What kind of music helps with writing?

Scientists simply study everything – including what music helps us work and what does not. Here is a small overview and my personal tips.

What music helps with work

  • Classical music: probably no surprise. Classical music not only helps us feel insanely intellectual and cultured. According to one study, classical music lifts our mood and increases concentration.
  • Sounds of nature: Whether it’s raindrops or birds chirping, these sounds relax us and thus make for relaxed and productive work.
  • Electronic music: Relaxed electronic music is the new-fangled counterpart to classical music – it is not distracting and helps us to focus. Especially sounds that contain so-called alpha waves can help our brains work better.
  • Epic music like instrumental film soundtracks or certain symphony concerts unconsciously give us the feeling that we are working on something big and epic. This music inspires our creativity and productivity.
    Video game soundtracks follow a similar principle: they are designed to keep you focused on the game and encourage flow. This also helps when working.

Which music does not work

  • Complex music such as the works of Frank Zappa or Pink Floyd. Such music demands our full attention – and thus pulls the focus away from our work and diverts it to the musical work of art.

  • Lyrics distract us in the same way. What works for some people is music with vocals in a language they don’t understand and can’t even guess at the meaning.

  • Emotionally charged songs trigger us subconsciously and our minds drift too easily if we’re not careful.


So: don’t listen to the song that reminds us of the first data or the last break-up at work….

I've got a playlist for you


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