Fordham Five: Study Music Artists

justin-vernon-grammys11As college students, we like to think that we spend a lot of time studying. Some of us like to study in silence, with no outside distractions or noises. Some of us like to study outside on the grass or a quiet bench, enjoying the sights and sounds of nature. And some of us—myself included—like to study while listening to music. Now, it can’t just be any music. It has to be the right music—something that puts you at ease and helps you focus on your work.

For your pleasure, I have compiled my five favorite artists to study to. This is a list for everyone to experiment with. To those of you who enjoy listening to music while studying, I urge you to give these artists a chance, if you haven’t already. And for those of you who prefer to study in silence, I urge you to try something new! Give one of these guys a shot—if only for 10 minutes. If you don’t like it, no harm done! Whether you like it or not, music can be the perfect antidote for the frustrations of studying—especially during midterms or finals. So, without further adieu…

(All of these artists can be found on Spotify and iTunes).

5.) Sigur Rós: This Icelandic rock band incorporates classical music influences with rock-based elements to produce a soothing sensation while studying. Their soft vocals and smooth, gentle melodies provide a serene feeling that calms the nerves and soothes any worries you might have. There is a certain sense of tranquility that is felt while listening to Sigur Rós that you can’t really feel with anyone else. Often times, I feel as though I’m hovering over my body while listening to them. Weird, but true. Take a listen for yourself…

4.) Stars of the Lid: This Texas-based band, which Wikipedia describes as a “drone-based ambient music duo,” relies on dynamic, mood-changing rhythms for its calming tone. As opposed to some of Sigur Rós’s songs, all of Stars of the Lid’s songs are entirely instrumental, which keeps the mind focused on the tranquility of the music rather than the meaning behind the lyrics.

3.) John Coltrane: Truthfully, any jazz musician (specifically from the 50s or 60s) would do. But Coltrane’s saxophone is just too smooth to pass over. His sax accompanied by a deep base guitar and soft piano creates the perfect study atmosphere. The steady tempo of the drummer in the background while Coltrane harmoniously improvises on his alto sax keeps the subconscious mind occupied, which helps you fight those pesky day-dreams that creep into your head and divert your attention from your studies.

2.) Explosions in the Sky: Another Texas-based instrumental rock band, Explosions in the Sky gets the mind firing on all cylinders with their long, epic narratives. Their songs usually start with a slow, melodic intro that transitions into a fast-paced, emotional action and climax before slowing back down towards the end. There are so many instruments and so many sounds involved in each song that it keeps you engaged, keeps your thoughts running, and keeps your mind active and alert. (You may have heard their music in both the television and film versions of “Friday Night Lights.”)

1.) Bon Iver: The average college student has probably heard of Bon Iver. They are the Grammy-winning indie folk band headed by talented front man Justin Vernon. They gained worldwide fame when they were featured on Kanye West’s 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and they have since taken off. Bon Iver’s quiet, reserved tone and falsetto vocals allow for an escape into the wilderness of the mind. (Vernon retreated to a cabin in Wisconsin for four snowy months to write his second album For Emma, Forever Ago.) Bon Iver’s music seems to be intended solely for the fall and winter months, which is ideal for first semester studies. Their music is truly something that you must experience for yourself in order to get the full effect…

Happy studying!

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