To music or not to music

Study is never fun. Sure, it can be rewarding, and it’s great when you finally get those marks back (months later) and you’ve scored well.

Assuming you haven’t spent the semester lovingly crafting a beaut set of Nexus-worthy notes, if you’re just ‘hitting the books’ for the first time the sheer enormity of the task at hand can be overwhelming. Motivation is hard to come by, and boredom comes as easily as a big piss after a long day at the races.

For many people, music can make all of this seem bearable, and you can find yourself ‘in the zone’ relatively quickly. For others, they may find themselves squarely in the ‘no distractions’ camp. I’m sure you’ve heard their Draconian rules: No music. Phone off or out of sight. Nothing to play with above (or underneath) the desk.

For something that is such an individual yet inconsequential choice, it’s amusing how much the debate over whether to music or not to music divides opinion. After all, as far as importance goes it’s hardly in the league of climate change scepticism or Israeli/Palestian conflict.

I personally am a music person. If I had been forced to sit in silence to study throughout my education I would have been even more disappointing to my parents than I turned out to be. I am easily distracted, have a mid-length attention span* and am a certified expert in the craft of procrastination. (*This doesn’t mean that I was automatically diagnosed with ADHD and fed pills from a young age, as seems to be fashionable amongst parents these days).

You’re probably thinking to yourself, that music sounds like it would have been a terrible study aid for me, and in some ways you’re correct. Anything with too many lyrics was a huge distraction, albeit a welcome one. So I’d listen to commercial music whilst I studied, and whilst I wasn’t overly productive I was much more content ‘studying’ than would have otherwise been the case.

Then I got hooked on ‘instrumentals’, which according to good friend Wikipedia are:

“a musical composition or recording without lyrics, or singing, although it might include some inarticulate vocal input; the music is primarily or exclusively produced by musical instruments”

Regardless, it totally revolutionised my study experience. I’m not talking classical music like Mozart or #bae-tobin. I’m talking movie instrumentals. I googled ‘best study playlist and this GEM popped up from 8tracks radio. It’s imaginatively called “ultimate study playlist” and its a ripper. 84 instrumental tracks which you’ll recognise from all sorts of movies. LOTR, Scissorhands, Pirates etc etc – just trust me, this playlist is the bomb. It keeps the boredom away and allows me to stay sane whilst still getting stuff done.

Got a different view? Leave your thoughts below.

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