Nobody really enjoys revising for exams, which is why we so often reach for something which will make the process more bearable. Whether it’s your GCSEs or your final year at university, the revision blues can quickly set in when you have to spend hours sitting in silence, trying to memorize all sorts of facts, figures and information.
While some are comfortable or feel the need to sit in silence, others will want some background noise to keep them motivated or simply to provide a little entertainment as they revise. Studies have shown that, far from being a distraction, some types of music may actually have a beneficial effect when you’re studying. If you’re planning to hit play as you start your revision, here are the best musical genres to get you in the zone.
When students are searching for helpful ways to revise for their studies, there are many useful revision tips that can help them along the way. Getting a good night’s sleep, taking regular breaks, and finding a revision method that works for you are just some pieces of great advice. Perhaps some classical music can even help you concentrate more?
You may not think classical music is ‘your sort of thing’, but it’s widely recognized as the best music to revise to and it’s such a diverse genre that you’re guaranteed to find something which is to your tastes. Classical music isn’t all by long-dead composers, with some incredible contemporary artists out there to explore.
Classical music is particularly good because so many pieces are purely instrumental, so you won’t find your mind wandering to follow any lyrics. Your choice of track may depend on your mood, but something with a slow to medium tempo can help boost concentration and prime your mind for recall. If you’re searching for the best music for studying to try out, then perhaps classical music is one option to explore.
If you’re feeling a little sluggish and in need of an energy boost, then revising to the sound of dance music can be just what you need. Trance, techno and synth are all great to have on in the background, especially if you choose tracks without lyrics and with a moderate beat.
Try to avoid dance music that is too fast-paced, as it can over-stimulate the brain and lead you to lose focus. Something nice and rhythmical but not too ‘poppy’ is a safe bet, and could help you find the motivation you need to power through those notes and textbooks.
One of the dangers of listening to music whilst studying is the brain’s disposition to look for patterns, whether that’s the repeated lyrics of a song’s chorus or a repeated instrumental refrain. The beauty of jazz is that many tracks strike that fine balance between repeated motifs and an element of randomness, so your mind isn’t on the lookout for repetition or trying to predict what will come next.
Like classical music, jazz is such a broad genre that you won’t have too hard a time finding something to suit your preferences and mood. You could try some of history’s jazz greats, such as Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong or Duke Ellington, or for a contemporary spin, put together a playlist featuring some of today’s top jazz artists.
● Video game music
Gaming might not be everyone’s favourite pastime, but many games have incredible soundtracks you can enjoy in the background while you’re revising. Some take on an element of classical music, with sweeping scores and smooth, regular rhythms.
Without any lyrics to subconsciously follow, video game music is a great choice for students even if you only have a passing interest in playing games. Try to choose a soundtrack you’re familiar with which isn’t too fast-paced and will help you relax, rather than something designed to get you pumped up as you play.
Overall, music has many benefits when it comes to revision. Songs which have a regular beat, few or no lyrics and an element of randomness are all ideal, and may in fact improve your memory when it comes to sitting those all-important exams. Music is also known to alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety, so make your own playlist and tune in if you want to make studying more fun and boost your grades!