores from The Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, The Last Samurai, and more that are sure to keep you focused and inspired. Sleep instrumental is dedicated to making soothing background music to promote relaxation and focus. There are plenty more sleep noises on YouTube.
Does Music Improve Focus?
Music has been shown to improve or increase focus and productivity in people. Many individuals find they get more work accomplished with the right soundtrack in the background.
The following are some examples of how music promotes and sustains focus:
- Brings out positive emotions: a study confirmed that people are more likely to stay on task and be productive when they are happy. The right music can easily put you in a good mood, and happy people will listen to music more often than unhappy people.
- Sets a positive mood: to go along with the last point, music can help put you in a happier mood, and if you are feeling upbeat and motivated, any task you will have to do will automatically seem more appealing, and you will be able to focus on it.
- It cancels out distracting noise: the less distraction you encounter in a work environment or otherwise, the more you can focus and be more productive. Using headphones while listening further amplifies noise-canceling effects.
Although studies are inconclusive as to the productivity-boosting effects of music, it is understood that it is best suited for productivity when it has no lyrics. Another opinion is that productivity while listening to music is related to how much the listener enjoys their music selection.
The variation in answers to this question suggests that the focus-boosting effects of music vary from person to person. However, everyone should give it a try, and if it doesn’t work, that is okay!
The type of music best for focus has no lyrics and is a low impact in tone, such as classical, nature sounds, ambient music, and lo-fi. However, if a different type of music helps you focus better, that is good too! Music helps improve focus because it cancels out any distracting noise, helps you think positively, and lifts your mood.
YouTube has hundreds of good videos to get you started on your focus music listening journey, so you are just a click away from getting more done! Now that you have finished focusing, it may be time for some sleep. Here is some meditation music to help you sleep.