5 music discoveries that got me through online classes and WFH

Here’s to the music lovers who can’t work without music… but also can’t work with music

If you clicked on this article because of the caption, then I’m going to assume you know exactly what I mean by wanting to work with music but also not being able to concentrate with music. Playing your favorite songs is a great trick to boost motivation and morale but it can also be a big distraction when you suddenly catch yourself focusing on the lyrics instead of your work. To you who has been subject to this unfair dichotomy, here are some sounds to give you the best of both worlds:

Instrumentals and minus one

A common music genre suggested for studying would be classical music due to the Mozart effect but not everyone is into that and that’s okay (though you should give it a try). If you’re someone who wants to jam to your favorite songs but don’t want to be swayed by lyrics then stick to instrumentals and minus one versions. Not only will you be working to your favorite songs in the background but you’ll also learn to appreciate them better as you discover more things to love about them—unnoticed beats, flawless arrangements and lowkey sound effects.

Random (indie) playlists

One habit I’ve started during the pandemic is listening to random people’s playlists. It’s a fun experiment that often leads me to discover new genres and hidden gems that eventually get added to my personal playlists. If you’re a big pop fan, I seriously recommend checking out indie playlists. I find that recognizable songs make it harder for me to work as I can sing along to them and anticipate certain parts, so indie renditions are a great way to enjoy regular songs without the distraction. If you’re not new to the indie scene then delve into non-English indie playlists such as those featuring Japanese and Korean artists. I got

Lo-fi covers

I’m sure I can speak for a lot of people when I say “lo-fi hip hop mix – beats to relax/study to” is a title that brings back flashbacks of early morning cramming. Just like millions of people who have gone back to that video numerous times, I started to search for more lo-fi video compilations before stumbling on a new lifesaver of mine: lo-fi covers of my favorite songs. I can’t really explain it but there’s something about it that makes focusing so much easier. So, go ahead and start searching the web for lo-fi covers to make your own playlist to study or chill to at three in the morning.

8D with bass boosted and slowed down with reverb

Okay, this is mainly for those times when you need a break to either hype yourself up or chill down. As a big fan of EDM and alternative music, 8D with bass boosted versions of my favorite songs are my holy grail to boosting my spirits. Sometimes, you just need to stop what you’re doing and give in to the bass of your favorite songs to break your sluggish pace so you can come back feeling refreshed and inspired. On the other hand, slowed down with reverb versions of songs are great for refocusing and recollecting your thoughts.

Ambiance simulation and ASMR room videos

If all these suggestions still don’t work then perhaps ambiance simulation videos are the solution for you. As someone who loves background noise and the cafe ambiance (take me back to pre-COVID days!) I found that these videos are lifesavers. Just search whatever ambiance you want and you’re most likely to find a video for it. So, go get that degree or job done and don’t let this home-based set-up pull you down.

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