Recently, someone asked on Instagram if I listen to music while I read and, if so, my recommendations for the best music for reading.
The truth is, it’s never even occurred to me to listen to music while I read – I barely even listen to music when I’m NOT reading (if I have listening time, I’d pick an audiobook every day of the week).
But I loved this question about reading music and I opened it up on Instagram and got so many great responses!
Most people strongly preferred music to read to that had no lyrics because it can be distracting. Many people said they don’t listen to music while they read if they’re at home or by themselves, but if they’re out in public (on a bus or in a coffee shop or around someone watching TV), they’ll turn on a reading playlist.
If you want music for reading, I hope this list gives you a good place to start!
IDEAS FOR music to listen to while reading
- Film scores. I loved this idea from a reader teacher who said, “I play film scores while students do silent reading because it encourages visualization for students who struggle with connecting with stories.” Many people said they love soundtracks from favorite films like Pride & Prejudice or Little Women or Lord of the Rings.
- Spotify Reading Playlists. Spotify has a whole bunch of instrumental reading play lists – search for “reading playlist” and you’ll get tons of good options! (I’m a fan of this “Quiet Music for Reading” playlist – I listened to it the whole time I was writing this post!).
- Liquid Mind. I’d never heard of this before I asked for what to listen to while reading but now I see why it’s so popular. This artist has lots of albums and songs that are perfect reading music. I personally love Liquid Mind IX: Lullaby.
- White Noise. Maybe this doesn’t count as music, but SO many people mentioned how much they loved white noise or ambient noise (like rain) while they read. It’s not distracting and helps you focus on your book. I use this free app which has tons of options, from all sorts of color noises (pink noise is my fave) to rain fall on a tent or waterfall sounds.
- Zoe Keating. If you want something a little less bedtime music but still not distracting, her stunning modern looping cello music is the perfect balance of dynamic and calming.
- Mood Music. One reader said, “Depends on the mood of the book! Totally affects it!” – I love this idea of picking a playlist to match the theme of the book. How fun to read a book like Rebecca with some atmospheric music or something like Meet Me in the Margins with light and upbeat music to accompany it. Spotify or Amazon Music or Apple music makes it so easy to find a playlist to fit the mood or setting you’re looking for!
- Crooners. There’s nothing quite like the soft sounds of being serenaded by a crooner – find one you love whether it’s Michael Buble or Frank Sinatra or Nat King Cole (or search “crooners” on your music platform of choice!) and listen along while you read.
- Spa Music. You know that instant calm when you walk into a spa? Good news – you can bring that feeling to your reading life with a spa music playlist. There are LOTS when you search “spa music” on Spotify or Amazon Music.
- Pop Goes Classical. This is SUCH a fun playlist on Spotify – it’s popular songs that are fully instrumental with a classical spin. It’s about 7 hours worth of music so it’ll take you a long way!
- Vitamin String Quartet. This is NOT your grandmother’s string quartet. They do covers of popular songs and lots of other songs too that are SO fun to listen to without being too distracting.
- The Piano Guys. This might have been the single most popular response for the best music for reading. Their piano music will blow you away and make your reading feel just a little more special!
- Yanni. This artist was new to me but I immediately saw the draw – perfect slightly New Age music for reading to!
Any other favorite music for reading? I’d love to hear your suggestions!