Quizlet is proud to partner with real students and recent graduates to showcase authentic voices on our blog. This guest post is by Nicolette Kier, who just graduated from the University of Pittsburgh.
So I saw this TikTok the other day. This person didn't start their essay until five hours before it was due (poor choice). They then put the Mario Kart theme song on repeat and got it done in one hour.
If you haven't heard the Mario Kart theme, you should. It was made for speed and, well, it worked. Some people are using the mix to get their work done, too.
But if you don't want the Mario Kart theme to be your soundtrack for an entire year, I've got you. Here are the top 20 study mixes of 2021 (excluding the go-kart one).
An important note about how this list is set up
There are several genres and subgenres of music—more than your standard radio could even begin to capture. These are some examples: electronic dance music (EDM) is a subgenre of electronic music, as is trap music. Ambient music is an entire genre that can be split into subgenres. House music is also an overhead genre, with several subgenres. Instrumental music is more than Beethoven and Bach.
I didn’t necessarily group these by genre and subgenre, but rather by feeling, and the effect each genre/subgenre has on your brain. For example, Lo-fi, chillwave and ambient are grouped together because, while they are different genres, they each have a soothing effect on your brain. By contrast, electronic music’s staccato nature and unexpected rhythms hype you up, keeping your brain moving with the beat.
I set it up this way so that you can choose your music based on what you need at the moment.
And now, onto the list.
EDM and Trap: The anticipation, highs and lows of these mixes keep your brain awake.
EDM and trap are good for when you’re:
- banging out a lot of practice problems in maths and sciences, as the changing rhythms will break up what may feel monotonous
- conducting labs; the music keeps you very alert, so you’re careful when performing delicate tasks
- writing essays, as you’re actively creating something rather than consuming information (and I find typing in time with the music very satisfying)
Quality Mixes Include:
- Trap Nation: Lowly Palace Remix (Royalty Free)
- Bass Nation’s New Year’s Mix
- TroyBoi (Mix)
- Mix - pluko
- Best of 2020 Mix
Lo-fi, Chillhop, Ambient: These mixes have less intrusive music to soothe your brain.
Lo-fi, ambient and chillwave music are great for:
- when you’re reading dense course material
- when you’re working in a loud or busy environment
- when you feel overwhelmed or stressed out in general
Quality Mixes Include:
- Mind merged with this place~Lo-fi hip hop mix~
- Chill electronic music for studying and concentration
- Lo-fi study music for focus and relaxation- Hip hop, Jazz, chill ambient mix
- Late Night Nostalgia | Lo-fi HipHop Mix
- Chillhop Yearmix 2020 | instrumental beats and Lo-fi hip hop
Deep House and Trip Hop: These subtle bops are for nodding along as you study.
Deep house and trip hop music employ very repetitive beats that help you focus. The beats are more lively than ambient and chillwave, but less erratic than EDM and trap. So, you might choose these mixes if you need a middle ground between deep, concentrated thought and lively, energetic action.
You can do just about anything to the sound of these bops, as long as you’re alright with the gentle head nodding motion as you’re listening.
Quality mixes include:
- Best of The Cancel | Trip Hop and Boom Rap and Abstract Hip Hop
- Best of Chill Nation
- Deep House Music Mix
- DEEP CHILLS 2021 (Deep House / Chill Nation Mix)
- New Beginnings | Chill Mix (Vocal Deep House, Chillout Music)
Instrumental Remixes and Soundtracks: These mixes aren’t Beethoven, though.
I know that there’s a lot of research indicating the benefits of listening to classical music like Beethoven and Bach. And a lot of people appreciate the genre. If you’re into it, here’s a mix for you.
For me, though, classical music is a little tired sounding, and there are already so many music studying articles that recommend classical study mixes. I prefer instrumental remixes of songs and instrumental soundtracks from films as a fresh alternative.
Instrumental remixes give you the sounds that you know and love, but without the words that might distract you into having a concert in your room. We Stan bedroom concerts with hairbrushes for microphones, but not when you’re trying to study.
And, for some reason, film soundtracks are just about always tasteful.
Use these for deep focus. There’s also a sense of emotion and movement in these mixes that only songs like Married Life from Pixar’s Up can capture.
Quality Mixes Include:
- Transcendence| Avatar/Korra Best Soundtracks
- The Cinematic Orchestra (Best Of 54 Minute Playlist)
- Movie Scores Study
- Emotional and Relaxing Drama and Epic Film Music
- The Best of John Williams - John Williams Greatest Hits Full Album
Finally, if you’re like me and like to just listen to one song over and over again for hours on end, I suggest SAINt JHN - Roses (Imabek Remix) 10 HOURS. It’s a vibe.
Find your study vibe in one (or several) of these mixes, and get to work. Or, if you’re looking for more study music, check out this playlist of study music on Quizlet’s YouTube channel and Quizlet’s playlists on Spotify.
Nicolette Kier just made it to the other side of a degree in physics and writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She reaped the usual rewards of college: knowledge, a job, and debt. She thinks it was worth it.