Programming with Music: A Recommendation

So, if you’re a developer or are working to become one, chances are you’ve hit that “wall” where your brain doesn’t want to think anymore. Perhaps words start looking funny to you? If you’re like me, music is typically the first place I go to to help stay motivated/focused.

Now more than ever, there are specific music resources available to those “deep in the trenches of code” to better boost your concentration, energy, and productivity while you work. I’d like to share a few that I’ve found pretty neat and useful. Let’s get into it!

Noisli

As soon as you hop onto Noisli’s page, you can immediately understand why it is a popular digital space for focus. With their sleek, minimal designed interface — Noisli believes that background noise is the key to focusing. Whether it be for work, work at home or sleeping — Noisli has options to unlock your creative thinking and block out any annoying sounds to prevent your brain to be in a “focused” state.

What I found really cool with their product was the way you can mix and match different ambient noises depending on what you’re looking to do (relax/work/study). They also give you a timer if you’re looking to be really organized, and also provide a small section of their page for jotting down notes. One downside however, is the limited amount of sounds and features available free to users. To have full capability and enjoy all of their features, Noisli charges $12 a month for a pro account.

Spotify

It’s no wonder that a company known for such a strong software engineering presence and also specializes in music would be on this list!

There are tens of thousands of developers that boot-up Spotify each day to began their work, and one of the best features that Spotify offers is the ability to share playlists with one another. As expected, many developers have curated set playlists of music best suited (in their opinion) for coding. Check out two popular developer’s playlists here:

Music For Programming

By far the quirkiest but also one of the most interesting, Music For Programming is a set of episodes put together by music producer Datassette specifically designed to help you focus while programming.

These episodes are roughly an hour (some more) and are musically structured with specific qualities intended for extended periods of concentration. Some of the key music attributes include:

  • -Field recordings
    -Vagueness (Hypnagogia)
    -Textures without rhythm
    -Minor complex chords
    -Early music (Baroque, lute, harpsichord)
    -Very few drums or vocals
    -Synth arpeggios

The fun design and great music has definitely made this one a “go-to” when I’m diving into another programming session.

Brain.fm

The most scientifically backed resource of the bunch (and my current favorite) is Brain.fm. This company is built up of musicians, scientists, and engineers all with a common interest of how music effects the brain.

With their artificial intelligence engine - these music sessions (30 minutes to 2 hours long) were designed by professional musicians, then thrown into their algorithm that adjusts the frequencies and to stimulate brain activity and improve focus.

They recommend that you use high quality head phones as the music takes advantage of 3D audio to better submerse you into the experience. Brain.fm believes you feel the difference within 10 minutes of using their platform, and I totally agree. I’d like to point out that you may need to adjust the volume if the sounds becomes distracting until you find that perfect balance.

Like Noisli, Brain.fm offers a Pro version, only theirs is $7 a month. This unlocks more sounds, categories and unlimited playability time. Highly recommend!

There’s many other musical solutions while programming, and in general I enjoy listening to the radio as well to help keep focus. As a classical musician myself, I’m fascinated with how certain sounds can stimulate the brain in a way that can increase productivity and focus.

I hope you will find this as useful as I did while working on a project due soon. Leave a comment below if you have any other musical suggestions.