How to spend your time with music: 26 things to do while listening to it

things to do while listening to music
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Mario Friscia

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26 Things to do while listening to music

Several times I was asked by my students and friends to recommend some things to do while listening to music.

Doing a Google search, I noticed that this question is actually asked by many users and, although it may seem a trivial question, I’ve found it interesting enough to write an article about it.

Did you know that when you listen to music, you produce oxytocin, the hormone of love, happiness and fulfillment?

Yes, music brings numerous benefits to our mental and physical health.

It is able to reduce stress and anxiety and can be our ally in the emotional roller coaster that distinguishes most of our days.

So, without realizing it, we often find ourselves listening to music in different contexts and who knows, maybe some of our daily choices are influenced by the kind of emotions that a song or a melody can arouse in us.

Today, however, I want to give you some suggestions about all the activities you can do while listening to music.

I will also act as a “deejay” because I’m going to propose to you some musical tracks that you might not know and that could become the perfect soundtrack for at least one of your daily tasks.

I’ll start out by proposing some activities that you already do at home and that you can do with more pleasure by listening to music and then I’ll gradually move on to things that you can also do in the open air or in other contexts.

Let’s get started!


Making love (1)

making love listening to music

Making love is an important moment and requires a certain atmosphere that (why not ?!) you can create through music.

If you are in the initial stages of the relationship with your partner, the music to look for on that occasion must surely be romantic.

This way, in addition to making a good impression, you could break the ice in the right way and the rest… will be even more satisfying.

But the plan of combining music and love is not to be limited only to the early stages of a love affair.

It can provide interesting benefits even to a well-established couple.

In this case, knowing your partner better, you can vary in the choice of music: from the romantic one you can move on to more transgressive tracks, depending on what you want to achieve.

The playlist that I propose you contains some interesting pieces, suitable both for a romantic evening and for one under the sign of transgression:




Waiting your turn (2)

background music for waiting

It can sometimes happen to experience moments of waiting, such as when you have a doctor’s appointment or you are in line at the bank or you have to wait for the bus, the subway, the train and so on.

These circumstances often generate stress or tension and, here too, an appropriate music background can make a difference.

Stress, anxiety, and worries can be alleviated by listening to music, so why don’t you do it when you’re forced to wait your turn?

This chill out lounge background is the perfect solution to sweeten the waiting moments of everyday life:




Yoga and Meditation (3 – 4)

musical background for yoga and meditation

Among the activities to perform with a good musical accompaniment we find Yoga and Meditation.

You can do them both indoor and outdoor and, in both cases, you can choose a background sound that improves your psychophysical balance.

Avoid playing Western pop music and tracks with a high BPM.

You want the music to calm you, not agitate you.

Always choose a gentle and refined musical background, for example, I listen to Indian lounge music or, even better, Hindu mantras:





Running and Work Out (5 -6)


Running or working out can be more rewarding if you get into the habit of listening to music in the meantime.

Here the main function of music is to motivate you and not make you surrender to fatigue.

The selection of background music at your disposal is huge.

Always choose tracks in a fast tempo and with a constant beat, without dips or slowing downs, in order to find the right stimulus to continue your training session.

According to a study by Dr Coastas Karageoghis, reported in his book called “Inside Sports Psychology”, listening to music while running or exercising can increase performance by up to 15%.

So why not give it a try?

These two videos contain music tracks that you can hear when you go for a run or exercise.

I’m sure they’ll give you the right adrenaline to face your work out session in the best possible way:





Embroidering (7)


The art of embroidering is another creative and traditional activity that you can do at home with the accompaniment of some good music.

Given the repetitiveness of the gestures involved in the process, I suggest you choose a heterogeneous playlist consisting of tracks very different from one another in terms of style, rhythm and tempo, so as to give variety to your sonic background.


Cooking (8)

sounds for cooking

Cooking while listening to music definitely improves your creative side.

As you already know, cooking well requires inspiration and music can certainly help you in this respect.

And if you have invited guests to dinner and you are a little anxious because you want to make a good impression, you can choose melodies that will make the meal preparation more enjoyable and help you ease the tension.

