The 3 Best Types Of Music To Listen To When Trying To Focus

Whether you're at the gym blasting EDM, cruising down Sunset Blvd bumping Aaliyah or in an elevator listening to contemporary jazz standards, volume 37, music creates the soundtrack to our lives..

If you’re like me, music also helps greatly with staying focused. The trance that it puts us in allows us to tune out the noisy world and replace it with a predictable, consistent lull. It’s essentially a state of Zen. Now, some people prefer the less-than-calming lull of Angerfist or other hardcore groups, but I on the other hand get focused with the more relaxing sounds in the background.

There are three primary types of music that I like to listen to when trying to focus. They're not necessarily what I listen to in my free time, but they certainly help my mind focus.

Lofi Radio

If you’ve never heard Lofi and consider yourself to be a chill music enthusiast, then you’re greatly missing out. Lofi is like if Jazz and HipHop had a baby on a vinyl record.

  • Jazz because the instrumentation is typically a Keyboard, Sax, Guitar and Drums
  • HipHop because the machine-drum rhythms remind me of NWA or Nujabes
  • Vinyl because the music is typically blanketed by a nostalgically pleasing tape hiss

Because of how repetitive and melodically simple Lofi is, it makes for great background music. I’m surprised that Starbucks isn't playing Lofi in their shops. You can search for Lofi music or Lofi radio on YouTube to get an idea, but here is one channel that I like to go to.

Classical Music

I'm sure you've heard this one before. When I was a student at the University of Washington, classical music was the only thing I had on my iPhone to listen to (I’m a bit of an extremist and like to starve myself of things that might distract me, it's part of my success plan).

One big difference between Lofi and Classical music is that the latter has no lyrics. To some, this makes it much better for focusing. I personally don’t mind a few lyrics in the background, which is likely due to the fact that much of my productive time is spent in a coffee shop on my computer.

Like any genre of music, Classical has a wide variety of styles. You might find that New Age Classical is more pleasing than Beethovens Symphony No. 3, or vice cersa. To start down this rabbit hole, I suggest going to YouTube and searching: "classical music to study to". The videos you find will usually have a tracklist in the description to fuel your research. Here, I did the search for you.


This one is for the real Zen masters, those people who wake up in a hammock and drink coconut water from a burlap sack. I’m (obviously) kidding, but listening to ambient sounds can really be a hit or miss for people. The sounds of "stream in a forest" or "gentle thunder" might be too interesting to focus on the task at hand. It might however, be just the right amount.

Personally, I don’t listen to ambience as often as Classical or Lofi. Infact, the last time I listened to ambience was when I was extremely hungover at my desk job, surrounded by noisy colleagues and pretty much hating my life. This is the exact video I would listen to- here is the link.

If you don't already listen to music when tring to focus, or if you're getting bored of what you listen to now, try one of the above mentioned types of music. It just might help you finish that senior thesis.

Tagged in : LifeMusic

Aleksey Weyman

Aleksey Weyman is a web designer, artist and creator of Millennial Moderator