Tall Heights, one of the bands in the list, exemplifies the calm, serene sound perfect for focusing (Image via NPR)

The Ultimate Back-to-School Study Playlist

If you’re looking for some new tunes to pair with your late-night study sessions this semester, then check out these twenty songs.

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Tall Heights, one of the bands in the list, exemplifies the calm, serene sound perfect for focusing (Image via NPR)

If you’re looking for some new tunes to pair with your late-night study sessions this semester, then check out these twenty songs.

For college students, headphones aren’t just an accessory, they’re a necessity. Whether I’m in the car, walking around campus or doing homework, I always have music playing. Academically, I’m the type of person who is oh-so-easily distracted, so getting work done in silence has never been one of my specialties. I’ve always needed some kind of background noise to keep me focused, otherwise it takes all of five seconds for me to be off daydreaming in la la land, and accomplishing absolutely nothing.

With that being said, in regard to studying, I unfortunately have found that I can’t listen to most of my favorite songs. I always end up getting too caught up in the lyrics and singing along (horribly, I might add) instead of actually getting my homework done. We all know and love those really catchy jams that just demand to belted out whenever they’re played, but those songs really aren’t good for studying (save them for shower singing sessions, instead). So, after three years in college, I’ve finally decided to create a playlist that allows me to sit down, focus and get stuff done.

The songs that made it to my master playlist are very calm, ranging from coffee house vibes to classical music to soft background electronic beats. If I need to really focus and read, then I tend to stay away from songs with lyrics because even that can be a bit distracting when you’re reading something especially boring or difficult. As you begin to experiment with your own study music, you’ll notice that certain songs sort of just blend into the background while you pay attention to the task at hand, which is exactly what you want. However, if I’m just doing busywork or making a study guide or something, I prefer the songs with the lyrics so that I can hum and dance along with the music as a preform the tedious tasks.

There have been several studies that show the positive effects music can have on studying, attention and memorization. Meanwhile, other studies have resulted in negative effects, especially if the songs include lyrics and you need to memorize something chronologically. So perhaps there is some fancy scientific reason for why I prefer lyric-less music when I read, but ultimately, despite what any study says, it’s up to you to discover what works best with your own personal study habits.

All of the songs on my playlist can be found on Spotify, which is a free music app, unless you want a Premium membership that is. Thankfully, the premium option is only $5 for college students if you register with your university email, and then you can download songs and play them from anywhere without using any of your data (it’s totally awesome).

My collection of songs came from various other playlists and artists that I follow, such as the “Downtempo” playlist created by Alex Dahl, the “Your Favorite Coffeehouse” playlist created by Spotify and through my Discover Weekly. These songs are simply a list I made of my own personal preference, but it really helps me to study and do homework, so hopefully it can help you too. So, finally, here is the Ultimate Back-to-School Study Playlist.

1. Song Title: Sense of Home

Artist: Harrison Storm

Length: 4:25

Lyrics: Yes

Harrison Storm - Sense Of Home

2. Song Title: Back to Autumn

Artist: Tall Heights

Length: 3:30

Lyrics: Yes

Tall Heights - Back to Autumn | Sofar Seattle

3. Song Title: Lark

Artist: Direct

Length: 4:10

Lyrics: No

[Chillout] - Direct - Lark [Monstercat Release]

4. Song Title: Waves (Acoustic)

Artist: Dean Lewis

Length: 4:08

Lyrics: Yes

Dean Lewis - Waves (Acoustic - Audio)

5. Song Title: Can I Be Him

Artist: James Arthur

Length: 4:06

Lyrics: Yes

James Arthur - Can I Be Him

6. Song Title: Simple Song

Artist: Passenger

Length: 3:48

Lyrics: Yes

Passenger | Simple Song (Official Audio)

7. Song Title: Cologne

Artist: Haux

Length: 4:11

Lyrics: Yes

8. Song Title: The Silence

Artist: Om Unit featuring Jinadu

Length: 4:51

Lyrics: Yes

Om Unit - The Silence (feat Jinadu) (Taken from Threads LP) (Civil Music) Official Music Video

9. Song Title: I Found

Artist: Amber Run

Length: 4:33

Lyrics: Yes

Amber Run - I Found

10. Song Title: Making It Real

Artist: Danny Elfman

Length: 2:32

Lyrics: No

Fifty Shades Darker Soundtrack - Making It Real (Danny Elfman)

11. Song Title: Lyric

Artist: Danny Elfman

Length: 2:09

Lyrics: No

12. Song Title: Overture

Artist: Gravity Senses

Length: 1:32

Lyrics: No

13. Song Title: Dawn Is Late

Artist: Inofaith

Length: 7:34

Lyrics: Yes

Inofaith - Dawn Is Late

14. Song Title: Midnight Sun

Artist: Synkro

Length: 6:04

Lyrics: No

Synkro - Midnight Sun (Official Video)

15. Song Title: I Shall Cross This River

Artist: The Black Atlantic

Length: 3:30

Lyrics: Yes

The Black Atlantic - I Shall Cross This River

16. Song Title: The Swan

Artist: Ghosts of Paraguay

Length: 5:17

Lyrics: No

Ghosts Of Paraguay - The Swan

17. Song Title: Dusk

Artist: Filous

Length: 3:28

Lyrics: No

18. Song Title: Bucket List

Artist: Elaquent

Length: 2:17

Lyrics: No

19. Song Title: Canopy

Artist: Emancipator

Length: 6:04

Lyrics: No

Emancipator - Canopy

20. Song Title: Ophelia

Artist: George Taylor

Length: 5:16

Lyrics: Yes

George Taylor - Ophelia

Writer Profile

Alison McCarthy

University of New Haven

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