What is the Best Music to Study to?


Forget about asking if someone is a cat or a dog lover, or a winter or summer person. The most important question one can ask is ‘do you study with or without music?’. 

This question certainly arouses debate. You get the classic ‘I cannot concentrate with music’ reply, or the ‘I have the lofi hip hop beats to study to’ playing at all times’. There is never a clear winner. 

Personally, I fall into both sides of the spectrum. In fact, whilst studying for my A Levels in 2018, my Spotify Unwrapped truly uncovered my true self.  Hans Zimmer reigned supreme as my top artist due to spending my days cramming for my exams listening to the Inception soundtrack. 

It was only at University, I got the hang of studying with lyrics playing in the background. Now, after years of trying to figure out which types of songs will motivate me to actually sit down and bang out my 3,000 word summatives, I feel like I can truly say, which songs are my go to study songs. 

Study Songs for when you are doing your pre-reading for your essays and hating every single word:

When I am scrolling through JSTOR and Google Scholar, desperately trying to find an article to cite, mellow but funky lyrics help me persevere. Not too loud enough to be distracting, but not too quiet to bore you even more than your reading lists are – these songs will truly help stretch out your bibliography:

  1. Last Girl – Soccer Mommy 
  2. Track X – Black Country New Road
  3. 1539 N.Calvert – JPEGMAFIA
  4. Deep Fried Frenz – MF DOOM
  5. Czech One – King Krule
  6. Glow Worms – Vashti Bunyan
  7. Midnight Love – girl in red 

Tracks for when you are trying to muster up the courage to start that summative which has a far-too-soon deadline:

You are staring at a blank screen, the cursor flashing in a mocking way, begging for you to type something. Here are some intense, loud tracks which will inspire you to try and write at least 500 words in one sitting. A mix of instrumental and lyrical, no matter what you like, there will be something for you:

  1. Awake- Tkay Maidza
  2. Mombasa – Hans Zimmer
  3. Model Village – Idles
  4. Play That Way – The Underachievers
  5. Totally Wired – The Fall
  6. Ferrari – Alice Gas
  7. Money Machine – 100 Gecs

The most important question one can ask is ‘do you study with or without music?’

That Feeling When You Are Halfway Through Your Summative And Realising That You Can Get The Work In Without Needing An Extension:

Eating Urban Oven garlic sauce and realising your essay is not complete garbage are perhaps the two greatest feelings in the world for a Durham student. Celebrate that feeling by listening to these uplifting tunes that will make you submitting your coursework the highlight of your week:

  1. Hallucinate – Dua Lipa
  2. Cornfield Chase – Hans Zimmer 
  3. Jenny – Studio Killers
  4. Verbatim – Mother Mother
  5. The New Workout Plan – Kanye West
  6. Your Love (Deja Vu) – Glass Animals
  7. Gimme More – Britney Spears

‘I only listen to soundtracks and when studying’  playlist:

I think one of the main reasons I succeeded in passing my A Levels was by listening to these absolute bangers. Trust me, if you cannot listen to tracks with lyrics in, these will certainly get you into a great zone for studying:

  1. Ezio & Caterina – Jesper Kyd
  2. Chevaliers de Sangrel – Hans Zimmer
  3. Mia & Sebastian’s Theme – Justin Hurwitz
  4. Hear Me Roar – Ramin Djawadi 
  5. 24 Preludes Op. 28 – Chopin 
  6. Sonata in A major for Violin and Piano – Cesar Franck
  7. The Council of Elrond – Howard Shore

Here you are, an extremely comprehensive list filled with many genres of music, just waiting to be listened to. Now go and book your 4 hour session at the Billy B and stop putting off your deadlines.

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