According to LifeHacker, “Followers of Getting Things Done and productivity writer David Allen note in forum posts that…[he prefers Antonio] Vivaldi's Four Seasons, [Johann Strauss] Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, and other Baroque tunes as mood-setters for tackling tasks.”
A key suggestion from Allen’s forum is to “look for tracks paced at about 60 beats per minute” because “it's the beats-per-minute required to get the brain up to optimal revs. It [causes] a ‘bright and breezy’ frame of mind where thinking and creativity are easier.”
Here are some other classical music favorites from the Frederick Symphony Orchestra:
- Academic Festival Overture by Johannes Brahms. This musical work earned Brahms an honorary doctorate from the University of Breslau in Wrocław, Poland.
- A Beautiful Mind by James Horner. This 2001 album includes A Kaleidoscope of Mathematics and Looking For The Next Great Idea.
- Boléro by Maurice Ravel. This seminal orchestral work has one idea that grows, which is perfect if you need to focus on one concept.
- Calm Sea And Prosperous Voyage by Felix Mendelssohn. This piece takes you on a prosperous voyage through a calm sea of concentration.
- Canon In D by Johann Pachelbel. This familiar song is the basis for popular hits like Graduation (Friends Forever) by Vitamin C and I Should Be So Lucky by Kylie Minogue.
- Clair De Lune by Claude Debussy. The title translates to “light of the moon,” so you can focus during all-nighters.
- Das Rheingold Prelude by Richard Wagner. This is a great piece because Wagner focuses on only one chord, E flat, for minutes.
- Die Moldau by Bedřich Smetana. This work depicts the great river of Bohemia, which is perfect for keeping your work flowing, too.
- Études by Debussy. The composer described these 12 piano études as "a warning to pianists not to take up the musical profession unless they have remarkable hands,” but they make great focal points.
- Goldberg Variations by Bach. Bach wrote this aria and 30 variations for keyboard.
- Gymnopedie No. 1 by Erik Satie. Satie’s work symbolizes the zenith of calm piano music, making it a great destresser.
- Holberg Suite by Edvard Grieg. This classical music piece soothes your ears -- even through eye strains.
- The Hours by Philip Glass. This 14-song album was made for the 2002 film of the same name, starring Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore.
- Pastoral Suite by Lars-Erik Larsson. If you have reading to do, this is a great choice.
- Piano Concerto No. 23 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Let this gorgeous piano solo and orchestral accompaniment whisk you into concentration for 26 minutes.
- Piano Quintet by Zdeněk Fibich. This unique chamber work “is orchestral in tone, but economical in size,” which helps you eliminate busy work, according to WQXR.
- Pulcinella Suite by Igor Stravinsky. This Baroque-inspired work is classical in form and style with a modern touch or two.
- Rêverie by Debussy. Although the title is the opposite of focusing (to daydream), the soothing harmonies and persistent long tones in this piano piece will ground you for awhile.
- Serenade For Strings by Josef Suk. This lively work was composed under the tutelage of famous composer Antonin Dvořák at the Prague Conservatory.
- Silentium by Arvo Pärt. One of our favorites, the consistent fall and rise of the violin helps you progress, while sporadic percussive interjections keep you from dozing off.
- Solo Cello Suites by Bach. Drift into a focused abyss with classic Bach.
- Songs Without Words by Mendelssohn. Without words to distract you, this work serenades you without lyrics, so you can hunker down for a few hours.
- String Sextets No. 1 & 2 by Brahms. You can never go wrong with Brahms, focusing or otherwise.
- String Quartets, Op. 33 & Op. 76 by Joseph Haydn. This quartet is called Sunrise (Op. 76, No. 4), which works if you’re looking to get an early start.
- Symphony No. 2 by Anton Bruckner. Although all of his symphonies are inspiring, “the second’s massive formal structure is strong and stable,” according to WQXR.
- Symphony No. 6, Pastoral by Ludwig van Beethoven. Beethoven’s “drones” and prolonged harmonies make this a great companion for studiers.
- Symphony No. 35, The Haffner Symphony by Mozart. Mozart does make you smarter, and this classical music piece proves it.
- Well-Tempered Clavier by Bach. Bach composed this piece "for the profit and use of musical youth desirous of learning, and especially for the pastime of those already skilled in this study.”
For a playlist of these gorgeous classical music songs to help you concentrate, click below: