My Favorite Music For Productivity

This post is entirely inspired by Thomas Frank’s recent series of posts on working with music and it will follow a similar structure. Because of the interest in the area of study/work music I decided to add to the conversation. I was originally interested in posting, because of Franks’ post Should You Listen to Music While Studying. There I found out about Theophany’s album Time’s End. He has since followed that post up with Can Music Be Designed to Enhance Your Brain’s Performance?. I highly recommend looking at both posts for more information on this topic (Thanks Thomas!).

Ever since I received my 5th Generation iPod Classic/Video on Christmas of 2005(?), I have always enjoyed listening to music while studying. Listed is a breakdown of study moods that I have and the artists that I listen to!

Energized Music

I used to do a lot of work with energized music, but found that it had been distracting me from the work that I had been doing. I’ve saved quite a lot of my energy music for time at the gym, as I find it conducive to hitting personal records, etc. However, I’ve been starting to spend time finding artists in different genres to add more variety to my library. I’ll often listen to this music when I’m…

  • programming personal projects
  • completing trivial tasks

Carpenter Brut

About two years ago, I started playing Hotline Miami and was extremely impressed by the soundtrack (and the game). Recently, I stumbled upon the album for Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number and was really liked two artists in particular. Carpenter Brut is the first artist that I was first came across. I love the driving synths in each of his songs. Trilogy is my favorite album of his.

Mitch Murder

Mitch Murder is the other artist that I found through the album. I love Inceptor, Mitch’s top album, for many of the reasons that I love Trilogy. The album is packed with feel good 80’s inspired music.

Mellow Music

I’ve often listen to mellow music when I want to work through somewhat difficult exercises. I would include Theophany’s album, Time’s End, in this category, as well.

I’ll often listen to this music when I’m…

  • working on problem sets
  • writing a paper


I’ve been listening to C418 since he released Minecraft - Volume Beta. He’s an independent composer and producer made fairly famous for his work in the game Minecraft. The albums that I enjoy include Volume Beta, one, and 72 Minutes of Fame. I also really like his new album, 148, but find it difficult to listen to while working.

Background Music

Background music is often required when I need to get in my zone, as Kanye and Jay-Z would say. Background music has been the most difficult for me to find, because while I like websites like Rainy Mood, I typically look for something a little more engaging. For a while, I tried to listen to ambient music, but I found that “new-age” piano is more effective for me. I’ll typically listen to this music an hour before I know that I’m going to bed or before mid-day, because of how relaxed I feel when I’m listening to it.

I’ll often listen to this music when I’m…

  • reading
  • editing a paper


Yiruma is a pianist and composer that primarily creates “new-age” works. These pieces are typically relaxing enough that they fall entirely in the background. Below are some of my favorite songs.

Ludovico Einaudi

Einaudi is yet another fantastic composer. I first started listening to Einaudi when I discovered his album Nightbook and instantly fell in love with many of his other albums. My other favorite albums are In A Time Lapse, Una mattina, and Elements. It is worth stating that, I didn’t find all of Einaudi’s albums suitable for studying. Albums like like Alexandria contain vocals that I found distracting.

Wrap Up

I hope you find each of these artists as helpful in your quest to study/work as I did! Send me a tweet if you have any suggestions for me! I’m always looking to listen to more music!

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