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11 Great Classical Pieces to Put on While You Study

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Your semester is now in full swing. At some point in the next six weeks you’ll be studying for your next test and in search of music that will inspire you, invigorate you, exist to drain out the other ambient noise around you but not distract you, and make you feel like striving for higher achievement in all its forms.

This isn’t a football game and you don’t need your adrenaline levels through the roof, you need focus, and you need to cram. You need classical music. Here are 12 of my favorite classical pieces to put on while studying.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – “Piano Concerto No. 23 in A”

A classical study playlist would not be complete without Mozart, and his “Piano Concerto No.23” is one of his most famous pieces of all time. The race between frantic piano and strings is bound to start any study session off with a bang. Dig in!

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – “Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74 ‘Pathétique'”

Tchaikovsky’s “Pathetique II” is a soothing song reminiscent of a ballroom dance scene from your favorite royal romance movie. It’s soothing background music that will have your pencil gliding across the page like a tiny ballroom dancer as your take your notes in academic stride.

Ludwig van Beethoven – “Piano Sonata No. 12 in A-Flat Major”

Another fast paced masterpiece to re-energize you from one of the greats. Funny enough, history has taught us that Beethoven was a notorious space cadet to those who knew him well. Who would’ve thought he’d write music that would end up helping so many other struggling students focus?

Richard Wagner – “The Mastersingers of Nuremberg, Act III: ‘Prelude'”

Yet another famous piece by another famous German composer, Richard Wagner’s “The Mastersingers of Nuremberg, Act III: ‘Prelude’” is a soothing piece to keep your study session going strong.

Frederic Chopin – “Mazurkas, Op.24: No. 3 in A-Flat Major”

There is no doubt that Chopin was one of the greatest pianists and piano composers of all time. This piece highlights what he did best, but doesn’t hit you over the head with mind-melting complexity, and it helps keep you focused at the same time.

Johann Sebastian Bach – “Goldberg Variations”

“The Goldberg Variations” are flitting and light, perfect for a playlist that’ll help you keep from knocking out in the middle of your readings. These familiar pieces will always have a place in your study session.

Giacomo Puccini – “O Mio Babbino Caro (instrumental)”

Though both Puccini’s instrumental and vocalized versions of “O Mio Babbino Caro” are beautiful, we recommend the instrumental version for studying specifically. However, you should listen to both in your free time. Puccini’s work is truly mind-blowing in every form.

Gustav Mahler – “Symphony No. 5”

Austro-German composer Gustav Mahler was bound to make this list. Not only was he one of the greatest composers of the late Romantic Period, he was also quoted as saying:  “All that is not perfect down to the smallest detail is doomed to perish.” Sounds like a tedious studier to us. What better motivation to get to work?

Erik Satie – “Gymnopédie No. 1”

This instantly recognizable piece can be found on almost any “classical music for studying” playlist you’ll find on Spotify. But we wanted to make sure it also makes your custom list, it’s too elegant to leave off. Take a listen, we’re sure you’ll see why!

Philip Glass – “The Hours”

Classical composer Philip Glass is considered one of the most widely influential musicians of the late 20th Century. Often considered a “minimalist” composer, his piece leaves enough space in the instrumentation to keep you locked in and focused on your work, even while enjoying such a gorgeous, narrative-assisting piece of music.

Antonio Vivaldi – “Four Seasons”

Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” is a collection of four concertos representing seasonal changes. At forty-two minutes long, this work is excellent as a stand alone study piece if you need to force yourself to sit at a desk for about an hour and study — just put it on and work until you’ve heard the whole thing. Furthermore, it’s one of those pieces that will continue to inspire throughout the decades with its dexterous arrangement and beautiful motifs.

If you’re looking for more great classical pieces, there are some great playlists on YouTube and Spotify that will help you focus. Good luck, and enjoy, and happy Studying!

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Sammy Hakim
Sammy Hakim

Sammy Hakim is an up-and-coming young songwriter based in New York City. In May, 2018 she graduated from Berklee College of Music with a Major in songwriting and a focus in music business. These days she spends most of her time in songwriting sessions with artists all over the country.