The sound of studying

By Alex Fiore

Chances are, you’ve got some work to do the next two weeks. A lot of work.

If you’re anything like me, studying or writing a paper in silence is an exercise in both torture and futility. For whatever reason, my brain needs auditory stimulation to increase productivity.

In that event, you’re going to need some good music to listen to while studying. What makes a good study album? In my opinion, the album should be calming and non-repetitive (and instrumentals are always preferred.)

Allow me to present the four albums you should listen to while studying, all of which are available on Spotify if you don’t own them.

4. The Arcade Fire – Funeral

The debut of Canadian wunderkind Will Butler’s brainchild, this album is a modern-day masterpiece filled with catchy hooks, gut-wrenching strings, horns and piano. The lyrics tell a story of loneliness and despair (which is how you’ll probably feel while studying for that economics final) before the clouds part in beautiful tragedy. Let Butler & Co. soothe you while you put off that paper until the last possible second.

Standout track: “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)”

3. Miles Davis – Kind of Blue

Though it’s short (only five tracks), Kind of Blue is widely considered one of the seminal jazz albums of all time. The album introduced “cool” jazz to a mainstream audience upon its release in 1959 and is filled with 45 minutes of beautiful instrumental tracks. Let this album take you to a comfort zone where the words on your research paper flow as smoothly as Davis’ improvised trumpet solos.

Standout track: “Freddie Freeloader”

2. Punch Brothers – Who’s Feeling Young Now?

The third album from progressive bluegrass band Punch Brothers is a standout piece of art and a fantastic study aid: the album has a perfect mix of instrumental tracks and haunting vocals being performed by expert musicians. The group only has five members, but the endless combination of violin, mandolin and banjo strings sounds like its being performed by an orchestra. This is the album you put on after your second Red Bull, when its study crunch time.

Standout track: “Who’s Feeling Young Now?”

1. Frédéric Chopin – Chopin

Scientific evidence shows that playing classical music for young children increases their IQ*. You trust science, don’t you? Listening to this 19th century composer’s complex piano compositions will, at the very least, make you feel smart, and sometimes that’s good enough.

Standout track: “Waltz No. 1 in E Flat Major, Op. 18”

*The Northern Star does not make the claim that listening to classical music makes your baby smart.