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Learn Your Way: Top 10 playlists for concentration and productivity

In the age of working digitally, many of us turn to our favourite playlists to help stay focused. With endless media being just a click away, there is almost too much choice. We’ve compiled some of the best playlists for focus, fun and inspiration, so you don’t have to.

By Elena Carruthers. Published 09 May 2022. Last updated 11 January 2023.

No. 1 The Science Choice: Classic FM’s Ultimate Classical Studying Playlist

Listen here: Ultimate Classical Studying Playlist

Researchers found that students who regularly listened to Mozart performed significantly better in exams. This is commonly described as ‘The Mozart Effect’ and is why you will find ‘Classical Music for concentration playlists’ in your Spotify and iTunes suggestions. Furthermore, academics across disciplines are enthused about the increased ‘abstract reasoning’ abilities demonstrated by fans of masters such as Mozart, Bach and Beethoven. Productivity expert, Holland Hais, unpacks this by explaining that music without lyrics, including film-scores, is far less distracting.


No. 2 The Professionals’ Choice: Morning Coffee on Spotify

Listen here: Morning Coffee

Progressive recruitment website, The Muse, cites Morning Coffee among its top playlists for sailing through the working day. This eclectic playlist features a healthy combination of indie, electronic and soul music to provide an upbeat soundtrack for easing into your daily grind.


No. 3 The Maximum Motivation choice: Motivational Songs 2021 – A Playlist against tough-times…

Listen here: Motivational Songs 2021 - a playlist against tough times.

While lyrics can be distracting, they can also tell us stories about achieving against the odds – something we often need while studying. Travel website, have put together a big, loud list of iconic ballads to ignite your inner champion and reduce stress. It features empowerment classics such as Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’ and Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Stronger’ as well as glass-half-full melodies like ‘Beautiful Day’ by U2.


No. 4: Sounds from Nature – ‘Burt’s Bees Nature Break Playlist’

Listen here: Nature Break

Ethical brand Burt’s Bees has created a playlist to bring nature into people’s lives during lockdowns. Among tracks listed are ambient favourites such as ‘Calming Forest Sounds’ and more unique offerings such as ‘Happy Seagulls at Low Tide,’ ‘Night Frogs’ and Singing Birds in Swedish Forest.’


No. 5: The Techno/Trance/Beats option - lofi hip hop radio, beats to relax/study to.

Listen here: Beats to Relax and Study To

A favourite of student communities, ‘lofi girl’ provides an ongoing loop of chilled beats to help you calmly process information. This playlist has approximately 50,000 listeners on YouTube at any given time – perhaps an indication of its effectiveness. Be warned though – it is very relaxing and may have you tempted to stroke a pet not unlike the animated cat in lofi girl’s animated videos.


No. 6: The Creative Brainstorming choice – Painting with Music

Listen here. Painting with Music

Recommended by Domestika – an online community for Creative People, this personal Spotify playlist is intended to get creative juices flowing and is the epitome of popular-cool. It features artists such as Sam Smith and The Cinematic Orchestra.


No. 7: The Movie Buff choice – Classical and Orchestral Music from the Movies

Listen here: Classical and Orchestral Music from the Movies

If you’re a fan of film watching in your downtime, then this YouTube playlist could be for you. From Captain Jack Sparrows fleeing from Barbosa to the suspenseful sounds of the Interstellar soundtrack, these instrumental songs will have you energised and ready to write that essay, complete that winning argument or finalise those financial statements.


No. 8 The Student Favourite: Brain Food

Listen here: Brain Food

At the top of the study playlist charts on Spotify, is Brain Food – a mix of liminal trance tracks including titles such as ‘LSDream’ and ‘Ace of Cups.’ Some of the music and vocal mixes will transport you into the 1970s world of Progressive Rock, only with extra electronic vibes.


No. 9 The ASMR Option – Rainy Day Café Ambience

Listen here: Rainy Day Café Ambience

If you’re someone that needs a bit of white noise to concentrate but can’t afford to eat out every day for that café background noise, why not try three hours of rainy café ambience with this YouTube video. Make yourself a tea, settle in to study in your comfiest chair and pretend you’re typing away at your local indie café.


No. 10 Represent ULaw: ULaw’s Revision Mood Playlist on Spotify

Listen here: Revision Mood

The University of Law’s Revision Mood Playlist on Spotify is as motivational and feel-good as it gets. We are a little bit biased but what more do you need to rock out excellent consolidation notes than I Fought the Law by the Clash, Hakuna Matata from Disney’s The Lion King, Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen and Calvin Harris’ Ready for the Weekend.

Whatever your preference, adding a soundtrack to your working day is proven to stimulate more positive chemical reactions in your brain and improve your ability to process information calmly, clearly and with a splash of fun.


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