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The Perfect Study Songs Revealed

Posted in Blog by on April 17, 2020

We all have our favourite bands, artists and songs, but are they any good for studying? To find out, we’ve been crunching some stats and looking at the science behind what makes the perfect song for study.

Whatever course you’re studying at uni, be it medicine, maths or marine biology, there are times when we all need a little headspace – a chance to zone out, focus and get some work done. And listening to music can be a really effective way to tune out from the day-to-day, provided you pick the right songs.


If you find it difficult to concentrate, knowing which songs to go to find focus can be a blessing. Whether you’re working in a busy library or in the privacy of your dorm, some tunes are better at focusing the mind than others – and we’re here to help you find them.


But before we get to that, we wanted to look at the songs students typically listen to when studying. So, went to everyone’s favourite streaming service, Spotify, to find the most-played songs for study and revision – here’s what we found.


Your Top 10 Most Popular Songs for Study


Looking at popularity alone, here are the 10 most-played tracks that students listen to when they’re studying:

  1. Blinding Lights – The Weeknd
  2. The Box – Roddy Ricch
  3. Don’t Start Now – Dua Lipa
  4. Death bed (coffee for your head) (feat. Beabadoobee) – Powfu
  5. ROXANNE – Arizona Zervas
  6. Falling – Trevor Daniel
  7. Sunday Best – Surfaces
  8. Roses – Imanbek Remix – SAINt JHN
  9. Circles – Post Malone
  10. Memories – Maroon 5


So, these are the most popular tracks on Spotify’s revision playlist – but are they the right tracks for studying? To find out, we called in the experts.


man studying listening to music

What Makes a Great Song for Revision and Study?


While every student works differently, expert psychologists believe that certain songs lend themselves better to study than others. Things like BPM, sentiment and volume all affect how well we’re able to focus, so the songs you listen to undoubtedly have an impact on your concentration levels.


Psychologist and psychotherapist Steven T Richards believes that music has a huge part to play in how students study. Here, Steven offers his advice on how to find music for focus:

“Songs with lower beats per minute – around 72 or less – are far more relaxing, due to early experience of a child in its mother’s womb, when the regular beat of the mother’s heart provided the soundtrack to security and the natural biological rhythms of her body. This is imprinted in our psyche, and just as a faster bpm causes adrenaline to surge, so a lower one, induces calmness.


“Music is also the quickest natural mood changer and stimulus for emotion. A ‘negative’ sentiment will encourage a withdrawal from external distractions, with the emotion colouring the ‘task’ of focused attention, into the introversion that even extroverts need for revision. Combining a negative sentiment with a low BPM and you have the perfect soundtrack for the economical use of introversion, in study and revision.”


Taking Steven’s formula for the perfect study songs into account – a low BPM with a ‘negative’ sentiment – it’s clear from the top 10 above that students aren’t getting it quite right when it comes to study. Chart-topping tracks like ‘Blinding Light’ by The Weeknd and ‘Don’t Start Now’ by Dua Lipa may be great for getting you in the mood to go out on a Saturday night, but their high BPMs and positive sentiment isn’t all that conducive for a study session.


woman listening to music on laptop


So, based on Steven’s research, which songs from Spotify’s revision playlist are good for studying? Here’s a look at the revised top 10:

  1. Becoming one of “The People” Becoming one with Neytiri – James Horner
  2. Lily’s Theme – Alexandre Desplat
  3. Hedwig’s Theme – John Williams
  4. Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007: I. Prelude – Johann Sebastian Bach
  5. No Time to Die – Billie Eilish
  6. Nemo Egg (Main Title) – Thomas Newman
  7. when the party’s over – Billie Eilish
  8. Beneath Your Beautiful – Labrinth
  9. All I Want – Kodaline
  10. Wasn’t Expecting That – Jamie Lawson


This list is based on BPM and valence (the measure of positivity in a song). By listening to songs with a low BPM and low valence, you’ll stand a better chance of being able to concentrate and focus for longer periods – something worth keeping in mind the next time you’ve got a big essay to write.



Top Tracks for Wellbeing and Working Out


The right soundtrack can enhance virtually every aspect of life, whether you’re working out or taking some time out for your mental wellbeing. Indeed, experts like Dennis Relojo-Howell, author and founder of psychology site Psychreg, believes that listening to music is one of the most powerful ways to combat ill-health, both mental and physical.




He says: “When we listen to music, play a musical instrument, or compose it, we activate and engage multiple areas across both halves of the brain. In the process of appreciating music, we simultaneously work our memory centres to recall the previous places and occasions which we have enjoyed.


“Studies have shown that music can help patients recover from a stroke, manage conditions like anxiety and depression, and can even slow down the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s.”



In between attending lectures and studying, we know that a lot of you like to work out and stay on top of your wellbeing. And so, whether you’re hitting the gym or the books, we have compiled our playlists for keeping fit, studying and maintaining mental health.


Whether you’re working out, studying or hitting the yoga mat – music can help you get in the zone, whatever you’ve got going on. At Nido, we’re proud of our stylish and contemporary student homes, which provide the perfect base for work and play. For more information about our student homes, visit the homepage today