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What Is Concentration Music?

Daniel Liden
Daniel Liden

Concentration music is a type of music that one listens to for the purpose of increasing concentration on a particular task, such as studying, reading, or working. Some music is specifically made for this purpose, but the form of music that is best for concentration varies from person to person. Some people prefer completely instrumental or electronic music because they find the inclusion of vocals to be distracting. Others prefer familiar music, whether or not it includes vocals, because it blocks ambient noise without introducing new or unfamiliar stimulation to distract them. People also have different preferences regarding the volume of concentration music and whether to listen to such music with headphones or speakers.

Some music is specifically designed to be used as concentration music, though even music made for this purpose varies significantly. Some concentration music is primarily instrumental and may include calming nature sounds. This form of music is primarily intended to block out ambient noise and to calm one's mind, as stress and excessive excitement can detract significantly from concentration. Other music intended for concentration is primarily electronic and features rapid, repeating beats that also block out background noise. Many find such music to have an energizing effect that strongly promotes rapid and focused work.

Although concentration is hard and takes practice, many people find concentration music effective.
Although concentration is hard and takes practice, many people find concentration music effective.

Rather than listening to music specifically intended for concentration, many people choose to listen to music with which they are familiar. Sometimes, blocking out background noise is all that's necessary, so any music is sufficient and people choose to listen to what they enjoy. In other cases, people find particular albums or playlists to be effective concentration music because of some particular aspect of rhythm or sound that makes it enjoyable without being distracting. Genres such as heavy metal, trance, and classical music are popular because they tend to either contain no vocals or difficult-to-understand vocals. Many find that vocals make for poor concentration music as they can divert focus from reading or writing related tasks.

Concentration music is usually calming.
Concentration music is usually calming.

Many other factors can influence the effectiveness of various forms of concentration music. Some people, for instance, prefer to listen to music through headphones because doing so often provides the best quality and blocks the most ambient noise. Others may find headphones uncomfortable and distracting. Personal preferences for volume also vary substantially. Some prefer high-volume music that blocks out all ambient noise, effectively isolating the individual from the noises of the rest of the world, while others prefer low-volume concentration music that provides only a quiet rhythm in the background.

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Discussion Comments


@titans62 - I would have to say my favorite concentration music is either jazz or instrumental rock. I agree with everyone else that words can get distracting.

I think there has to be a line somewhere where music can be beneficial and distracting. I can walk through the library at school and hear some people's headphones playing so loud that I can make out the words to a song. Surely at that point you are losing focus.

I've always thought the nature sound clips would be distracting, too. If I am trying to study, I don't think hearing crickets or a waterfall in my ears would help. I actually think it would make me sleepier, which would be useful if you were listening to it before bed.


@stl156 - I completely agree. I am the type of person that has to have music to feel like I can get anything done. Depending on what I am doing, I will choose different music. If I am reading or writing, I will choose classical. I particularly like the sound of baroque music. If I am walking somewhere or doing monotenous work, like editing spreadsheets, I'll listen to music with words that is faster paced. I always feel like it helps push me on.

Does anyone else here use specific types of music to help you concentrate? If music really can be linked to being more focused, what is the best music for concentration?


@kentuckycat - Along the same lines as your situation, I am wondering if there is any type of scientific evidence showing whether there is such a thing as brain concentration music, or if it is really always distracting. It may also be the case that some people perform better when they are listening to music and some people do worse.

I think that would be interesting information to know. If it was found that music actually did help to make some people more productive, I think situations like standardized tests should allow people the chance to listen to music during the exams, assuming they could find a way for it not to distract others. I know that some people get nervous just from the silence of those exams.

The research could be used for companies, too. Maybe they could increase their workers' output if they let them listen to music from their mp3 players at work.


I have never understood how people can listen to music to help them concentrate. For me, listening to any type of music when I am trying to work on something is very distracting. I always thought this was odd, because I listen to music almost constantly throughout the day when I am not working on something.

I think it may be that I really enjoy listening to the music or words rather than just using the sound as a way to drown out background noise. If I am listening to music when I am trying to read something, it ends up taking me longer to read it, because I am trying to comprehend what I am reading and actively listen to the music at the same time. Sometimes if I'm typing, I'll even type one of the words from the song by mistake.

I've tried using concentration music from every different genre, but it just doesn't work for me.

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    • Although concentration is hard and takes practice, many people find concentration music effective.
      By: Sandor Kacso
      Although concentration is hard and takes practice, many people find concentration music effective.
    • Concentration music is usually calming.
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      Concentration music is usually calming.
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