Music can motivate us, make us think, help us to relax and, most importantly for college students, get us through some intense hours of studying.

Finding the right songs to add to a study playlist can take time and ultimately depends entirely on the person. But here are my top 10 recommendations for some tunes to add to your study playlist to help you chill out and focus, while maintaining a variety, with plenty of upbeat moments to keep you awake and alert.

“Work it Out” by Jurassic 5 and Dave Matthews Band

This song features a great beat and soothing vocals. It is catchy but not distracting, making it great for background noise.

“Open Road” by Slightly Stoopid

Any of Slightly Stoopid’s songs make for great additions to a study playlist. This song is another chill number that just puts you in a good mood and reminds you there is an open road out there once you’re done with your exams.

“The Cascades” by Fleet Foxes

Sometimes just putting all of the Fleet Foxes’ albums on shuffle is the best study soundtrack. But this instrumental song in particular has a relaxed vibe, capturing the feeling of a refreshing and scenic mountain walk, marking it as premium study music.


“Counting Stars” by Nujabes

This is another great instrumental track. This song is off of the “Modal Soul” album which is beautiful in its entirety, so you may want to listen to it all the way through.

“When I’m Small” by Phantogram

This song has a groovy beat and unique vocals and sounds that will have you bobbing your head along as you highlight and take notes. This song is upbeat without being screeching or distracting.


“We Are The People” by Empire of The Sun

Another upbeat number for the list. The vocals are unique but do not demand all of your attention. You may want to give it a real listen at some point, though, as it is a really interesting song.

“Oak Tree” by Desert Noises

Desert Noises is a Utah band hailing from Provo. Their unique, folksy style and smooth vocals are a great addition to any playlist, really.


“The Engine Driver” by The Decemberists

Every song by The Decemberists is expertly crafted, telling stories in every tune. This number is no different. You may be able to relate to the song, as the lyrics refer to an “engine driver on a long run.”

“Eres” by Cafe Tacuba

Cafe Tacuba is a Mexican alt. rock band that gained popularity in the early ’90s. If you don’t understand Spanish then this is an especially good one for the study playlist, as there’s no chance of you becoming distracted by the lyrics. Even if you do understand the language, the lyrics are soft enough that it won’t hinder your study session.


“Breakdown Ft. Jack Johnson” by Handsome Boy Modeling School

This is a remix of Jack Johnson’s “Breakdown.” From the lyrics to the beat, this song is great study background music. It also may be fitting, as you might feel close to a breakdown as you try to finish that last essay. This song will help you keep going to the finish.


Everyone’s study style is different, but if you are at a loss of what to add to your study playlist, then consider some of these numbers. Even if you don’t listen to them while studying, check out some of the albums and songs just to enjoy and unwind.



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