Does classical music help you focus?

Let’s be honest, sometimes we really just can’t make ourselves focus on the tasks we need to get done. There’s been claims that listening to soothing classical music can help you get that motivation and focus you need to get through the day. But, is that actually the case? We’re here to answer the age-old question: does classical music really help you focus?


Whether it’s studying for an exam or trying to finish a last-minute project, sometimes we just need something to make us focus on the task at hand. When you search for tips, it’s likely you’ll stumble across some people claiming listening to classical music can help you focus. In fact, there are numerous classical music playlists to choose from. So, we’re here to get to the bottom of whether there’s actually facts to back up these claims.


In a 2007 study from Stanford University School of Medicine, researchers found that listening to classical music helps the brain absorb and understand new information easier (1). This is because music in general helps train the brain to engage with the material, and therefore can increase your attention-span and reasoning skills. Additionally, a 2011 study from Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology found that a randomized group of over 40 young boys with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) performed better in classrooms and were able to focus more on their tasks when classical music was playing in the background (2). So, when you need help focusing, tuning into classical music may not be a bad idea.


One other benefit of listening to classical music is that it can significantly brighten your mood and reduce stress. Sometimes when we’re stressed or overwhelmed, listening to our favorite song can really lift our spirits. It turns out, a positive mindset can really influence how we perform while working or studying. A 2017 study from the Department of Learning and Instruction in Germany found that people had more success in their tasks when they were in a good mood and were not stressed (3). So, if you’re trying to meet a tight deadline and are feeling particularly overwhelmed, putting on some classical music may help you feel better and be able to focus more. 


All this being said, it’s important to remember that everyone focuses differently. While studies have shown that classical music genuinely can help you focus and take in information easier, it can also prove to be a distraction for some people. If you’re someone who needs absolute quiet and zero distractions while working on something, perhaps listening to music isn’t the best route to take. Instead, it may be worth listening to classical music before you start the work so you can really get in the zone. 


When it comes to meeting deadlines or focusing on tasks, it’s important we find our own way of doing it. If you’re someone who’s naturally soothed by music, it’s time to queue up some Mozart or Beethoven to get motivated. Happy listening!

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