10 Tips for Using Background Music to Enhance Your Programming Work

You know that feeling when you’re listening to a song and suddenly something clicks? You can’t explain it, but you immediately start to feel it. Maybe it’s the way the percussion hits you right in the solar plexus or maybe it’s just that you recognize that familiar melody and want to find out what else it will lead you to. Whatever the reason, there’s something about a great song that instantly lifts your mood and makes your day better. Unfortunately, not everyone has that kind of natural musical talent. Fortunately, we all have brains and can use them to solve problems! Programming is no different than any other creative outlet in the fact that music helps to bring your work to life. The right background music can help keep you motivated, upbeat, and excited about programming instead of drudgery. To get the most out of using background music as part of your programming routine, follow these simple tips:

Make sure your music is motivating

Before you hit play on your music player, take a moment to think about how you want to feel while programming. Are you anxious? Excited? Nervous? Are you in the right headspace for programming? If you’re feeling anxious, you may be wasting your time. If you’re feeling excited, you’ll probably be more productive. If you’re in a "feeling blue" phase, you may just need a break to get your head straight. What you're looking for here is motivation. The right music will get you excited about programming and energized to push yourself harder during your session.

Pick a beat you like

The biggest mistake people make when using background music is choosing a song that doesn’t match their mood. Try to select a mood-appropriate music that matches the feeling you want to evoke when you’re programming. You may be inspired by a certain type of music that helps you get into a certain headspace. It could be a certain genre that helps you relax or get pumped up. If you’re trying to create a certain type of mood, you may be better off selecting a certain type of music. Keep in mind that you don’t want to use the same song over and over again. If you’re trying to create a certain type of mood, you may be better off alternating between songs that help to evoke that mood.

Use music that’s upbeat and catchy

People respond to catchy music much better than they do to ambient music. You want your music to get into your head and stay there, so choose something that’s catchy, upbeat, and makes you want to hum along. You may want to use music with lyrics, or you may want to use instrumental music. If you want to use lyrics, make sure the lyrics you pick go along with the programming you’re doing. If you’re working on a problem about robots, you probably don’t want to use music with lyrics like “Robot.”

Don’t use the same song every day

I don’t care if it’s your favourite song, you need to mix it up. If you use the same song every day, you’ll start getting into a groove and lose your motivation to push yourself harder. Once you start to get into a groove, it’s difficult to get out of it. The best way to combat this issue is to pick a new song and start over. Make sure you don’t pick the same song over and over again. The same song may work well for one type of programming (e.g. music for drawing tutorials), but it may be totally inappropriate for another type of programming (e.g. music for a problem about robots).

Take a break between songs

If you’ve been using the same song every day, take a break between songs. If you haven’t changed your song during your break, try again and pick a new song to use. You don’t have to pick a new song right away; you can pick a new song once you’re back to using the same one. Once you’re back to using the same song, pick a new song to use when you’re back to feeling bored and jaded with your song.


When you’re programming, you want to be able to block out all distractions and immerse yourself in your work. Background music can help with this by keeping you motivated, pumping you up, and providing a soundtrack for your coding sessions. If you don’t have any music playing during your programming session, you’re more likely to be distracted by other sounds in your environment. If you’re programming in your study, for example, you may be distracted by your roommate’s music, the TV, or other people in the room. Background music can be a great way to stay focused when programming. Before you get started, make sure you pick some music you like and that you’re feeling motivated by. Then, make sure you follow these tips to use it wisely and get the most out of your music.