It’s that time of year again: The air’s getting colder, the leaves are changing color and students are stressed over upcoming midterms. Many listen to music to help them focus on their work while others may play it during downtime to relax. For either one of those moods, here are some peaceful yet motivational songs to play while staring at either your notes or the fall foliage.
“Vienna” — Billy Joel
This classic by Billy Joel is the ultimate calm-down song. From Joel’s signature piano hooks to the soothing lyrics, this song has one of the most important messages for a time like this: slow down. You will be fine no matter what happens, so there’s no need to stress over an event you’ve been preparing for since the semester started. And even if things don’t turn out how you expected them to, life will always find a way to catch up. At the end, Vienna, or wherever you were destined to end up, will be there waiting for you.
“Dear Prudence” — The Beatles
This isn’t the Beatles’ most well-known song, but it is an important one for stressed people everywhere. The song was written by John Lennon while the Beatles were on their famous retreat to India in 1968. While there, Lennon befriended Prudence Farrow, sister of actress Mia Farrow, who was studying meditation with them and became so absorbed in it that she would become a recluse and refuse to come out for days on end. Lennon wrote the song to convince her to end her seclusion and join her friends again. Like Farrow, many seclude themselves while getting ready for their midterms, but doing this for too long can lead to more harm than good. Always take time out to hang out with friends, walk around and just relax. Like the song says, “The sun is up, the sky is blue, it’s beautiful and so are you,” so go out, take a break and enjoy the autumn weather.
“Take It Easy” — Eagles
The title says it all. Like Billy Joel told us in “Vienna,” it’s important to slow down and keep your mind at ease during such a stressful time like this. While the Eagles are talking about problems with women in their song, the same message gets through: Take it easy and let things work out however they will.
“Strange Magic” — Electric Light Orchestra
Jeff Lynne proves himself to be a great songwriter and composer in this 1975 classic from the Electric Light Orchestra. The song is instantly calming from its weeping guitar licks in the beginning and distorted sounds that make you feel like you’re floating. The lyrics are entirely in the third person, putting you directly in this fantasy world where you’re sailing through the sun and walking through meadows. These images may be enough to get you to finish that chapter.
“Listen to the Music” — The Doobie Brothers
Unlike the other songs on this list, “Listen to the Music” doesn’t have a direct message to calm you down with. Instead, it’s a catchy tune that’s supposed to make you smile and feel happy. If you really do want to lock yourself in your room to study, make sure this song is on shuffle every once in a while and let the guitar groove you through your study guide.
“Here Comes The Sun” — The Beatles
This classic Beatles song is a friendly reminder that all this studying will be over soon. Thanks to George Harrison’s beautiful acoustic guitar and the accompanying violins, “Here Comes The Sun” instantly sends listeners into a peaceful state. This song can be so powerful that sometimes you feel the warmth on the sun directly on your face. You can also listen while studying outside. Both this song and exposure to actual sunlight are good options.
If you needed one message out of all of these songs, it’s this: You got this. While midterms are important, you have all the resources you need to ace them. All you need to do is believe in yourself and be confident in the material. Everyone has their own style for studying, so push through it and ace them.