Over the years I've traded with various different forms of background music or noise, with the aim of finding that right combination that allows me to work with a positive and confident attitude and laser-like focus.

Not surprisingly, I guess, what works best tends to vary from time to time with my prevailing mood.

I've tried everything…

  • My favourite sing-along playlist – good when feeling a bit flat and needing some "pick-me-up"; accepting that it can at times distract a bit too much.
  • High energy punk and hardcore – sometimes I find that aggression is the only thing that can get me focused.
  • Binaural beats and Isochronous Tones – I can't vouch for the scientific claims, but it certainly relaxes me and I feel that focus improves.
  • Guided visualisations – again they're just brilliant for relaxation and focus.
  • Favourite webinar recordings – make sure they're repeats so you don't get distracted by any new info.
  • Motivational YouTube videos – there are tons of them. Give it a try. The intent is not to actively listen to the speech though – it's background noise only!
  • And of course silence – sometimes there is nothing better!

But more often than not over the last year my default has been ambient music.

You can find some great music via online streaming radio such as provided here: http://www.internet-radio.com/stations/ambient/. My usual preference is for AmbientRadio.org (the first on the list) and Chilltrax (about half way down the list).

But I continue to experiment.

Right now I'm also liking white noise. Try this for example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNqERBWaJeM

I'll update this page if I ever find anything new.

In the meantime, I'd love to hear what you play in the background while trading. Feel free to comment below if you have any favourites that you use to provide a positive and focused mindset.


Lance Beggs

PS. There were of course some failures as well. In particular I find that background news and TV are just too distracting. They will likely never play a part in my trading room again.

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  1. Comment made by a reader on YTC facebook:
    “I really like beta binaural beats(with headphones). Maybe it’s just a placebo effect, but I find that it helps with my focus and concentration”

  2. I am just so impressed the way you coach trading. I could not even believe that you would mention about music…. I really found easy to make profitable decisions when I have Jason Mraz singing in the background. All his songs is happy, honest, and the melody is always soothing. Thanks for being there.

    1. Hi Xanthum, Thanks! 🙂
      I’m glad you’re enjoying my writing.
      I’ve not heard of Jason Mraz so will be sure to check it out. Actually, I’ll make sure I have his music playing tomorrow while catching up on emails! Looking forward to it.
      Have a great weekend,

  3. Hi Lance,
    I concur with my fellow readers: another great article on an absolutely essential topic. There is a growing body of scientific evidence that demonstrates a critical link between the soundscape of our environment, our productivity and (perhaps most importantly) stress levels. Many of us spend so much time immersed in noisy environments that we mistakenly begin to interpret them as the norm and neglect to consider the damage they may be causing. My wife has actually studied the topic and helped to raise my awareness about the sounds I allow into my trading and study environments (and life in general!). For those who might want to learn more here’s a link to sound expert Julian Treasure’s site:http://www.thesoundagency.com/what/julians-ted-talks/ I specifically recommend his talks on the effects of sound and creating a healthy soundscape (less than nine minutes each and fascinating) . I also wanted to send along this link: http://soundeducation.tv/ to a free study app that we’ve found very useful. It was developed as a study tool to help increase active focus when working in less than optimal soundscapes (free app download is on the right hand side under Study App). I hope these resources might prove useful to the PAT community.

    1. Hi David,

      Thank you so much. That is fascinating. I highly recommend all readers take the time to watch the four TED talks.

      I had no idea of the importance of this topic when throwing together this article. I’ll be putting more thought towards ensuring an effective trading room soundscape.

      Thanks again,

  4. Hi Lance.
    On the topic of music I read lot about listening to classical music to stimulate the brain while trading. A couple of studies showed that when Mozart (for example) was listened to while learning, the students recalled a lot more of what they were being taught. If I find the link to the studies I will post it. I know a few traders that recommend it works. Cheers.

    1. Hi Matt,

      Yes absolutely right! I can’t believe I left classical music out of the list. It’s an obvious choice for many people. I’ve heard of similar studies that have demonstrated improvements in focus, awareness, decision making, creativity etc. It’s not my personal choice. For some reason I find classical music distracts me from trading. But for many people it’s an obvious music selection to try, especially if they already have an interest in that genre.

      Thanks for your comment. Much appreciated! 🙂


  5. Great topic! I too am always on the look out. Classical has helped me focus, especially Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, and of late have gravitated toward smooth jazz . Great to have some new music to try. Thanks!

    1. Hi Jay, You’re certainly not alone in a preference for Classical or Jazz while trading. I’ve come across a few traders over the years who have found the exact same thing.

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