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What’s on Your Study Playlist?

Research suggests that students who listen to music whilst
studying report better concentration, mood and memory.
However, some prefer the defining silence of the library and the
scuffles of students doing the walk of shame after failing to find
a free desk. If you’re anything like me, you absolutely must
have something playing while you study or the words on your
screen (or paper) might as well be scribbles. I’ve always
wondered why this was the case, surely having a constant
background noise would be distracting? But alas, I owe my
degree to my Spotify Premium and YouTube Premium
subscriptions.

One psychological study from Suomen Akatemia (Academy of
Finland) found that when listening to music, practically every
part of the brain lights up on an fMRI (functional magnetic
resonance imaging). The music stimulated large regions
of the brain outside of auditory processing areas, including
those responsible for emotions and creativity. But what does
this mean for those of us that enjoy a bop while we study?
Other studies have concluded that music leads to the release of
dopamine in the brain, making boring work that bit more
enjoyable.

Video game soundtracks are underrated. They are created with
the players’ motivation and concentration in mind, making them
the perfect music for your study sessions as they allow you to
focus on your work without being distracted. If you’re a lo-fi fan,
I’d recommend trying out the Animal Crossing OSTs because
they’re laid-back and are perfect for everyday studying like
reading and re-writing notes. If you’re in the last few hours
before a 2500-word assignment is due, there’s a 10-hour loop
of Mario Kart Wii’s Coconut Mall that works better than any
cheat code. Its fast-paced tempo and the urgency it conveys
motivates you to get work done, but its fun, bouncy sound stops
you from closing your laptop, accepting the late penalty and
pouring the last of your 4th RedBull down the drain.

A more classic tried and true study music genre is lo-fi. This
laid-back, typically lyric-less, style is best described as a slow-
tempo hip-hop sub-genre. There are thousands of Spotify
playlists with lo-fi tracks for every vibe, along with 24/7 streams
on YouTube if you prefer a mix. I prefer these playlists when
I’m studying out in coffee shops, as it drowns out the chatter
and sounds of the coffee grinder just enough that I can still
enjoy the main character energy of dressing up, getting my cute
little oat milk coffee and being the lone student studying in the
rainy window, but that I don’t hear every word of every
conversation happening around me.

Finally, for podcast lovers, I implore you to try the iceberg trend
on YouTube. These feature film-length videos focusing on the
rabbit hole of specific topics are perfect background chatter
when music just isn’t enough. As I’m writing this, I’m listening to
a three-hour Nintendo Iceberg. I have taken in no information
other than that Ray-Man was rumoured to be in Brawl and that I
have discovered a new way to force my brain to focus on my
work.

Audio Book Concept (for iStock)” by dalydose is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.