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  • Writer's pictureSarah Butler

Music To Increase Your Productivity - The Best Genres To Listen To

From classical to electronic music, each genre has its own benefits when it comes to helping us stay focused and productive. Music can help create a specific mood, reduce stress, and increase motivation, allowing us to power through our tasks.

In this article, we’ll look at the different music genres that are best for increasing productivity and examine how they can be used to our advantage. Whether you’re a student cramming for exams or a busy professional needing to get through a hectic workday, the right type of music can help you achieve your goals.

Why does music assist with productivity?

Music has been shown to improve both productivity and cognitive performance, especially in adults. It can also improve mood, and make people more relaxed, focused, and proficient. Studies have also shown that music can help make repetitive tasks easier and more enjoyable, and can be a powerful antidote to other distractions. Additionally, listening to melodic sounds helps to stimulate the release of dopamine in the brain, creating a feeling of well-being. Studies show that 90% of workers perform better when listening to music, and 88% of employees produce more accurate work.

Additionally, background music (including the widely-researched classical genre) has been found to improve our performance on cognitive tasks, such as spatial or verbal ability tests, for short periods of time. Finally, music can also provide a reliable escapism and stimulate our ideation and imagination, which can be especially beneficial for those who are more creative.

Music can evoke positive emotions

Recent research has shown that people tend to be more successful and efficient if they are in an optimistic state, and the appropriate kind of music can give you an energy boost. People who listen to music may even be in a better mood than those who don't.

Music puts you in a better frame of mind

When work or life feels dull, a bright melody can make even the most tedious tasks more appealing.

Music masks other noises

If you have ever worked in a coffee shop or an office with an open floor plan, you have probably been driven crazy by the sounds of someone sneezing, sniffing, chewing or any other distracting noises like phone notifications. Listening to music, especially with a quality pair of noise-cancelling headphones, can cancel out disruptive sounds allowing you to focus.


Tempo is the speed of a piece of music, measured in beats per minute (BPM). A slower tempo is typically associated with relaxation, while a faster tempo can help energise you. The tempo of a song can affect how you feel and how productive you are, so it's important to choose songs that have the right tempo for your task.

Studies have found that the best tempo for productivity is 50-80 beats per minute (BPM). This tempo range has been found to relax us while still keeping us focused and energized. It also helps to match the tempo of the music to your task so if you have a task that requires speed, use a faster tempo song to increase your rate of productivity.

Music genres

Music is a powerful emotional regulation tool, and can be an effective productivity booster when used correctly. Studies have found that your favourite genre of music absolutely can boost your mood, which also helps with completing tasks that you're not too excited about.

The following genres have all been found to improve productivity - you just need to experiment to find the style that works best for you and the activity you are undertaking.


Classical music is known for inducing calm and helping people to focus, so it’s perfect for anyone who struggles with procrastination or distractions.

Listening to classical music can help boost concentration and self-discipline. Research suggests that background music can help enhance productivity when the task is of a repetitive nature. An experiment found that listening to classical music at work actually improves productivity by 15%. This is because classical music has been found to reduce stress and anxiety, and increase focus.

Classical music is best for creative tasks, such as writing and design and can be helpful for visualisation. When selecting classical music, it’s important to choose pieces that have been composed and recorded in a studio. If you listen to classical music that was recorded live, you’ll hear the sounds of the audience in the background, which can be distracting.


Many people find jazz more enjoyable to listen to compared to classical music and it is usually more upbeat making it ideal for people who like to work at a moderate pace. Jazz is also a great choice for when you need to get creative. It can help you to think outside the box, make connections between ideas, and come up with new solutions to problems.

When you’re selecting jazz music, it’s best to choose an instrumental track as it’s more likely to help you focus. While jazz was once used to help people fall asleep, the genre is now ideal for those who need to get things done.


Research conducted in 2015 found that students who listened to calming instrumental music during a test scored higher than those who listened to songs with lyrics.

Lyrics can be distracting and may even subconsciously influence your words and thoughts if writing! Instead of focussing on the work you are doing, your mind is drawn to the words of a song. Instrumental music does not provide the same intrusions to your thoughts.


Electronic dance music (EDM) has been found to be beneficial for productivity. Studies have shown that listening to EDM can help to increase proofreading speed by 20%, boost performance in immersive tasks, and can help to make repetitive activities seem easier. Additionally, EDM has been scientifically linked to higher levels of concentration, which further helps with productivity. According to some experts, EDM can even help to aid in creative thinking and problem solving. Listening to up-tempo EDM while working can help to increase alertness and attention, while more relaxed EDM can help to reduce stress levels and increase focus.

Video games

???? It does actually make sense - playing a video game requires a LOT of focus and concentration for extended periods of time. The music is designed also to enhance performance.

Listening to video game soundtracks can help increase productivity by providing a sense of focus and improved morale during the workday. Video game soundtracks are made to help you pay attention to a game and can be used to concentrate at work. They have no lyrics, are relatively low volume, and have a fast-paced rhythm that can help keep your mind focused on the task. Additionally, video game soundtracks provide a sense of engagement and excitement to help motivate you, without it being too exhausting. Research suggests that those who listen to video game soundtracks when working tend to perform tasks more efficiently and with higher accuracy.

Nature sounds

Nature sounds, such as the sound of rain or waves, can be helpful for relaxation and relieving stress. They’re also great for helping you to get into a creative mindset and are perfect for those who need a break from the hustle and bustle of modern life. If you’re working on a project, listening to nature sounds can help you to brainstorm new ideas and come up with solutions to problems. It can also be helpful for stress relief, which can make it easier to focus. When selecting nature sounds, choose something recorded in nature, so it sounds real. You don’t want to listen to crickets or birds that have been manufactured in a studio.

White noise

White noise is a combination of all the different frequencies of sound, with equal intensities, at once. It is similar to the sound of the rain, a rumbling waterfall, rustling leaves, a fan or a static TV.

Listening to white noise can increase productivity because it blocks out distracting noises in the environment, which helps you to stay focused and alert. Regular use of white noise can create a consistent ambience, alerting your body and mind to get into flow state (or sometimes known as getting 'in the zone') quicker and therefore be more productive.

Tips for choosing music to increase productivity

When choosing the best music for increasing productivity, it’s important to select something that matches your current mood. If you’re feeling stressed, it may be best to choose music that can help you relax. If you’re feeling excited and energised, you may want to choose music that’s upbeat and can help you to stay motivated.

You should generally avoid music with lyrics, as the words can distract your focus. Complex musical structures can also be distracting and difficult to concentrate on. Finally, it's important to consider your own listening habits and the difficulty of the task when choosing music. Music that you don't enjoy or that is too stimulating can be distracting and inhibit productivity.


Music is a powerful tool that can help us stay focused, relax, and even be more productive. When choosing the right music for productivity, it’s important to select something that matches your current mood and that is appropriate for your environment. Classical, jazz, instrumental and dance music, nature sounds, and white noise are proven to be great choices to enhance your effectiveness and improve motivation. Just experiment a little to find the genre that is right for you and your activity.

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