Focus Music Playlists

If you need to get some studying or work done, you may have given some thought to the music you listen to. A choice in music can have a huge impact on your ability to get “in the zone,” so it’s worth stopping to think about what neuroscience has to say about the topic. For more, check out how the best focus music works on this blog, but the key takeaway is that the music should be highly rhythmic with little for your brain to consciously grab on to (words)… thus fading into the background, while keeping you moving. This page is a collection of playlists from Spotify and Pandora, as well as some additional ideas at the bottom about how to find more focus music playlists.

Spotify

Let’s start with the obvious: what do you get if you just search for “Focus” on Spotify? The Deep Focus playlist is comprised of very airy, ambient sounds which carry a consistent tempo and rarely call too much attention to themselves. The pace of the music can be a bit erratic at times, especially with shuffle on, but it’s still a good place to start.

 

Maybe it’s just the placebo effect in action, but I find the Music for Programming playlist to be one of the best for programming. I first encountered it about 4 months back during a sprint project and listened to it nonstop for weeks. There are some other good programming playlists, some with more followers, but I felt this one had the least amount of words and most consistent tempo.

Here’s a whole artist devoted just to classical study music:

 

For some reason, I’m totally in love with this French – Jazz playlist. If you speak French it’s actually probably not a great idea (see the linked article at the top of this post), but as long as the words are nonsense then the music is great for focus.

Pandora

It’s pretty easy to create a great study station on Pandora, but the downside is that you need to pay attention enough to downvote bad music. Here are some of my favorite Pandora stations for studying, along with suggestions on how to seed a similar station:

Classycal: classical… and classy. Get it? Okay, bad joke. Most of my station names are. Sorry.

  • Vivaldi’s Four Seasons: I used to listen to this every day; it’s a 40 minute long tour-de-force of slowly evolving melodies.
  • Wagner’s Flight of the Valkyries: it’ll get you going. Just don’t think too hard about the Nazi associations.
  • 1812 Overture: ever dreamed of being in the middle of a warzone? No? Well, no matter. The cannon-fire drums are meant to make you feel like you’re in one.

 

Electrofocus is the digital to the classycal analog.

  • Daft Punk: I know they use a fair amount of words, but somehow they blend into the background. To this day, I still can’t find anything that stands the test of time better.
  • Glitch Mob: another staple of the electronic music world. For a great interview with them about their creative process, check out this podcast.
  • Propellerheads: for a touch of the cinematic, you’ll recognize these beats from movies like the Matrix.

 

Suggestions?

Do you have any suggestions to add? A Spotify playlist you’ve created, perhaps, or some good artists for focusing? Use one of the email buttons on the site or leave a comment below! This page is meant to be a growing resource over time.

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3 Comments

  1. Sophie Wills -  September 12, 2015 - 10:07 am

    thanks for the playlists! got the french jazz one playing now 😀

  2. Kimberly Stone -  October 7, 2016 - 7:34 am

    Fantasticness. I have just now, at this late point in my life, come to fully embrace being neuroatypical, and all the good and bad that comes with it. I’ve always thought music was a key to a better function for me. I usually had world music because if something had English lyrics, I’d probably sing along with it, and I sing poorly. And not all songs are workplace appropriate. I’m going to dive into these. Thanks for sharing.

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