Reading With Music – How To Make Reading Fun Again

Did you know that listening to music while you read can improve your comprehension?

It’s true!

In fact, research has shown that people who listen to music while reading tend to remember more words and phrases than those who don’t.

Of course, this is far from absolute – and it varies greatly, especially given that different individuals have different capabilities.

Moreover, if you’re reading about obscure, abstract concepts or something that involves you keeping track of several pieces of information at the same time – for instance, calculations – then you may actually need absolute silence and may be hindered by any kind of background music or noise.

Nevertheless, music has its advantages.

In this article, I’ll show you some of them. Then, I’ll show you how to incorporate music into your reading.


The Benefits Of Listening To Music While You Read


There are several benefits of listening to music while you’re reading.

First, it helps you focus on what you’re reading. This can be by blocking out other sounds around you or by keeping your thoughts from wandering.

Unless you find the book or material you’re reading incredibly engaging, it is very easy for your concentration to veer off.

These days there are lots of things jostling for our attention.

Our jobs

Our phones


Films and books

Our families

Relatives and friends

The list is endless.

Putting on some music blocks it all out and lets you focus on what you’re currently reading.


Man wearing headphones reading a book
Image credit: João Geraldo Borges Júnior from Pixabay


Second, it can help you retain information better by making it easier to recall the words you just read.

In fact, according to research, listening to music while reading improves memory and retention.

But this mostly only works with instrumental songs – that is, songs without lyrics. There is some perspective that listening to songs with lyrics that you can easily relate to will distract you from reading rather than actually help you focus or retain information.

Third, it can make you feel happier when you’re reading.

Have you ever tried to do something but then abandoned it because you were in a bad mood, frustrated or just not feeling up to it?

Well, next time you do, try to put some music on. Music improves your mood!

And what wouldn’t we do brilliantly when we’re in a good mood?

Not only does music improve your mood, it also gives you a more positive mindset. Which is why you’ll be happier and more motivated to get on with your reading – even if it’s a boring tome you absolutely want to be thirty metres away from.

Finally, it can help you relax and unwind after a stressful day at work. Again, if you’re more relaxed you’ll find reading easier and you’ll be able to take on and quickly process more information than you would if you were stressed out and tired.

So turn on the music, and turn on the fun reading.


How To Choose Good Music For Reading


If you’re looking for a good song to listen to while you read, there are some things you should consider before choosing one.

First, you’ve got to choose a song that will keep you interested in the book and block out any distractions, while not serving as a distraction itself.

I’ve made this mistake myself a few times and found myself listening and dancing to the song rather than reading the book itself.

So I feel like it’s very important advice when I tell you not to listen to Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal while reading – which is what I did.

Yeah, I know – silly me.

This is why it’s been suggested that the best music to listen to while reading is music without lyrics.

When the Guardian asked people about what sorts of songs they preferred to listen to while reading, some of the answers that came back were:

“It has to be very low volume – preferably slow jazz that won’t be so visual that I can’t focus on reading.”


“It has to be classical, but nothing with words or it puts me off.”


“Film soundtracks, which usually combine no lyrics and an epic or soothing feel”

Other suggestions include slow, instrumental music. Again, if it’s too fast it could become a distraction.

Of course, Classical music is an example of this type of instrumental music without lyrics, or at least without lyrics that can distract you.

Here are some famous examples of Classical music:

“Moonlight Sonata” — Beethoven

“Prelude in C major” — Bach

“Serenade No. 13 in G major” — Mozart

“Für Elise” (Bagatelle No.25)” — Beethoven

“Prelude Op.28 No.4 in E minor” — Chopin

“The Four Seasons” — Vivaldi

“Messiah” – Handel

Other songs that are just as great and perhaps even better include:

“Carmina Burana: O Fortuna” – Carl Off (my personal favourite)

“Requiem: II. Dies irae” – Giuseppe Verdi

“Ave Maria” – Charles Gounod

Here’s a full list you can add to your Spotify.


Create A Customized Playlist For Yourself


One of the easiest ways to listen to music while reading is through a playlist.

A playlist is simply a list of songs that you want to listen to at any given moment.

Your full song library is often full of music of different genres, so you want to separate them so that you only play a particular kind at a particular time.

You can make a playlist for yourself so that only the songs you think are suitable for you will play while you’re reading.

Here’s the Guardian’s playlist example on Spotify. Note the Classical songs.

Guardian screenshot of music for reading


How To Create A Playlist on Spotify

Go to the Spotify app. You’ll have to be signed up to either a free or paid premium account.

spotify playlist

Click the “Your Library” tab at the bottom to go to your music library. Then click on “Create playlist”.

spotify music ilibrary

Write a name for your new playlist then click on “Create” as you can see in the screenshot below.

Spotify playlist

Click on “Add songs” then select the songs of your choosing.

Spotify music
Image credit:

There are many songs available for you on Spotify, but remember, the downside is that your Internet connection will have to be on if you’re listening to any song on there. This can lead to the song occasionally pausing for ads if you’re using the free version.

Needless to say, that will be distracting and perhaps even annoying.

But other than Spotify, you can also use Boomplay, which works on both iOS and Android as well, plus the advantage of being usable offline.


How To Create A Playlist on Boomplay


You can download songs to your mobile phone and listen to them offline using Boomplay.

Here’s how to create a playlist there.

Go to Boomplay and click on the “Library” tab at the bottom. Then click on “Playlists”.

boomplay library


On “Playlists”, click “Create Now”.



You’ll have to input a title before your playlist is created.


playlist name on boomplay


The name I’ve chosen for mine is “Reading songs”. After inputing the name, you’ll have to add songs.

Click on “Add music”.


playlist on boomplay


It brings out this screen below. Select “Local Music” to see a list of all your offline songs and other audio files.


playlist boomplay


Select any songs of your choice from the list as in below. Then click “Done” at the top right corner.


add music boomplay playlist


Your playlist is created! Click on “Play All” to begin.


playlist boomplay




Reading doesn’t have to be some boring stuff you do. With some music you’re able to add exciting atmosphere and take things to a whole new level.

What do you think about reading with music?

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