Studying can be boring. It takes time, it’s difficult, and nobody really wants to do it. Music can be a great way to make studying more fun and allow you to study longer. The problem is that music can also have the exact opposite effect and slow down your progress and distract you. The trick is striking the right balance between music or no music, and if you do want to listen to music, what music to listen to. Having been a university student for four years now, I have found some go-to albums to listen to that really help me make studying fun but still keep me focused. Here are some of my personal favourites…

Many Beautiful Things by Sleeping at Last

Sleeping at Last is one of my favourite artists, but it is his soundtrack for the movie Many Beautiful Things, that I really love to study too. It lacks vocals, making it the perfect study music to focus to. The lack of vocals does not detract from the music itself though; beautiful piano instrumentation and haunting strings make this the perfect background music. And while some instrumental music tends to be boring this is not the case for Many Beautiful Things; it keeps studying interesting all while not being distracting. Other movie soundtracks can also fit this role well, they are often instrumental while not being boring, just pick your favourite!

Old School Jazz

This is another personal study favourite of mine. Jazz as a genre is often instrumental yet very dynamic and so is perfect to not distract you, but still enjoy listening to. I usually go to Spotify playlists to find good jazz music, three of my favourites playlists on Spotify are Jazz Classics, Late Night Jazz, and Wine and Cheese Jazz. I’m sure other streaming services and youtube could also find you some good jazz music and playlists. Jazz also does a great job setting a tone and I particularly enjoy it for when I’m studying late at night.

Live in London by Leonard Cohen

We’re moving out of instrumental music now to music that does have lyrics but still is good for light studying. Leonard Cohen is an amazing poet and musician, and any of his work makes great study music. The best part though is that his voice is so deep that I find it does not distract me. His Live in London album is perfect for this and is a very long collection of all his best songs making it a perfect album to study to if you’ve got to study for a long time.

Blindfaller by Mandolin Orange

This is another great album to study to. It is folk music in style, but is calm and unobtrusive while still being excellent musically. It is not instrumental but I find it does not distract me as the singers voices blend very well with the music. I’m a bit of a sucker for folk music in general and this album is excellent even just to listen to when not studying. Other Mandolin Orange music is also perfect for studying so if you’re looking for a new artist to explore or study to, Mandolin Orange is excellent.


Overall finding music that you work well with can be difficult and I find that what works for me varies day-to-day. So find what works for you and enjoy yourself! My suggestions here are some personal favourites and I would recommend them all but ultimately pick what you like! There is lots of great music out there that can be perfect for studying and can make those long study sessions more enjoyable and entertaining.

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