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Study Playlists: The Best Music Aesthetic For Every Subject

Studying is always hard and studying for hours but not retaining any information is a common struggle that all students face at some point. Personally, I find music with lyrics to be too distracting because I end up singing along! But silence is worse because I’ll focus too much on all and any background noise! Thankfully, I realized that instrumental music was the way to go and since then, I’ve never looked back. That being said, there are so many different playlists to listen to that it’s kind of overwhelming to find something that works for you. Here are the playlists I recommend for every subject, each with a different sound aesthetic for the best study vibes!

English Literature, History & Classics: Dark academia 

For English lit, history, and classics classes, I recommend dark academia playlists on Spotify. The songs mainly use slow, minor-key piano, and are particularly great for studying anything history related as they have a timeless feel to them. Listen to my favourite dark academia playlist here.

Aesthetic: Abandoned castles, the light sound of rain outside tower windows, running through empty hallways in a white flowy dress, flowers in a castle garden, dusty libraries, old-money private schools, eyeglasses sitting on a pile of books, cobblestone streets, pleated skirts & 18th-century England. 

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STEM subjects: Chill Lofi 

When studying for any STEM subject, 一 which stands for science, technology, engineering, and math一I love listening to lofi to help me study. The more modern and technological sound makes lofi perfect for these innovative fields. Listen to my go-to lofi playlist here

Aesthetic: Writing a lab report with your partner at midnight the night before it’s due, finishing your third coffee of the day before a chemistry lecture, long pants and closed-toed shoes, staring at the cute guy in the red lab coat from across your lab bench, cold sandwiches in plastic cafeteria containers, lab notebooks stained with drops of copper sulphate, well-used calculators & white lab coats. 

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Earth Sciences, Environmental Engineering & Geography: Mellow Acoustic

All of these subjects, in my opinion, pair particularly well with mellow acoustic songs. They’re soothing and have a certain “earthy” and happy feel.

Aesthetic: Early morning sunrises, walking barefoot on the freshly cut grass, brewing fresh ground coffee, bringing apple pie to your neighbour’s house for dinner, apple orchards, long and winding dirt roads, cozy fireplaces, playing the guitar around a bonfire, homemade meals, pots filled with freshly cut flowers & road trips.

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Fine Arts: Jazz

Jazz is perfect for anything to do with fine arts subjects, particularly for painting. Jazz can be both calming or lively which makes it work for all different kinds of art, whether it’s drawing, sculpting, or poetry. Listen to a jazz playlist on Spotify here.

Aesthetic: Small artists performing at local venues, broadway shows, loft apartments with big windows, sunlight shining on blank canvases, paint-stained hands, walking around the park and feeding the pigeons, oversized white button-down shirts, late nights with your friends in crowded bars, quaint coffee shops at street corners & local art shows.

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Commerce, Law & Politics: Hip Hop / R&B Instrumentals

While studying for any commerce, law, and politics related subjects, I recommend a blend of hip hop, R&B, and lofi. This combination creates a very specific big city vibe that’ll maximize your focus while studying. Listen to the Spotify playlist here

Aesthetic: Crowded underground subways, cappuccinos, penthouses that overlook the downtown core, knee-high boots and plaid skirts, popping a champagne bottle on New Year’s Eve, coffee shops, fine art museums, business conferences at expensive hotels, street photography & rooftop bars.

[bf_image id="cv5nttnj6mf85jkf242x7fvm"] If any of these genres aren’t your thing, the Harry Potter soundtrack is magical (pun intended) while studying! The soundtrack is beautifully written and listening to it will make you feel like you’re a student at Hogwarts! Listen to a Harry Potter playlist on Spotify here. Happy studying!


Gwen is a fourth-year health science student at uOttawa. Her interests include yoga, zero-waste living, and latte art photography.
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