I don’t know how you guys study while listening to music. Actually, let me clarify – I don’t know how you guys listen to music that has lyrics and singing while you study or write an assignment. Maybe it’s just me, but I find myself compelled to sing (not that I’m any good), and find it difficult to draft up my ideas and to read while a slew of words assault my noggin from both sides.
I don’t have that sort of discipline, but a lot of you do. I only know this because I can hear your music most of the time. Don’t worry, I’m not complaining, it’s just the only evidence that I’ve got other than from my friends who also were privy to the same practice during my tenure at Ryerson and as a high school student.
But I’m hoping that there are others out there who are like me, who find this practice foreign and who often work in either complete silence or amidst more relaxing musical fare that inspires focus without the use of lyrical lingo. With that said, I’ve drafted up a list of albums and songs that I have found particularly useful in my studies and work – be it writing an essay, an article for Arthur (this one included) or my screenplays.
The only flaw in my list is that, given my background and affection for film, most – if not all – of my selections are either movie soundtracks or a single track from one. Nonetheless, I hope these are to your liking. If anything, it will also make you want to watch movies, which I can deal with.
Some of the items on this list are offered for free, and some aren’t. It may be futile, but it is my hope that, should you enjoy sampling these albums and tracks, you will be compelled to support the artists and their passionate work.
Jurassic Park Theme (1000 per cent Slower)
This has been a recent favourite and go-to for me. Forgetting that Jurassic Park (1993) is one of my favourite films of all time, this modified track by experimental artist “birdfeeder” inspires focus and tranquility. You may recognize hints from this tune that most can whistle to from memory, but most of this track feels foreign in comparison to the original, not to mention it has a respectable runtime of just under an hour.
Here’s my tip for this piece: Try a writing or study sprint. Decide on the task or the project you’d like to complete and for one hour, put all distractions aside, find a good pair of headphones, play this tune and hustle like you’ve never hustled before. I assure you that you’ll get a lot more done than you could have ever imagined.
Star Trek – Michael Giacchino
Yes, this is an action film, and some of the tracks are a little bit too exciting for a relaxing study session, but there are some incredibly strong tracks here that could certainly be added to a movie soundtrack playlist. “Labor of Love” is a particularly strong and beautiful tune, as well as “That New Car Smell”.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) – John Williams
Really all of John Williams’s work should be listed here. He’s the man behind Jaws, E.T., Harry Potter, and Jurassic Park. And that’s just a small portion of his resume. A few songs that stand our here are “Scavenger,” “Rey’s Theme,” “Rey Meets BB-8,” “Finn’s Confession,” and “Han and Leia.”
In fact, the whole album is brilliant, but these are the calmer songs that won’t surprise you with sudden bursts of energy. If anything, these tracks will inspire the dreamer in you.
Interstellar – Hans Zimmer
What’s more calming than the vast abyss of outer space? You know Zimmer’s work from Christopher Nolan’s other films, as well as the newest Sherlock Holmes blockbusters, but this score is his strongest.
Don’t expect any sci-fi sounds here; this is human storytelling in musical form. “Dreaming of the Crash” builds a wonderful soundscape, “Day One” will put a kick in your step, and “Message from Home” will bring you back down to Earth. The Social Network – Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
If you’re looking for something more upbeat, leave it to the former Nine Inch Nails front-man to create an unusual sound that will surely tickle your fancy. I’d recommend this album in its entirety despite its differing energy throughout.
And here’s one last freebie to wrap it all up. If you’re not into music at all, then perhaps A Soft Murmur is for you. The website offers a slew of soundscapes from rain, to thunder, a coffee shop or even white noise. What’s great is you can combine each of the sounds together and play with their levels to create a mix that functions for you. My choice is often a combo of rain, thunder and wind.
Check it out at : www.asoftmurmur.com