What Song Pumps You Up . . . for Studying?

Music Post pic

Music is powerful.  It can evoke memories or change your mood. The right song can even transform your entire outlook for the day.  There are always those songs that mean a lot to us and that have to be played when you’re starting your workout at the gym, setting the mood for a date, pre-partying in your apartment, or hopping onto the highway for a long road trip.

But my question for all of you is do you have a song that can help you create that laser focus necessary to hit the books?  I think that people really fall into two camps on this issue – “definitely yes, I can’t even begin to focus without music,” or “no way at all, no no no, how could you possibly think that is helpful. no.”

Well, to each their own.  I can see music being a distraction for some. You love your taste in music so much that you’re pulled into a song and ten minutes into studying you realize that you’re using your T&E textbook as a drum and your extra tall coffee is a decent faux microphone.  For you, the rest of this post may be wasted.  Please put in your earplugs and continue your studies – I’m officially jealous of your ability to focus.

For the rest of us, music is a necessity.  Doesn’t matter what your taste in tunes may be, but I bet there is something that you like to listen to while studying.  I think this group can also be split in two – those who prefer music with words and those who prefer instrumental.  Some people can work with any type of music.  It just needs to be their favorite band, or something with the right tempo to keep the eyes going from left to right across the page.  I was more open to this before law school, and would always be humming along to some indie or alt rock while plowing through my poli sci work.  However, that changed to jazz with law school along with the need to comprehend what I was reading becoming slightly more important . . . not that I wasn’t a totally focused college student. I swear.

Anyhow, especially for the 1L’s who are still in the process of adjusting to the demands of law school finals, the end of the year is here.  Is music going to help or hurt you in these last days of studying?  That’s your call but I’m here to suggest a few tunes that may help.  I could write a huge list of songs to add to your next playlist.  However, here are just a few of my favorites from my studying days – and since these were songs I studied to, welcome back to the last century.  🙂

For those who don’t mind vocals while studying:

G Love and Special Sauce – Steppin’ Stone
Guster – Happier
Sublime – What I Got
Weezer – Buddy Holly
Beck – The New Pollution

Those strict on instruments only:

Jack McDuff – Butter (for yo popcorn)
Jimmy Smith – The Champ
Bela Fleck and the Flecktones – The Sinister Minister
John Coltrane – Giant Steps
Yellowjackets – Runferyerlife

Best of luck with exams, and keep the sing-along’s to at-home studying, Josh

p.s. – Please feel free to share your own favorite songs for studying.


lmi pumps posted on May 4, 2011 at 9:21 PM

When I study, I like listening soft music. I think it can make me peace and comfortable…

I like music, I like your article as well. It’s very useful.

Thank you

dlinhart posted on May 9, 2011 at 1:33 PM

I have a playlist in itunes called Study Music. In theory it is music to study to, but more often it is a reason to surf the itunes music store while I’m supposed to be studying, in preparation for studying, to find good study music. Then when I find something on point, it takes a few listens at full attention before it can be used as background music, otherwise I will be distracted by it, so really the playlist should be titled Commuting Music Selected While I’m Supposed To Be Studying.

If I open this playlist to study and it turns out I’ve heard the music enough for it to actually become background music, I’m ready for new stuff and I start surfing. Once, though, I had a notable study session to Vince Guaraldi and Bola Sete’s From All Sides followed by an epic Yabby You anthology.

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