Can listening to music or constant white noise help you concentrate? Many studies show that it can actually enhance creativity and improve memory. The stimulation also helps to cancel out random distracting noises and, therefore, maintain concentration. Whether we have scientific proof or not, it’s still a very personal choice: some people simply prefer studying in complete silence, whereas others would go insane without some background noise.
If you are part of the second group, you’ll be delighted to know that there are many free websites and apps out there to help you find the perfect soundtrack. Here’s a good selection:
Coffitivity – website/app
Personally, the buzzing atmosphere that I find in cafés really helps me concentrate. But let’s assume that the student loan hasn’t hit your account just yet, or it’s late at night and all the coffee shops are shut. Don’t worry: you can still experience their characteristic background noise with Coffitivity. Although you can unlock more settings by going premium, the free version has already got all you need: choose from Morning Murmur, Lunchtime Lounge and University Undertones!
Rainy Mood – website
If the sound of pouring rain helps you concentrate, congratulations: you are in the right country! When the constant drizzle isn’t really loud enough, though, you can always turn on your personal rain on this website (there’s also an app, but it’s not free): continuous rain and occasional thunders or windblasts. Also, beware of hail!
Jazz and Rain – website
Enjoy the sound of pouring rain and sweet, relaxing jazz at the same time. I mean, if this is not the perfect combo, I don’t know what is!
White Noise – Calm, Concentrate – app
Here we start to find a wider range of background noises: sea, seagulls (not needed if you live in Southsea), fireplace, train, storm… And the best thing is that you can combine them, adjusting the separate volumes. For example, if you’d like to study plunged in the atmosphere of a café on the mountains during a storm, you can definitely do it now.
Noisli – website
If you like the sound(s) of the previous app but you’d rather listen to it on your laptop, then this website is perfect for you. Very similar to White Noise – calm,concentrate in interface and range of sounds, the slow changes in the pastel colours of the background are also very relaxing.
Atmosphere – app
You want more? A dozen sounds is not enough? Then try this app! The intuitive interface lets you swipe across eight different environments: Beach, Forest, Urban, Underwater, Home, Park, Countryside and Oriental, with each one offering several separate sounds. You can find animals from crickets to wolves to ducks, air bubbles, a sonar (I guess some people concentrate better on board submarines?), a fan, a lake, trains and much more – even a Tibetan bowl! A plus? You can combine sounds from completely different environments. How about a Chinese flute in the forest?
Ambient Mixers – website
I understand, you didn’t receive your Hogwarts letter and it still hurts. Thanks to this website, though, you can soften the blow by studying in the common room of whichever house you wished to be sorted in. Or maybe you’d rather plunge yourself into the quietness of the Shire? If you don’t get seasick, you can even try the sound of the Black Pearl. While this website also offers the usual natural sounds, its ace in the hole is definitely the ‘Movies and Series’ ambience category. I strongly recommend this efficient website, as the app stops playing whenever you tab out or lock the screen.
Spotify – app
We all know, and probably already have, the most popular music streaming service. What not everyone is aware of, though, is that Spotify also includes playlists specifically designed to help you concentrate. A very popular one, followed by over 1.5 million listeners, is Intense Studying, which offers a large variety of classical songs. If you prefer the sound of guitars and don’t wish to be interrupted by catchy lyrics, you should definitely try Acoustic Concentration. Or, if like our Arts Editor, Lottie Moulster, you concentrate better with Film/TV scores, you can check out her Study Soundtrack Playlist.