It’s the first reading week of 2019; there’s no pressure on us to go to classes for an entire week, and it’s honestly quite a refreshing time of the semester. However, this doesn’t mean we’re exempt from our studies. For me, I know that I’ll be spending a good portion of my reading week on my dissertation and preparing for upcoming assignments. That’s why it’s important to have some good study music on hand.
Listening to music while studying should ideally be different to music you would usually listen to on a leisurely basis. For instance, typically you would want to listen something with minimal vocals so that you’re not tempted to sing along. You also wouldn’t want to listen to your favourite song for that same reason; you just need something nice to have in the background. Unless you’re one of those people who doesn’t listen to music when they study. Then honestly, I can’t relate to that life- but more power to you.
YouTube is the golden library for all things study music related. Ever since my GCSEs, I have been using YouTube as my primary source for study music (and nowadays, for music in general too), so here are a few genres of music that I find quite useful to listen to.
Sure, it’s a bit of a meme, but no one’s saying that the actual music is bad. Lofi is a growing genre; it’s one that I discovered back in my first year of uni. The beats are subtle, calming and somewhat nostalgic. If you’re a night-owl, you’ll find that these ‘lo-fi hip hop – beats to study/chill/sleep/game to’ (or videos with titles like ‘hours turn into minutes when im with you’) livestreams and compilations are perfect to vibe to. But then, once you start making your way around the Lofi scene, you’ll find music suited that’s suited to any scenario. Once you enter this rabbit hole, you’ll find yourself spending into more obscure genres, (even though Lofi is still pretty obscure already) such as vaporwave, retrowave, chillwave, synthwave… the list goes on. And then you’ll discover about a million artists.
During my GCSEs, I would often listen to random piano compilations to accompany my studies. It was my first exposure to the world of YouTube study music, so naturally I found it to be quite effective. However, looking back, it was boring to listen to. There wasn’t any dynamic to it, and I only listen to it because it was ‘inspirational’. However, I soon found out that there are sub-categories within the piano-study music community. Some of my personal favourite one that I have found over the years include Disney and Studio Ghibli themed ones, and I’m sure there are plenty more out there for specific tastes of your own. It also gives you hope in humanity to know that people are able to absolutely nail some of these piano covers; so that’s an extra boost to have when you’re studying.
Film and Video Game Instrumentals:
Soundtracks in media are vastly underrated, which is even more of a reason to give them a shot. I only started to appreciate these instrumentals once I realised how good the soundtrack was from the game Undertale, and from there I spiraled down a massive rabbit hole of instrumentals from my favourites bits of media- from video games and movies alike. From Studio Ghibli, to Nintendo and Persona 5 music, the world of YouTube instrumentals opened up to me. It’s not just limited to movies and video games either- I even found a BTS version! While my examples are specific to me, since these are what I am most familiar with, I have no doubt that which ever piece of media you like, there’s bound to be a piece of music out there for you.
If you’re up for a bit of funk to accompany your work, Bossa Nova or Jazzhop is something you should try. Bossa Nova is more traditionally inclined, and is clearly inspired by Jazz music, while Jazzhop is Bossa Nova’s Lofi-branched younger sibling (here comes that Lofi rabbit hole I was talking about earlier!) It’ll give you hardcore coffee shop vibes, or alternatively it’ll make you feel really cool and charismatic. Positive vibes all around.
I hope that I have given you some ideas for your study playlist, happy listening!