Soundtracks and Study Music…

Soundtracks and Study Music…

Music has always been pretty important to me. I can usually be found walking around campus plugged into my iPhone.  At Robarts my studying is usually aided by the rhythmic nodding of my head. When I get home on evenings, I’d quicker turn my radio on, than the t.v. (my dial stays on Jazz FM). I was sitting around chatting about favorite artists with some friends a few days ago, and someone asked if we could create a soundtrack for our lives, what artists would be on it. Everybody came up with a list that numbered probably over fifty songs. My list is comprised mainly of jazz, soul, and deep house artists. Here’s the abbreviated version:

1. Amel Larrieux. One of my all-time favorite songwriters. She always keeps it positive and uplifting…  

2. Vikter Duplaix. Deep house music fused with afro-brazillian capoeira chants??? Now that’s fresh!!!  

3. The Rebirth… jazz fusion at its best, coming out of Los Angeles… 

4. Aya… her voice has an ethereal quality to it…

5. Clara Hill… super talented. Plus, this track also features Vikter Duplaix??? A winner in my book…

6. Musinah… writes and produces her own music. Flawless…   

7. Of course I couldn’t finish this list without the incomparable Sade Adu…

This brings me to Music and The Art Of Schoolwork… Different people study in different ways. Some need dead silence, and others prefer a little background noise. For me, it tends to switch back and forth, depending upon the specific task that I’m performing at the time.  If I’m writing an essay, I usually need quiet as I gather my thoughts and put them to paper. But if I’m doing a chapter or article reading, I find that having some music at a low level actually helps me to concentrate better on the task at hand.

That said, it can’t be just any type of music. I love hip hop, but it tends to get me a little too “hyped-up” and makes it harder for me to concentrate.  I need something that doesn’t have a lot of heavy percussion. I also love all of the artists that I listed above, but probably a little too much, which can be a little distracting. I tend not to be able to concentrate if the track contains vocals – I usually end up humming along or listening to the words instead of focusing on my text.

I’ve read that studies have been conducted on the effect of music on the body. Some scientists repeatedly played different types of music to groups of plants, to see what effect it would have on their growth. Apparently, the plants that were exposed to jazz and classical music flourished, and incredibly the plants that were exposed to rock music literally shriveled  up and died. They reasoned that it had to do with the way that the various sound waves interacted with the plants.

I’ve also read that listening to baroque music while studying has been shown to improve retention of the material being read. I admit that I had not been exposed to much baroque music before, but after hearing this I created a youtube playlist. Hey – it’s cool to try something new.

Since most of my studying on campus takes place at one of the libraries, I always leave a pair of earphones in my bag.

Also, did you know that the Faculty of Music’s library allows you to borrow items for 14 days (up to fifty items for undergrads, and 100 items for grad students). Obviously, the music is for listening to, and not for copying. It’s a great way to expose yourself to new and different types of music from across the globe.

Here are some vocal-free tracks that are on my personal study music playlist:

The Roots & Roy Ayers “Proceed”

Common “Come Close”

Goapele “Closer”

Dwele & Natasha Beddingfield “These Words”

Beethoven “Symphony Number 6”

Verdi “La Traviata”

What about you? Do you listen to music when you study? If so, tell me who some of your favorites are – I’m always on the lookout for more good music to add to my playlist!


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