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All work and no playlist: Alternative finals week tunes

12/06/2013
Andrew Milliken
Staff Writer

With finals week just around the cor­ner, most Indiana University of Pennsylvania students will find themselves secluded within their own worlds of academia, foregoing socializing with their peers for hardcore study time.

Whether one studies best in a group or alone, an important detail may fall by the wayside when preparing for some of the most important exams in our lives: choosing helpful, rather than distract­ing, music to play while we study.

With the unbelievable amount of music available to everyone with access to the Internet, a quality playlist for your finals week experience is just a few clicks away.

Typically, the music that is listened to on a daily basis is meant to stimulate in a physical, rather than a mental, way.

Electronic dance music and other genres dominating the Top 40 inspire people to tap their feet or just get down with their bad selves.

This music, while enjoyable and catchy, may not be your best ticket to a successful study session.

Music that is appropriate for a trance-inducing, monumental chunk of time devoted to finals preparation does not always have to coincide with the normal tastes of the listener and may possess a less intrusive, distracting qual­ity than typical pop music.

We’ve all heard that listening to Mo­zart may make you smarter.

Whether or not this is true, classical music does offer, if nothing else, a relax­ing blanket of background noise to sup­port concentration for extended periods of time.

This need not be limited to dear old Mozart, however.

Google ‘“famous composers,” pick a name at random and create your own Pandora Internet Radio station to soak in the subtle sounds of all that these classical composers have to offer.

With classical music as the most ob­vious choice for study music, it is by no means a universal choice.

Not everyone enjoys a lengthy sym­phony or soft piano music, and there are a myriad of other genres from which to choose.

Ambient music offers another well­spring of possibilities for the studying listener.

One of the most talented and sooth­ing artists available is Julianna Barwick.

Using nothing but her own voice and a looping station to create lush clouds of sound that build to satisfying climaxes (particularly in her song “Forever”), Barwick is an offbeat yet dependable choice to start your very own ambient playlist.

There are also several crossover artists for such a playlist. Artists whose laid-back styles contributed to their popular­ity tend to be a great starting point for a finals week study playlist.

The first name that pops out as a “crossover” is Frank Ocean.

Mixing hip-hop and rhythm and blues so smoothly is rarely achieved, and Frank Ocean’s latest album “chan­nel ORANGE” can easily be listened to straight through and encourages pro­ductivity to boot.

Relaxing music that is conducive to study sessions is easy to come by if one knows where to look. There is nothing wrong with simply playing the normal music that one listens to if it does not detract from one’s productivity.

If one seeks to create a relaxing playl­ist that aids his or her studying when the normal stuff just won’t cut it, however, hopefully this article provided a few helpful starting points.

Happy finals week, IUP.

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