Charles Sturt University logo
Music that motivates you to study

Music that motivates you to study

Let’s be honest. Though we’re university students, motivation to study does not always come naturally. Some days we need help to get in the ‘study zone’. Cue the music!

Many university students, including myself, blast their latest and favourite ‘jam’ to get in the mood to study. Think funky beats, empowering lyrics and a bass line that even your grandma wouldn’t resist tapping her foot to!

Scientific studies prove that music can improve your motivation. Music can cause the brain to release dopamine, a chemical which works to regulate motivation and goal-oriented behaviour. Ever seen athletes with their headphones in before a race? They’re gearing themselves with determination and a frame of mind to achieve their goals.

So what are some songs that university students play to motivate themselves?

A recent callout on social media revealed a wide range of songs and genres that university students, just like you, rock out to in readying themselves to study. Interested in some new music to inspire study-like behaviour? Treat your ears to your peers’ favourite songs listed below. Songs and artists are loosely grouped in musical genres from Pop to Indie to Classical.


The Final Countdown // Europe

Baba O’Riley // The Who

It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘N’ Roll) // AC/DC

Don’t Stop Me Now // Queen

You Win Again // Bee Gees

Take On Me // a-ha

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough // Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

I Want You Back // The Jackson 5

Come and Get Your Love // Redbone

Jive Talkin’ // Bee Gees


Pop and Funk

Uptown Funk // Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars

Shake It Off // Taylor Swift

Happy // Pharrell Williams

Party In The U.S.A // Miley Cyrus

Geronimo // Sheppard

Rumour Has It // Adele

Bang Bang // Jessie J feat. Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj 


Indie and Rock

My Number // Foals

Run // San Cisco

Night Swimmers // Foals

Gonna Make It // Vydamo

Zoom // Last Dinosaurs

Get Happy // Megan Washington

Houdini // Foster the People

Step Out // José González

Dirty Paws // Of Monsters and Men

Electrical Storm // U2



Miracle // Kimbra

Kids // MGMT

Sleepyhead // Passion Pit

Radioactive // Imagine Dragons

Jona Vark // Gypsy and the Cat

This Head I Hold // Electric Guest

Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites // Skrillex

On Top // Flume feat. T.Shirt


Classical and Jazz

Rhapsody in Blue // George Gershwin

Prelude-Obsession // Eugène Ysaӱe

Romeo and Juliet Op. 64, Act 1: Dance of the Knights // Prokofiev

Piano Concerto in F // George Gershwin

Lord of the Rings soundtrack // Howard Shore

But why stop at one song? If you’ve hit a slump after an hour or so of study, play another track with an uplifting beat to re-energise your body and revive your brain. Some students I know treat a song as a mini workout by dancing to it with dumbbells. Others craft impromptu interpretive dance routines. As well as getting your blood pumping, moving to music is a great way to alleviate stress! Something like this can easily fit into a five-minute break if you’re using The Pomodoro Technique® to structure your study.

What’s your favourite song that motivates and gets you in the mood to study?

This is an SSAF funded initiative
Write for Charlie Graphic