Music to Study To

Written by: Billie Clark

I know that different people need different things in order to focus and work—some need quiet, some need a lack of distractions, some need a certain pair of comfy socks. I need music.

I learned in high school that the best way for me to get into the groove of my Grade 11 Functions homework was to put on my copy of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Something about the movie created enough background noise for me to work, without distracting me to the point where I stopped working. And since then, I’ve figured out that I work best to certain levels and kinds of noise.

For studying, I like upbeat pop music—the kind that’s really easy to sing along to. It helps me relax, and I can tune it out when I need to. I also like to listen to late-90s/early 2000s pop-punk when I’m studying: they are fun and easy to sing, and the angst resonates when I’m in the throes of study-ennui.

With essay writing, I need a completely different style of music all together: acoustic covers and easy-listening. I have an entire Spotify playlist that I use when I’m writing essays, or doing my accounting homework. It has my go-to tracks on it, including this fantastic cover of “Billie Jean” performed by the Civil Wars that starts off my every essay-writing session!

Sometimes, I need other types of music to motivate me. In those instances I rely on film scores, or soundtracks from musicals. I like having familiar melodies in the background, because it keeps me comfortable and helps me to concentrate.

The other great way for me to concentrate is to listen to the same song on repeat. I tend to go for “Gold” by Chet Faker (and the Flume re-work of the song) or “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes to constantly repeat; although I once repeated “Downtown” by Macklemore, with great success. Sometimes, I repeat entire albums while working—usually Fall Out Boy or Florence and the Machine.

Music is what keeps me going during the busy periods of final projects, essay deadlines, and exams. I don’t drink coffee, but I do have headphones!

If you need some inspiration, 8-tracks, Youtube, and Spotify are full of possible playlists, ready for you and your studying needs!

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