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Do you want to focus better when working and be productive? Then here is my secret: it's all in the music. Not pop music, although that's certainly great for driving or cleaning. Classical music, specifically the baroque period, is what's going to help you with focusing on work. I actually wrote over 1000 lines of code while listening to the albums I'm going to recommend to you. I bought a bunch of albums so I could focus better, and these are the ones that worked best.
The baroque period in music was earlier and has less drama to it than some of the large orchestral pieces that came later. This is an advantage to you, because the consistent tempo and relatively consistent volume within each piece of baroque music really helps you to focus. I felt like I was getting a huge "assist" from the music while I was working, and a lot of this is that it keeps your brain on track.
I'll move on in just a second to the albums that worked best for focusing, but for now I'd also like to add a few tips for how to listen
- Keep the volume lower than you normally would for listening to music. If you use earbuds, you should still be able to hear some of the things happening around you. This will ensure the music is going to assist you and not overwhelm your ears.
- If your music app allows you to create playlists, you can curate certain tracks from your album, or even from multiple albums. This lets you really personalize your focus music to the tracks that work best for you.
I personally like to buy my MP3's from Amazon, because I can then listen to them on any device. Some other MP3 services only allow you to listen on the device from which you bought them. Also, Amazon usually lets you preview (pre-hear?) audio of brief clips from the tracks so you can decide whether you like it before buying. This really helped me when picking my music. But that's just me, at the end of the day it doesn't matter where you choose to purchase your music from so long as it helps you concentrate.
Best music to concentrate and focus
My absolute top recommendation is The Best of Baroque. It worked so well for focusing that I wrote more than half of my coding project listening to this one. It's a joy to listen to, very uplifting and positive while not being in the least distracting.
You might be wondering why anyone would ever get a different album if that one worked so well. The issue with just one album you'll eventually be re-hearing the same music over and over. It works beautifully for making you concentrate, but you'll want to switch it up with something else every once in a while.
My next choice on the list is rather an oddball one, Albrechtsberger's concerto for Jew's harp, mandora, and orchestra. It did work next best for me for concentrating though, so it's definitely earned its spot here. The Jew's harp is an unusual instrument which is played by mouth and makes a sort of twangy sound. The mandora is a stringed instrument of the lute family. All the tracks here have a strong focus on the orchestral part, with occasional very brief solos from the mandora and Jew's harp.
These pieces have a slight "goofiness" to them, mostly due to the Jew's harp, which helped keep everything upbeat and fun, even when I was dealing with very challenging bits of my coding project. This music made me feel like I could make large swathes of progress even in the most difficult work. The music here itself hangs together beautifully like most of the music from this era. The unusual instruments do not in any way take away from the intrinsic beauty of this music, they merely add an element of quirkiness and fun.
The colorful-sounding and upbeat Italian Baroque Favorites is next in my list. It has plenty of music to keep you going. In fact I tend to listen to the albums in exactly the order mentioned above, so by the time I get to Italian Baroque Favorites I know I've been doing a LOT of work in one session. This one can keep me going even after I've already been through two other albums.
If you're comfortable with just one composer and just one instrument, I recommend Bach: Great Organ Favorites. Now, after the 3 albums above, I typically take a break from work if I haven't already. So this one is something I'd listen to at the start of a new session of work.
The music is high quality - you can never go wrong with Bach if you're needing to focus. The organist is amazing. I'd like to add that if you found album number 2 on my list a little too weird (the one with Jew's harp), then you'll love this Bach one, it's a little more serious-sounding. On the other hand, if you absolutely loved album number 2 then you might find the Bach a little too serious. I like them both though.
The trumpet stands out nicely here while still allowing you to concentrate. I enjoyed The Art of The Baroque Trumpet Vol 4. Don't ask me why I started with volume 4 and not volumes 1, 2 or 3! When I was shopping for albums this one popped up and after previewing some of the tracks I decided to buy it, and I'm glad I did.
You might find you like to switch which album you listen to each time, or you might prefer to start with one specific album. You might wind up making a playlist, or just listening to your tracks in the order they came. Play around with your approach and find out what works best for you for concentrating. Listening to baroque music made a huge difference to me, and I bet it will for you too.