The Best Study Music: Can Solfeggios or Binaural Beats Help You Make the Grade?
We are a reader-supported education publication. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission to help us keep providing content.
What’s on your playlist when you sit down to study? According to some researchers, what you stream through those buds in your ears could impact your ability to focus.
Does this theory sound hopelessly new-agey? Perhaps. However, consider that scientists have already discovered an association between children who play instruments and improved mathematical performance at the individual and school district level. Music is powerful.
Solfeggio frequencies and binaural beats may sound mystical. However, they could be the extra secret sauce you need to provide that extra push when the words all seem to blur together on the page. Here’s why they make the best study music.
What Are Solfeggio Frequencies?
What do Grigorian monks share in common with the ancient Sanskrit mystics? They both use the same musical scale, focused along particular frequencies that some researchers believe have profound mental, spiritual and even physical effects.
The 11th-century monk Guido D’Arezzo gets the credit for codifying the frequencies, but they were lost to modern knowledge until Dr. Joseph Puleo rediscovered them in the 1970s. They never fell out of vogue in some eastern practices, although they didn’t use the same terminology.
The nine solfeggio frequencies are as follows:
- 174 Hz: This frequency is best for relieving pain and stress and enhancing concentration. It’s perfect for when finals week leaves you with a pounding headache.
- 285 Hz: This frequency heals tissue damage and repairs cells. Think of it as an auditory antioxidant.
- 396 Hz: This frequency helps you eliminate guilt, fear and grief.
- 417 Hz: This frequency is best for cleansing old negative energy and welcoming change. Tune in as graduation approaches.
- 528 Hz: This frequency activates your imagination, creativity and intuition, making it splendid when that 10-page paper looming over your head brings you stress.
- 639 Hz: This frequency helps you repair turbulent relationships.
- 741 Hz: This frequency is generally fabulous for chronic pain and repairing the lost concentration that it causes.
- 852 Hz: This frequency helps you feel connected to the universe and higher spiritual order, useful if distance learning has you feeling isolated.
- 963 Hz: The frequency of the gods, this tone can help you create room for success and feel at one with the spiritual world.
The best things in life are free, and this rule applies to solfeggios. You’ll find dozens of recordings on YouTube. Why not experiment with various frequencies and find the one that suits you best?
What Are Binaural Beats?
Binaural beats also deal with frequencies. However, the most magical one they create exists only within your mind. For example, you might tune in to a 444 Hz recording in one ear and 440 in the other. The 4 Hz difference between them is what you hear — and your brain activity changes in response to this tone.
Your brain is essentially an electrochemical device — if you hooked enough sensors to it, you could light up a bulb just like a cartoon idea. Your superior olivary complex translates binaural beats into frequencies that match the brain wave levels leading to various physical and mental states.
- Delta: 0.5 to 4 Hz. These waves occur during deep, dreamless sleep and inspire deep tissue healing.
- Theta: These waves occur during a dreamlike state and when you first awaken if you use an alarm. They’re associated with relaxed creativity — people who meditate first thing in the morning take advantage of lingering theta waves during the hypnopompic period.
- Alpha: This brain state is relaxed and productive. If you tend to have your best ideas during long car rides when your mind wanders, you can thank an alpha wave.
- Beta: These waves occur when you actively use your mind for the task. For example, someone giving a speech would be in a beta state.
- Gamma: Gamma rays are the fastest brain waves. They occur during periods of the most intense and focused concentration. Visualize Alexander Fleming as he first noticed that slice of moldy bread halting bacterial growth in its tracks.
How can you use binaural beats for studying? First, you need to get mindful and recognize what impairs your progress. If anxiety over making the grade has you a bundle of nerves, you might do best with an alpha or theta frequency. However, if depression makes you not want to so much as crack a book, tune into a beta or gamma frequency.
You can also find binaural beats for free. However, you might consider a subscription service if you find them useful. Pro-tip: Use headphones or earbuds for the best results.
The Case Against Lyrics
Why not simply dock your phone and jam out to whatever music you like best? The answer has to do with the human capacity to shut out distractions. Research shows that working memory decreases when you listen to tunes accompanied by lyrics, especially if it’s fast-paced — perhaps your brain is too busy focusing on what comes next to concentrate on the books. The effect is even more pronounced in introverts, perhaps because of their sensitivity to outside stimulation.
Can Music Improve Concentration and Focus?
The science behind using music for specific purposes remains in its infancy. However, studies have discovered ameliorative effects in relieving mental, physical and emotional suffering. That’s because deep inside your body, everything is in motion. Atoms vibrate against each other to create molecules, and each of these produces waves that you can measure in hertz.
If you’re hoping to find the best study music, why not experiment with various frequencies like those listed? You may find the missing ingredient that takes you from a B to an A.
The Best Study Music
What is the best study music? Listening to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” might ease tension but impact your concentration.
However, tuning into solfeggio frequencies or binaural beats may help you make the grade. Why not experiment with the new knowledge you learned above and design the best study music soundtrack for your unique physiology and mental state?