Classical Music for Studying


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There have been numerous studies done on the benefits of listening to music while studying, like this one highlighted by the University of Southern California. The article cites a study done in France, published in Learning and Individual Differences. It found that “students who listened to a one-hour lecture where classical music was played in the background scored significantly higher in a quiz on the lecture when compared to a similar group of students who heard the lecture with no music.”

But, make of that what you will. Everyone is different, so I won’t try to convince you that listening to music while working is a superior way to study. Even for those of us who swear by it, there are days when only silence gets us through whatever it is we’re doing.

However, if you are in the mood for some study music, here are just a few of my favorites. I have a playlist on Spotify titled, brilliantly, “Classical Music I Like.” It includes pieces such as the following:

Gymnopedie No. 1 by Erik Satie, arranged for guitar by Kenton Youngstrom. The piece is soft and slow, which makes it perfect for background music.
Carnaval, Op. 9: No. 12. Chopin, by Robert Schumann, performed by Boris Giltburg. I was reading First Person Singular by Haruki Murakami, and this song has a significant role in the relationship between two characters. It was mentioned numerous times, so I went and found it. It is beautiful. Trust me on this one.
Greensleeves by the Vince Guaraldi Trio. I know this one came out of left field, but all of the Vince Guaraldi Trio’s music for the Charlie Brown movies are works of art. A lot of them are pretty recognizable, as this one is. It’s nostalgic and reminiscent of holidays, and it’s soft enough to make great study music. I also just really like the album and play it in the car year-round.
Experience by Ludovico Einaudi, Daniel Hope, and I Virtuosi Italiani. This one is more fast-paced than the others on this list, but something about it is very motivating.
Apple Blossom by Yao Chen. This one was released in 2019 but sounds older in some unexplainable way.

These are just a few of my recommendations. Even if you don’t use them to study, they’re beautiful songs that are worth checking out anyway.