6 Best Pandora Stations for Studying

Listening to music while studying
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Almost everyone has a smartphone these days, and with it comes the ability to rock out to music whenever the mood strikes. Since Pandora Internet Radio is probably the most well-known place to grab free music on the go, and tons of students love to listen to music while they study, it only stands to reason that people might need some advice about choosing the best Pandora stations for studying and homework.

Genre Pandora Stations

When you log in to Pandora, you can choose an artist, a genre, or a song to get started. A musical genre is simply a style of music. Rock is a genre. So is punk. So is jazz. Pandora's site does have genres such as country and classical and hip-hop, and it also has a set of genres that have more to do with the overall emotional flavor of a collection of music rather than a particular genre. Pandora has a comprehensive and frequently updated genre list that you can browse to get started.

Since researchers are at least agreed that quieter music without lyrics is the most conducive music to study by (barring no music at all), here are a few genre Pandora stations that may be ideal for you to study by. Some are instrumental only, and they cover a wide range of musical styles.

Instrumentals

Fifteen million listeners can't be all wrong: in Pandora's Instrumentals genre you'll find everything from Dr. Dre to bluegrass to techno to jazz. These instrumentals are basically tracks from some of the top names in the business without the words to mess with your brain space; there's even a specific station called Instrumentals for studying.

Quiet Tracks

Willing to risk some lyrics? Pandora has three muted genres that might work for you. Pandora's Wind Down genre includes a collection of stations such as the Buddha Bar, with surreal lyrics, modal harmonies, and a slow-moving bass line.

The Chill genre contains stations that are mostly acoustic playlists, with an emphasis on calm, sedate music. Styles range from coffeehouse-style folk music to pop music versions to classics, country, and indie channels.

Pandora's Easy Listening channels include the light side of movie soundtracks, show tunes, cool jazz, solo piano, and light rock.

New Age and Classical

Pandora's New Age genre has several channels perfect for taking your anxiety over that deadline down a notch or two. Here you'll find music suitable for relaxation, spa, ambient, and a whole range of subareas of New Age music types: instrumental, acoustic, solo piano, and beats. Just don't fall asleep.

The Classical genre has a number of good channels that might trip your studying trigger: classical guitar, symphonies, renaissance, baroque. A Classical for Studying Radio channel promises a New Age aesthetic and an overall meditative sound. and a channel for Work might also do the ticket.

In the End, It's All Between the Ears

It's quite possible that some people do better with background music: people have different tastes, different study habits, and different ways of handling noise and distraction. Surveys of students themselves often say music helps them concentrate, keeps them company, alleviates boredom, and helps them learn faster.

With free music sources like Pandora and Spotify, selecting the exact music you need might actually be a distraction in itself.

Is Music While Studying Even a Good Idea?

A few scientific studies have been conducted on the effect of music or other background noise on maintaining concentration. Most report that the best studying environment of all is silence. Since all music processing uses cognitive capacity, the theory goes, listening to music could impair task performance involving your brain. Most of the studies, however, have been relatively unsystematic and somewhat inconclusive, because so much depends on an individual student's preferences and study habits, and the enormous number of musical genres available.

If students study with music playing, they seem to perform better when the music is calm and they don't engage with the music. In other words, don't sing along, for example, or don't pick music that you either don't like or like too much. Your emotional response to music does add to the distraction value: music that is too stimulating or too sleep-inducing will also be a distraction.

So: if you are the kind of student who needs music as a background to study, to act as a white noise to keep other people's voices or the radiator's banging or personal worries out of your head, keep it low enough that you won't actually pay much attention to it. If you find yourself singing along, change the station.

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