Friday, January 24, 2014

Plot Playlists: Get Down and Study-Udy-Udy

(And why yes, I really did just dub this post after an episode of Hannah Montana.) 

So, it's now the end of the third week of school, and assignments are starting to pick up. I've got my first midterm on Monday, and I'm already falling behind in my demanding Informatics class, so despite my excitement over the arrival of the weekend - seriously, for a four day school week, it sure felt like running a marathon - these next two days are going to be jam-packed with some serious nose-to-textbook action.

However, it's one thing to say "I'm going to study for the next couple of hours," and quite another to actually studying. I've got my own working system of study set-up (I'll probably spell it out in a post for you around Finals season, so look forward to that!), but despite my own preferences, I feel like the one thing that everyone needs to actually commit to studying for a long duration of time is some appropriate study jams. 

Here are the study jam rules (as according to me): 

1. Must be instrumental. 

This is a bit of a hotly debated topic: some research shows that listening to music while studying impedes the learning process due to the intrusion of outside stimulus, while others have proven that it assists in cognitive recall. However, we can examine this issue easily ourselves... isn't it just harder to write an English essay when you've got Eminem yelling inside your ears? No words, no problem, but still all the benefit of good music. 

2. Must be appropriate for accompanying study material. 

Research shows that classical music - operating at around 70 beats per minute - effectively stimulates that specific form of information processing, while English or Arts studying requires something a bit faster, like a 90-100 pop-or-hip-hop beat pattern. While I don't think you necessarily need to match your study materials exactly with which beat pattern would suit it best, still, isn't it nice to know?

3. Must make it interesting. 

There's only so much Mozart you can take. Switch up your music every once in a while to keep it fresh, or find/make playlists that are made up of music you already love. If I had a dollar for every time I've listened to the Disneyland Park Soundtrack while I've been studying, I could probably afford an actual trip to the park. Disney is what I like, so I'm motivated to study, because I get to listen to some really good music.

SO, without further ado, here are some of my favorite study mixes, easily available on 8Tracks: 

 For the intellectual bad-ass who has a history paper due within 24 hours, there's "Move," by RekindleTheLight, a compendium of the instrumental tracks for popular rap, hip hop, and R&B hits from recent years, perfect to get you into the study groove. The high beat count will help with keeping your writing pace lively, and the energy of the music will help sustain your all-nighter until the paper is finished.
 For the English major looking for a bit of background music to keep her reading responses short and sweet, there's "Fly Away" by LadyKrona, a poppy, bright set of backtracks to some of today's hottest radio hits. Covers covering The Killers to Skrilex to Maroon 5, with mostly acoustic versions without any words to impede your own flow, and an up-tempo beat to keep you flipping pages until you're done.
 For the math and science majors who can't seem to do their homework without imagining themselves to be holding the fate of the Universe in their hands (here's looking at you, Physics and  Astonomy people), there's "Biodigital Jazz Man" by JamesSteward, a dramatic and down-tempo playlist of Tron Legacy remixes to keep you calculating far into the future, with all the drama you need. (Note: the soundtracks to the Assassin's Creed games work really well here, too!)
For the foreign language stud whose translations need a little inspiration, try these jaunty instrumentals, in "Le Fabuleux Destin D'Amelie Poulain," which is essentially just the soundtrack to the Academy Award-winning film Amelie (coincidentally, my favorite film!). I can't say it'll help you with your Mandarin, but it's a fun set of up-tempo tunes, and you Latin-rooters have definitely got a couple of good tunes in this one, right?

What's your favorite kind of music to study to?

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