What is the Best Music for Learning?

What science has to say about getting into that work “groove”

What is the Best Music for Learning?

What science has to say about getting into that work “groove”

It’s a Saturday afternoon. 

You’re sitting down to smash some overtime for work, prep for your exam on Monday, or finally dedicate some hours to that new skill that’s been on your New Year’s Resolutions list, since 2018. 

Your coffee’s hot, your desk is clear, but your mind is a bit scattered, so you pop in your headphones to get in the zone. 

But what do you listen to? 

What music is best suited to get and keep you focused, and set those neurons firing? 

Let’s check out the science.


The “Mozart Effect”–true or false?

You’ve probably heard some rendition of the “Mozart Effect”, which claims that listening to Mozart can boost your IQ. 

Maybe your pregnant best friend is blasting classical music in the house 24/7 hoping that their little one will get a perfect score on their exams someday. 

But the results are in–and that’s not quite how it works.

It turns out that this exciting correlation is actually misinterpreted from a study conducted in 1993 by a psychologist named Francis Rauscher. The study included only a small group of 36 college students, and pertained only to a very specific spatial IQ test taken immediately after listening to a 10-minute clip of Mozart’s music. 

The study didn’t discover anything beyond a temporary increase in productivity on a specific style of reasoning test–and didn’t make any claim that the music could have any long-term effect on a person’s intelligence. 

In fact, it didn’t make any claims about intelligence at all–only immediate test performance.

So why has this myth lasted? 

I, for one, have always used classical music as a study tool, and I really do think it’s helped me score better on my exams and focus more consistently on my work. 

So the Mozart Effect must be true, right? 

Not so much. 

Researchers have since surmised that the supposed Mozart Effect isn’t actually a result of the music itself, but rather the increased level of enjoyment and decreased feelings of stress as a result of listening to a pleasing sound. 

A chilled-out, happy mood is the real culprit for those better test scores and improved work productivity.

That means it’s not all about the classics; for the most part, music of any type (as long as it’s enjoyable to you) is beneficial to learning. 

Here’s why:

  1. Good vibes. Listening to music releases endorphins, which reduce stress and increase feelings of contentment and euphoria.
  2. Prepped and ready. Music prepares your brain to pay attention.
  3. Brain activation. The processing of music and the processing of learning, specifically memorisation, happen in the same part of the brain. Music can also activate both sides of the brain at the same time, which boosts learning.
  4. Chill out. Music you enjoy can ease your stress and performance anxiety, maybe even as much as getting a massage. This lets you focus on the task at hand, so your brain and body can work their magic.
  5. Go for gold. Music may even help you answer questions faster–and get more of them right.

What’s your vibe?

Here’s the good news: because the Mozart Effect isn’t actually about the music itself, you can listen to pretty much anything you want. In fact, if classical music isn’t your thing, it’s better to listen to something you do like: research shows that students who listened to music they enjoyed actually outperformed people who listened to classical

The important thing is finding what reduces your stress and improves your mood. My girlfriend cosies up to rain sounds all day and it relaxes her into her work. 

A few of my friends blast deep house music and bop their heads along while they work.

So the question changes from “what should I be listening to?”, to “what sets me at ease?”.

But there’s still a few caveats to keep in mind.

You want something mood lifting–so maybe save the dark and dreary tunes for another day. You also don’t want your music to become a distraction–so it’s best to listen to something sans-lyrics, or with light lyrics that won’t pull you away from the task at hand. 

Studies have shown that students who listened to lyric-heavy songs while doing a complicated reading comprehension or writing task performed worse than those with instrumental music

The same goes if the music is too loud that it overwhelms your ability to focus.

With that criteria in mind, here’s some ideas for genres to work to (and don’t miss the special mix for you at the bottom of the page!).

  • Instrumental versions of your favorite jams, like music from Simply Three, Lindsay Stirling, or The Piano Guys.
  • Movie and video game soundtracks. There’s no science behind it yet, but some people find that the achievement-oriented, hype-up music from video games or movie soundtracks like those from Hollywood legend Hans Zimmer helps increase their drive at work.
  • Nature sounds, like rain, wave sounds, or jungle noises, have a calming effect on the body, encouraging a better learning session.
  • Deep house or trance music. Because sometimes, you just need a desk party.

Get ~binaural~ with Beeline

Have you heard of “brainwave entrainment”

In simple terms, this refers to the phenomenon when your brain’s neuron activity syncs to the rhythm of sound. 

Yep, you heard that right: your brain actually fires to the beat of the drums when triggered by the right sounds. 

Brainwave entrainment uses “binaural” and “isochronic” tones at different frequencies to literally synchronise your brain waves–creating a perfect environment to learn, memorise, comprehend complex concepts, and think creatively.

There are five different types of brain waves: Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta, and Gamma. 

Binaural beats in these various frequencies all have different benefits for your brain; for example, Gamma frequencies are good for creativity and focus, Alpha frequencies encourage memory build and thought coordination, and Delta frequencies help with relaxation. 

Having a good mix of all binaural frequencies up to 100 GHz makes for a great work session.

And because, here at Beeline, our mission is to help you learn more effectively, we’ve carefully curated a mix of binaural and isochronic beats just for you, that you can use to work-study, or–even better–jam to while you create your very first Beeline or practice someone else’s. 

This set works best in headphones because you’ll notice that some sections fire marginally different sounds into each ear, which helps make that brainwave entrainment magic happen. 

So kick back, pop those earphones on, and settle in for a productive few hours.

Enjoy your learning!

Learn more about the best music for learning here: https://www.beeline.life/

Learning ScienceMusic
by Dylan Evans
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