Let me suggest you the songs contained in this video. They will definitely inspire you during the cooking process:



The musical advice I can give you to welcome the guests during a lunch or dinner is different.

It is important, in this case, to allow your friends to speak and express themselves freely, so the idea of playing a playlist of energetic songs very loud doesn’t seem appropriate to the situation.

You need to play something refined, such as jazz songs, so as to recreate the elegant atmosphere of a classy restaurant where the music volume is always low.

This is the right video for you:




Studying or reading a book (9 -10)

background sounds for studying and reading

Another interesting activity to combine with music could be studying.

To study you have to maintain a good degree of concentration, which is why I suggest you put on a light instrumental background, without too many variations.

I do not recommend listening to pop songs during your study sessions, because you could end up focusing more on the words of the song than on the content of the textbook.

In addition to that, a specific song could give rise to pleasant and unpleasant memories and emotions that will surely drag your attention away from the topic you’re trying to study.

Here’s a playlist that can help you boost your focus and make you more productive while studying:



This music is also suitable for reading a book, because the background sound must accompany the meaning of the words of the text without confusing the reader with the lyrics of the song itself.

Enjoy the music!


Working (11)

working with music

Music can also accompany us at work.

I’ve found a research conducted on behalf of MusicWorks that shows how listening to music in the workplace, or while performing specific work-related tasks at home, can increase a person’s degree of attention.

Furthermore, it can positively influence the success of teamwork by enhancing the quality of the work environment, coordinating the activities of the group and helping its members better deal with fatigue.

Listening to music while you work, if done properly, can become a creative way to combine pleasure with duty and make you feel more satisfied.

On Youtube you can find several music playlists to listen to while you are at work, such as this one:




Surfing the Internet (12)

surfing the internet

More and more people spend much of their free time browsing the internet or chatting.

This is a good time to put on your headphones and listen to the playlist of your favorite songs or discover the music of some new artist.

Go to Youtube or Spotify and let yourself be guided by their musical suggestions or look for that specific album you haven’t heard yet.


Playing board games (13)

listening to music while playing board games

Music is also a good companion for playing board games with your family or friends.

Challenging others with the official background sounds of your favorite games will certainly be more fun.

There are board games, such as Cluedo, that have a soundtrack made just for them:



If a given board game also has a videogame version, you can search Youtube for the soundtrack associated with that particular game.

Take for example Monopoly, here you can find the appropriate soundtrack:




Gardening (14)

nature sounds and gardening

If you are a gardening enthusiast and live in the city, mixing this activity with a type of music that reproduces the sounds of nature can drag you into another dimension, as if you were living in the countryside.

If, on the other hand, you already live in a countryside area, you are already surrounded by music.

The sound of birds, the blowing wind, the flowing of streams and the animal noises are one of the most natural and sublime forms of music.

Spend some time listening to the natural sounds around you and you will realize that your soundscape is already perfect as it is.


Driving (15)

songs for driving

One of other things you most frequently do while listening to music is driving.

Never as in this case music can be an accomplice, since it has the power to keep you awake and active and, consequently, to reduce the possibility of falling asleep while you are behind the wheel.

However, it can also have disadvantages, especially if you are inclined to listen to music at too high a volume.

In fact, by doing so, you may not hear the sounds of the road or, even worse, you may not realize if there is something wrong with the car and, as a result, you would expose yourself more to the risk of an accident.

That said, the choice of which music to play while driving is obviously up to you and depends on your personal tastes.

My only advice is not to listen to music that is too slow or relaxing when you’re tired, just to avoid falling asleep.


Taking a rest (16)


No, it’s not a paradox…listening to music during a nap is a great thing to do.

It is a natural relaxant that slows your heart rate, lowers blood pressure and can even make your muscles relax.

In a case like this, however, it is better to opt for a musical background that does not tire the mind and that induces sleep, rather than heavy metal songs or dance tracks.

My musical suggestion for a good rest can be found below:




Housework (17)


Whether you like it or not, an activity that you just cannot avoid is housework.

Although it can be boring at times, doing housework while listening to good music, perhaps a playlist of songs you like most, can turn this inevitable duty into a pleasant and very relaxing experience.

