By Corey Tucker – A&E Editor
Anytime I have to do any work that requires my absolute attention I listen to Chopin’s Complete Nocturnes played by Brigitte Engerer. The nearly two-hour YouTube video is soothing and blocks out all surrounding noise when I have my headphones on.
Whenever I’m studying, writing or cleaning, I like to listen to The Weeknd to relax but also stay focused. I also enjoy listening to the Spotify playlists “Coffeehouse Blues” and “Jazzy Romance.”
Like most students, I have done tons of studying since starting classes again. It didn’t take long for me to get annoyed with the sidetracking silence while sitting in my room staring at a computer screen. On the contrary, focus was hard to maintain if I could hear talking or any sort of background noises. Consequently, I decided to fight noise, or a lack thereof, with noise. So I started to listen to music during study time.
What I learned not to do
When I first tried studying with music, I was studying for a test in my advertising class. This was just memorizing a bunch of key concepts. I figured I would listen to an artist that was calming, so I listened to a band called Death Cab for Cutie and their album “Plans.”
This album is full of fantastically soothing songs from beginning to end. Unfortunately, I found myself singing along and not absorbing any of the material. My mind was more focused on the lyrics in the songs and not enough on the words in the book. After realizing this, I explored options for non-lyrical music that I could use while studying or reading. The following is some of the best tunes I have found.
Beethoven’s “5th symphony” (Research)
I know this is cliché, but it is cliché for a reason, because it works. This is one of my favorite musical pieces to listen to while I do research for a paper. To me, the music acts as a cognitive barrier that does not let my thoughts wander too far away from the task at hand. If I’m in complete silence while studying it is very easy for my mind to wander, but with symphony music playing, my mind stays slightly focused on the music making it harder for my mind to wander.
Philip Glass “Metamorphosis” (Reading)
If you like the sound of a piano then you’ll enjoy Philip Glass. Glass offers a very soothing and tranquil piano sound. The music on his album “Metamorphosis” encompasses the mind to help zone in and really absorb the context of the reading material. I have also found this to be great music to just relax to in general.
DJ Zen “Love Emergency” (Writing)
DJ Zen offers a variety of sound on “Love Emergency,” that is good for any genre of writing. Whether writing creatively or any other paper, Zen’s upbeat yet calming tempos will get the mind motivated to take on any writing task. Lyrics are intermittently sprinkled throughout the album, but are not evident enough to become a distraction for the writer. This is also great music for researching.