Arts & Life

Students benefit from listening to lo-fi music while studying

Having productive study habits is always important, but what else are students doing to help them focus on studying?

Students usually listen to music to help ease their anxiety and stress to prepare for tests.

A students wears headphones while walking toward the Hall of Science.
A students wears headphones while walking toward the Hall of Science. Photo credit: El Nicklin

It’s not uncommon for classical music to be on study playlists, but there’s a certain genre that has been on the rise since the pandemic; lo-fi music.

Lo-fi stands for low-fidelity music and most college students have heard of it, even if they don’t realize it.

These hip-hop, slow tempo, boom bap, chill instrumental beats bring a sense of comfort for those listening to it and it’s perfect for studying.

Freshman environmental science and policy major Vanessa Polk said her favorite part about lo-fi is that you can listen to it whenever you want. From walking to your next class to cramming for midterms, or reading a book, Polk said lo-fi is the perfect background music for any activity.

Demon Gummies is Polk’s favorite lo-fi artist and is her ideal genre to listen to while studying or working on creative projects.

“Audio samples like vinyl cracks, rain, bird calls, VHS tape noises scratch a certain part of my brain that I can’t explain,” Polk said.

Lo-fi’s slow, medium-tempo beats help Polk stay calm and not feel anxious. The calm, repetitive loops also help her not be distracted while working, unlike with pop and rock n’ roll.

A report from Stanford University said music with strong beats stimulates the brain and causes brainwaves to resonate in time with the rhythm. It also mentioned that studies of rhythms and the brain have shown that a combination of rhythmic light and sound stimulation has the greatest effect on brainwave frequency, although sound alone can change brain activity.

This type of music is usually playing in the background of TikTok videos and has been around since the 2000s with the late Japanese artist Jun Seba known as Nujabes.

He is notably remembered for being involved with creating the soundtrack for the anime “Samurai Champloo.”

Lo-fi recently rose to fame again with Lofi Girl all over the internet during the pandemic. The Lofi Girl anime girl character became the face of the genre.

Lofi Girl currently has 11.7 million subscribers on YouTube with two popular live streams. One is dedicated to a loop of study beats, while the other concentrates on beats to sleep to. Students can take advantage of these free live streams to study.

Nadav Cohen, known as Amess, is a 23-year-old producer and instrumentalist from Australia with three albums produced under Lofi Girl.

“Working with the Lofi Girl team is a pleasure and it’s nice to be supported by the beautiful community around them,” Cohen said.

He felt creating lo-fi music in 2020 was the next step in his creative space after making ambient and cinematic music for the past few years. He started to add points, percussion and drums to his sonic palette.

Cohen believes that his music is great for playing in the background to relax, unwind or focus.

A student wears earbuds while passing the Student Success Center.
A student wears earbuds while passing the Student Success Center. Photo credit: El Nicklin

“I’m very honored to regularly receive beautiful messages from fans and listeners telling me about their experience in my music,” Cohen said.

Lo-fi artists have been making their own creative remixes by using samples from different songs to give them a chill vibe.

Songs from Studio Ghibli films are among popular remixes, including songs from “Howl’s Moving Castle,” “My Neighbor Totoro” and “Princess Mononoke.”

Demon Gummies has their own Studio Ghibli remixes alongside their own original beats. Their “Study With Howl” EP includes remixes titled “alchemy with howl,” “riceballs with haku” and more.

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