What to put on your exam playlist

What kind of music should you listen to while studying? It is not an easy question to answer, mostly because it does not necessarily mean one type of music over another, but more or less deals with the person you are and what experiences you have. Are you male or female? What kind of music did you listen to while growing up? What musical experiences do you have? Where are you from? These are the questions to be asking in terms of what kind of music you should be listening to while studying.

“One of the greatest things about music is that it is a personal topic for everybody,” Dr. John Vitale explains. Vitale is a music professor at Nipissing University. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder while music is in the ear of the beholder. What works for me in terms of what I like to study with may not work for you.”

In general, there are music recommendations that could potentially benefit studying. Classical music is known to be one of the most harmonious and peaceful types of music to listen to, especially while working on math and sciences. Research shows that classical music promotes a lot of brain simulation.

Vilate explains, “If you’re listening to Mozart or classical music, it can actually help the neurones in the brain connect a bit better [and] a bit faster, which can help you answer questions in a little bit more detail and better.”

Now, close your eyes and imagine yourself on the beach. The waves are crashing against the shore, the wind is blowing through your hair and birds are chirping in the distance. Are you relaxed? Listening to nature generally allows you to go into a meditative state that gives you the opportunity to gain better clarity and it gives you motivation to achieve your goals. Music that is easy to meditate to allows for deeper thinking.  Depending on what subject you are studying, having nature sounds in the background could highly benefit your thinking.

Listening to music with lyrics is also an option although sometimes it is not as efficient. “I would suggest music that is easily understandable, like Frank Sinatra, for example. He has a calm, soothing voice and you can clearly understand what he is saying, opposed to heavy metal (music) where there is a bit more screaming involved,” Vitale explains. “You’re not really understanding what the person is saying, so subconsciously you tune into that music a little bit more to try and understand what they are saying, which takes focus away from your studying.”

In order to keep your brain from wandering away from your notes, listening to songs your brain is familiar with is a suitable choice since the music you are comfortable with, whether it be classical, pop, country or rock, will become background music. This could allow you to study more effectively, as opposed to listening to music you are not familiar with.

Below is a playlist of mixed songs for everyone. What style suits you?

Classical Suggestions:
  1. Postcards From the Sky by Marjan Mozetich
  2. Piano Concerto No. 21 Mozart
  3. 2nd Movement of Beethoven Sonata Pathetique
  4. Chopin piano prelude No. 15
  5. Comptine D’un Autre ete by Yann Tiersen
Nature Sounds:
  1. Ocean Waves
  2. Spring Rain
  3. Rainforest
Lyrical Suggestions:
  1. Pumped up Kicks by Foster the People
  2. Mirrors by Justin Timberlake
  3. We Can’t Stop by Miley Cyrus
  4. Roar (Acoustic Cover) by Tyler Ward and Two Worlds
  5. Royals by Lorde
  6. Sure Be Cool If You Did by Blake Shelton
  7. The Way You Look Tonight by Frank Sinatra



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