If you think about it, they are dynamic actions: washing the dishes, dusting, doing the laundry, ironing…all definitely more fun with a bit of music, isn’t it so?

It doesn’t take much: a pair of headphones, a mobile phone, speakers or even the good old stereo and housework, suddenly, takes a different turn.

Maybe, between one thing and another, you can dance and if you share this moment with someone, it can become a good opportunity to spend time together.

In this regard, I propose you listen to this music playlist created specifically to do the housework at its best:





Taking a shower (18)

musical atmosphere for the shower

Another nice thing to do while listening to music is taking a shower.

Having a bath makes us immediately feel better and, especially in the morning, it is just a cure-all!

You just have to listen to some good music to make the shower one of the most pleasant moments of the day.

Combining the right kind of music with shower represents the top of well-being and starting or ending the day in this way will improve your mood significantly.

All the things you have to do next (whether it is good or bad) will start off on the right foot and with a positive approach.

Listening to upbeat or motivating music while taking a shower in the morning can be energizing and give you the right oomph to face the day.

If you prefer to have a shower in the evening, you can opt for lighter and more relaxing music.

The playlist that I suggest to you is perfect for this kind of moment, because in some tracks you can hear the sound of water that contributes to make the atmosphere of your evening ablutions even more peaceful and relaxing:




Painting, Coloring and Drawing (19 -20 -21)

playing music while painting

Among the many artistic and creative activities you can do while listening to music, I want to focus on painting, drawing and coloring.

Fine arts and music are disciplines that work well together:

music, in fact, can be an excellent source of inspiration for an artist, as it can dialogue with your ideas and suggest combinations of colors, emotions and shapes.

One of the main benefits of combining music and fine arts is that it allows you to spend some time on your own, nurturing your creativity.

Having a hobby like this is essential if you want to know yourself better and explore those parts of you that it’s hard to bring out in the other moments of the day.

Here is the playlist I have chosen for you:




Writing (22)


Writing can also be a valuable pastime that, combined with music, has the power of enhancing your creativity.

In my experience, I’ve noticed that writing an article with a musical background themed to the topic helps me increase the quality of my work.

Regardless of what drives you to write, you will find in music an extra motivation, a faithful ally as you seek inspiration or an improvement in mood.

And which background could be more appropriate than that of classical music?

The suggestions evoked by instrumental sounds, not accompanied by words, leads the listener to travel in the maze of his own memory, looking for those thoughts, emotions and memories that constitute the soul of any creative writing.


Walking the dog (23)

walking the dog

Walking a dog, generally, is an activity that has a short duration, because maybe we don’t have much time available and our mind has to manage several other things.

So why not make this moment more joyful by listening to good music?

Doing so could motivate you to take longer walks with your four-legged friend and would bring enormous psychophysical benefits to both you and your dog.

I invite you to listen to your favorite music at a medium volume, so you can always be alert to what happens on the street.


Playing video games (24)

video games background sounds

As you may already know, some video games (such as FIFA) give you the option to listen to music while you play.

But if you often play on your mobile and don’t like the background music provided by the App, then it’s up to you to decide what to listen to.

The music that lends itself well to this kind of activity should be lively and exciting, so as to give you the right energy to face all the challenges of the game.


Dancing (25)

dancing at home with music

To the question “what to do while listening to music” I simply answer: dancing!

Moving your body following the rhythm of the music will make you feel alive and free.

It is not necessary to go to the disco, you can do it even at home and with the people you love.

This will improve your mood and that of those around you.


Listening to music with full awareness (26)

listen to music with full awareness

We’ve come to the end of our journey through some of the most common things to do while listening to music.

As a music teacher, there’s something I need to tell you:

music can be your friend and keep you company in almost every moment of your life.

However, I think that the most valuable action you can take with the accompaniment of music is this:

focusing all of your attention and energy on the music itself, to discover its specific characteristics and appreciate the mysterious beauty that lies behind its sonic curtain, made of notes, rhythms, harmonies and silences.

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Mario Friscia

Anthropologist of sound
music teacher

“Open your doorway to music cultures and listen to the world with gentler ears”

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