Music follows us everywhere. Whether you are at a store, in the car, or in an elevator, there tends to be some sort of melodic tune that covers the silence. As post-secondary students, most of us listen to a music service throughout the day. Some of us listen to music as we walk between classes, on the commute to school, as we study, do assignments, or participate in other activities.
Spotify is a technology service which streams various forms of media, such as music and podcasts. The company originates from Sweden and has been active for the past thirteen years. A feature of Spotify is their multitude of public playlists, each falling under a particular genre. The app offers over 1,000 public playlists, each with a different theme and mood of songs. The playlists range to hit almost every mood, including but not limited to workout tracks, love songs, popular songs, classics, and more.
To help students focus, Spotify created the “Study Zone” playlist. The description under the playlist reads, “Soft pop ballads to help you focus, think and get through that homework!” The playlist features 60 songs, ranging from a variety of artists, including Ed Sheeran and Post Malone.
I listened to “Study Zone” as I was doing my schoolwork and the playlist didn’t really motivate me. Most of the songs I had never heard before. So, when I listened to it the first time, I was a bit distracted because I found some beats odd. For instance, “Kintsugi” by Gabrielle Aplin took me out of my focus. Once the chorus hit, I stopped working and stared at the playlist, wondering, “what am I listening to?” The song had an unusual beat that did not adhere to my taste. I immediately skipped “Kintsugi” and continued to study, while listening to the next track.
Other songs in the playlist had melodies that blend together nicely. The transition between tracks did not distract me as much and I continued to work productively because the music had similar elements. Listening to songs with a similar beat is important for my study habits because it limits distraction and aids concentration and keeps me in the zone.
However, not all songs in this playlist flowed together. In particular, “F You I Love You” by KYLE feat. Teyana Taylor has a different sound compared to James Bay’s “Bad.” “F You I Love You” has more of a rap and R&B tune whereas “Bad” has a soul rhythm sound with its soft and slow melody. These two songs do not blend together, and when they transition between shuffle, the mood changes and can be a distraction while a student is working productively.
Depending on your music taste, “Study Zone” will not be approved by every listener. The playlist features artists ranging from the R&B genre, like Khalid, to the soft pop genre like mxmtoon. However, the wide variety of ballads can serve as a distraction for students because the melody shifts between contrasting artists and songs.
Personally, I prefer listening to my own curated study playlist, filled with over 100 songs of similar melodies. Although Spotify’s “Study Zone” does have some good songs to help you focus, I found the playlist distracting because the music varied between tracks. Only 2/60 songs made it into my liked songs, “Trampoline” by SHAED with ZAYN, and “Far Away” by Jessie Reyez.
The playlist did have positive qualities, such as introducing me to new music. However, “Study Zone” was less productive with helping my studies. The songs jumbled between different beats which pulled me away from my focus.
My experience with Spotify’s “Study Zone” may vary from yours, as we all have different music tastes. Try listening to it for yourself to experience if the music helps you to concentrate or not. Regardless, happy studying.