If you study to music, then you’re already “in tune” with the amazing effects it may have for helping put your brain in optimum study mode. But did you know that certain genres of music could set the tone for even greater concentration, focus and well-being?

As we kick off a new semester, we’d like to introduce the latest music craze to add to your study playlist. It’s called “lo-fi,” and it’s getting high marks from students across the globe for its positive effects on helping them bring their A-game when it comes to reducing stress, increasing focus and keeping them relaxed while studying. Haven’t heard of lo-fi music? Grab your earbuds as we tell you all about it.

What is lo-fi music?

Low-fidelity music, or lo-fi, is music that is recorded with intentional imperfections, such as misplayed notes, environmental noise, low hum, or phonographic audio imperfections. Unlike hi-fidelity, or hi-fi, which is the high-quality reproduction of sound, the imperfect elements of lo-fi music are a popular choice when it comes to the positive results when studying is concerned. So, why would imperfect sound be one of the perfect genres to study to? Sit back and take a listen as you hear why. Lo-fi music helps the front lobe in our brain to focus – those flaws or low hums can also put the brain in the mindset to focus.

Why lo-fi is a popular playlist choice

Music speaks a universal language, so it comes as no surprise that students from all walks of life enjoy the wonder of music while studying. Some of the reasons as to why lo-fi is so popular are:

  • Relaxing effect and perfect tempo to keep listeners engaged without making them sleepy
  • As there are no lyrics, there are no distractions, which leads to better reading comprehension and writing
  • Listeners keep lo-fi on an endless loop, keeping music predictable and not a distraction while studying

And, if those aren’t good enough reasons to give lo-fi a try, here are some other reasons on how music can help you focus when you need it most:

  • Mood booster—Music can lift your spirits, even after a long, hard day. Playing your favorite tunes can be all you need to turn your frown upside down.
  • Positive attitude—The right kind of music can make you happy and help kick-start a study session. It’s been said that happy people tend to be more productive. In fact, people who listen to music may be happier than those who don’t.
  • Drowns out distracting noises—Does the sound of background noise make you irritable? Listening to music is a great way to drown out annoying background noises and help you focus on the task at hand. If possible, consider in investing in a quality set of headphones or earbuds for optimum sound quality and noise cancellation.

An “alternative” decision

Lo-fi music is considered an “alternative” genre of music—and for good reason. It’s not only easy to listen to, but it’s also easy to produce since there are no lyrics. Ever thought of becoming a songwriter? Try producing some music on your phone or laptop.

One of the most popular app services is FL Studio. Or, Apple and Android users can try those respective sites to create their own lo-fi playlists.

Creating a playlist

It may sound obvious, but research revealed that brain function decreases when you listen to music and sounds you don’t enjoy, making it difficult to focus and concentrate. So, be sure to choose music and sounds that make you happy. Here are some tips for creating your playlist:

  • Create your playlist in advance, so you won’t be fumbling to find a new song every few minutes.
  • Keep your playlist to around 40-50 minutes. This is a great reminder to take a study break when it’s over. Plus, it helps you plan your study sessions to meet your concentration level.
  • Avoid listening to the radio. Dialogue between radio personalities and commercials can be distracting.
  • Turn it down. Listening to music at a moderate level is best.

Don’t forget the classics—Mozart, anyone?

If you haven’t already done so, check out our popular 2018 blog, “Studying to Music Can Put Your Brain in the Right Frame of Mind,” where Vaughn College explores the mind-boosting effects of studying to classic music. (Have you heard of the Mozart Effect?) Additionally, this blog explains how the calming sounds of nature can help to increase concentration.

With the new semester kicking off, this is the best time to add lo-fi music to your playlist so it’s ready to go when you need it. Happy listening!