Study playlists to help you through your finals week
It’s that time of the year again. In the next two weeks, you’re looking at three papers, two group projects, four exams and a cure for cancer due. As we contemplate the daunting amount of work between us and a nice long winter break, any ways to avoid procrastination are valuable. If you’re like me and can’t stand to do work in silence, here are some suggestions for the soundtrack to your finals success:
There is nothing better than typing your thesis statement as “Hedwig’s Theme” swells in the background. The only comparison is finally finishing the paper to the deep bass of the “Dark Knight” soundtrack. Listening to movie music is perfect: most are instrumental, many are epic and inspiring and it reminds you of which films you want to re-watch over break.
Spotify Recommendation: “Movie Scores Study” by Haley Stewart (21 hours)
My favorite era of music. Sometimes you just need to hear “Build Me Up Buttercup” right after “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” to push through that last hour of biology term memorization. The ’60s classics tend to be big-band, high chorus, Frankie Valli-type bops that will keep you out of a study slump. They also tend to be very fun to sing along to if you’re looking for a break. Make sure the Beach Boys, Sam Cooke and the Hollies make it on there somewhere.
Spotify Recommendation: “’60s Classics” by Andrew Jamieson (26 hours)
The old standard—play Mozart to maximize your study potential. Classical music is constantly recommended as the best music to work to, but unless you are a music major, it might be hard to name any actual compositions besides “Ode to Joy.” Make sure to find a playlist that doesn’t include Tchaikovsky or Mahler, as they tend to have loud, intense works (and sometimes actual cannon fire) that don’t exactly fit the mood.
Spotify Recommendation: “Relaxing Classical” by Filtr UK (7 hours)
That quiet, soothing music that plays in elevators, airports and the phone when you’re on hold is also the perfect amount of noise for deep concentration studying. With no lyrics and no surprise tempo changes, you’ll be typing away that essay in utter peace. Brian Eno is the king of these types of melodies, so check out any of his albums for a good “background noise” soundtrack. I promise, the structured ambient music is going to be better than listening to the natural sounds of the Mallinckrodt Subway.
Spotify Recommendation: “Brian Eno – Ambient 1/Music for Airports” by ailsajb (5 hours)
Now hear me out—sometimes you need to be motivated instead of focused. Singing along to your favorite Disney song is a great way to get through the tedious work of filling out a bibliography or copying down vocab words. Pick your favorite movie or just throw it on shuffle for some time to re-kindle your inner child and relax during a study session. Or just keep it on a low volume in the background. Hell, play “Make a Man Out of You” at 3 a.m. during an all-nighter. Whatever helps.
Spotify Recommendation: “Disney Classics (The Best of Disney Soundtracks)” by Ann Nicole Sangrador (8 hours)
If music really isn’t your thing, but you can’t stand to study in silence, check out noisli.com. This site is amazing, and lets you create a custom mix of sounds to fill the void that is your study space. Choose from noises like wind, ocean waves, thunderstorm, fire crackling or rumbling train tracks. You can adjust the volume on individual sounds and set a timer to remind yourself to take breaks. This is a great choice for noise-blocking without the risk of distraction.
Hopefully this helps other sound studiers get through the next few weeks.
Tip: If you listened to a music playlist while studying, put it on again as you get ready to leave for the exam—it helps you recall what you were reading when you heard it. Good luck on finals and don’t forget to play “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” once you’re finally finished.