So revision in itself can be boring – that’s a given. But it doesn’t have to be stone cold silence, sitting at a desk and reading notes. Once you’ve made your way through the detailed and harder parts, it can be nice to play some background music to get those cognitive juices flowing. And I get it – listening to music, whilst studying, is not for everyone. I, myself, tend not to do it too much, however, I do, every now and then, like to play some music whilst I go over some cases or pen some past paper answers. Apple Music provides a great platform to listen and share music on, in an easy to use interface with a great student price. Thus I thought it would be a good idea to share some of my favourite albums to study to.
Paul Thomas Saunders
I find the music of Paul Thomas Saunders so unique. On the face of it, it seems to be something you could never study to. It’s a combination of guitars and synths, paired with loud, strong, sombre and sullen vocals. It seems like everything that would distract you, yet it’s the opposite. His album is filled with beautiful tunes that stay subliminal – these delicate and melancholy songs that remind you of rolling deserts, fading skies and glorious summers playing the background. I find it the perfect sort of music to listen to whilst studying in Starbucks; loud and strong enough to feel right, but calm and soft enough to counteract the bustling world around you and allow focus on the work. His album, Beautiful Desolation is definitely one to check out.
Beautiful Desolation: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/beautiful-desolation/id801687405
Harry Potter Movie Soundtracks
These are classics by now and recognized by almost everyone – yet we completely take these familiar tunes for granted. Behind the magical and wonderful world of Harry Potter, are a set of masterfully composed tunes that are, in fact, wonderful to work to. This instrumental and classical nature of the compositions makes them ideal for studying, and because they’ve been mastered for movies, it means they are subdued and underlying, thus meaning they will not distract you at all. I personally love studying to these during the autumn and winter periods, not only because they are nostalgic and beautiful, but also because you get to relive the whole 8 movies through the music whilst you work. I like to listen to the soundtracks for all eight films chronologically whilst working. Whilst Apple Music does have the albums for each film in its library, I have made a playlist of all eight soundtracks, in the correct order, which is linked below.
Harry Potter 8 Film Soundtrack: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/playlist/%CF%9F-9/idpl.3d79c908e4074349b3c21cc460548ac2
Anoushka Shankar / Hindustani
For me, this is more of a personal taste, but I find classical Indian music, or ‘Hindustani’ music, with a strong presence of Carnatic instruments to be some of the most beautiful and soothing music ever, and the most perfect music to study to. Very rarely does this type of music involve any vocals and when they do, it’s usually void of words. This type of music is soulful and deep, calming and soothing, whilst, naturally, being laden with heavy south Asian influence. I, personally, adore this type of music and love to study to it, but you just have to be careful you don’t fall asleep. Anoushka Shankar is one of my favourite artists in this genre, not only because of her incredible mastery of the Sitar but also because she’s taken this ancient genre and weaved it with contemporary musical trends. Apple Music has curated a great playlist of her pieces that I’ve linked below. Apple Music also has a multitude of wonderful Hindustani music playlists which I’ve also linked below, and if you find yourself liking this genre you can follow ‘Apple Music Indian Classical’ on Apple Music Connect.
Anoushka Shankar Essentials: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/playlist/anoushka-shankar-essentials/idpl.28b3fff86e4a4218b7d1f6c57fa38f70
Rainy Afternoons with Indian Classical: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/playlist/rainy-afternoons-with-indian-classical/idpl.61dd065aeaad4f1ab43e2ff2bc81bfc1
Hindustani Classical Music for Diwali: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/playlist/hindustani-classical-music-for-diwali/idpl.2dbcdb6b3eb747f296dc5570ef1a03c5
Indian classical for studying: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/playlist/indian-classical-for-studying/idpl.fc099424cbb648fbb30045a1286ad7d0
Oh Wonder are a great artist duo – their songs are almost made for studying. Soothing and minimal, they take catchy beats and meaningful lyrics but really break the music down to simple instrumentals and their pure voices, making for some wonderfully calm and soothing songs to work away too. Both of their albums are great to study with.
Oh Wonder: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/oh-wonder/id1008891895
The XX is really a marmite kind of artist – you either like them or you don’t. It’s almost like Oh Wonder, but even more stripped down and minimal, with basic vocals and an alternative yet simple arrangements of instruments. The chilled nature and vibe of the music, with the soft vocals and deep lyrics, make this a wonder to study to. I found, that with The XX, their music grew on me over time and has now found its place in my studying and focus playlists, more than my leisure listening playlists.
I See You: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/i-see-you-deluxe/id1247684994
So these are just a few of my favourite artists to study to, and I’ve actually curated my own study playlist, titled ‘Focus’ which you can check out on Apple Music here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/playlist/%EF%BD%86%EF%BD%8F%EF%BD%83%EF%BD%95%EF%BD%93/idpl.41f9277e0c1d4c33bfe32477f3ed45f9
And if the music above isn’t quite for you, you’ll be sure to find something on Apple Music that you like to work to – their library has over 40 million songs and is growing every day. The service itself curates tons of study playlists, spanning different genres and tastes, and you’ll be certain to find something for you.
You can sign up for Apple Music today from any Apple device or iTunes, for a special student price of only £4.99 a month. Just link your Apple Music account and Unidays account to activate the discount.