If you’re like me, doing homework and studying without music is like licking your elbow; impossible! I discovered this years ago in elementary school when I tried to do my worksheets without music and my mind would wander, or I would make my own noises to break the silence. As I got older, I discovered an artist named Nujabes who created PERFECT homework music. He created music that blends jazz and classic boom bap hip-hop and it’s instrumental 90% of the time. I suppose you could compare it to lo-fi hip hop which has recently surged in popularity. But the question remains: Does listening to music while you do homework enhance your ability to complete it or does it distract you?
Doing homework with music has several benefits. For one, you don’t have to listen to the sound of yourself breathing or people failing miserably at whispering while you’re in the library (or, shouting and carrying on outside of your dorm room). As you go through your assigned readings, I would think it’s safe to say you’re not exactly immersed in Old English Literature or the many voyages of the explorers of the Atlantic Ocean. While listening to music, you’ll be kept awake as you read and won’t fall prey to rereading the same page multiple times. Also, with music on, you may even finish written assignments quicker if you’re in a good vibe out mood. With no music, the feeling of how much work you actually have to do may cloud your brain and make it even harder to figure out what process you need to apply to answer the question. One factor, perhaps the most important one, is the type of music you listen to while you do homework. Personally, I would have trouble solving quadratics while Playboi Carti says “What?” in my ear 50 times. I believe the perfect homework music is music that you can jam to without getting completely distracted from your work. On my personal homework music playlist I have neo-soul band The Internet, psychedelic rock band Tame Impala, some instrumental Hip Hop artists, The Beatles and more. All the songs have enough bounce to keep you awake but not too much that you end up turning up in the middle of the library.
Sometimes, however, doing homework with music can cause more issues for students. This is when you’re so busy rapping or singing along that you continually lose your place in your reading. Or, you enjoy the song so much it reminds you of another song by them and you search it up and when you do you see another one you love in the results… Or, in the case of math homework specifically, from turning up so hard to the music you end up making a careless mistake that throws off the whole problem. Also, I believe that you should NEVER try to study while listening to hype music as you may look at the pages multiple times, but won’t really remember them because you were jamming so hard.
For those interested I’ve created a brief list of albums you can play all the way through while doing homework. Each album lasts a little over an hour as most albums do, so you can play them back to back or however you desire. Also, I understand everyone has different tastes so I will organize them by genre. Some of these cannot be found on streaming services so I will link those directly via Youtube.
Entroducing… by DJ Shadow
Black Noise by Kirk Knight
Spiritual State State by Nujabes
Metaphorical Music by Nujabes
Modal Soul by Nujabes
A Son of the Sun by Uyama Hiroto
Feel Good by The Internet
Matt’s Drum Chord Theory by Matt Martians
Steve Lacy’s Demo by Steve Lacy
Malibu by Anderson .Paak
Psychedelic Rock/Pop Albums
Currents by Tame Impala
Lonerism by Tame Impala
Sun Structures by Temples
The Magical Mystery Tour by The Beatles