Classical Music You Should Be Listening to for Finals

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James Qian, Photojournalist

Finals week is looming around the corner and many students probably have not even started on any of their studying. With their procrastination and cramming, many of these students are probably going to listen to classical music in order to focus. Zirui Zhang (12), an AP student as well as a classical pianist, gives his reasoning on why he listens to classical music while studying: “Classical music can drive someone to finish their work quickly because it nurtures the mind rather than allow the mind to be stressed by work.”


With that said, there are also certain classical pieces which students should not be listening to; there is an extremely wide variety of classical music, and that includes music that constantly interrupts studying and music that will make students fall asleep in the middle of studying. Below is a list of a few pieces that should be listened to in order to enhance one’s focus on studying.


  • Nocturnes by Frederick Chopin

Chopin has an extremely large collection of pieces which he composed, but the studying mood that his nocturnes set is so good as if they were written specifically for studying. With the calm and modest sound of the piano in these nocturnes, not only is it a great way to start focusing, but also a great way to relieve any stress.


  • “The Poem of Ecstasy” by Alexander Scriabin

Although he has gotten so much criticism on his music, especially later in his life, an exception can be made for Scriabin’s “The Poem of Ecstasy.” The music starts with a very delicate tone that stimulates a focused mood for studying, and it then slowly builds up to a more dramatic tone over the course of about 20 minutes, which encourages the listener to be more focused as time goes by.


  • “Tempest” Sonata by Ludwig van Beethoven

One of Beethoven’s best known piano sonatas, the “Tempest” Sonata has a perfect mixture of both soothing and agitating elements. The first movement provides most of the agitating phrases as it has many surprises throughout, yet at the same time, soothing elements are still incorporated allowing listeners to continue staying focused. The second movement, however, provides much of the soothing parts in the entire sonata and does not have much agitation. Similar to one of Chopin’s nocturnes, this part of the sonata relieves much of the stress that might have built up from all the studying. Finally, the third movement has a perfect mixture of both moods, which makes this movement so interesting and balances out the entire sonata. Overall, Beethoven’s “Tempest” Sonata is a great piece to help students stay awake with the agitation to study and the soothing tone to keep students from being bothered.


  • Piano Concerto No.1 by Frederick Chopin

Chopin’s first piano concerto works very similarly with his nocturnes, yet there is so much more to the music. With the orchestra’s strong execution of harmonizing with the piano, a mood of confidence is created while listening, which allows students to have a better feeling about studying


These pieces are among the most effective for studying, but this list only provides a small fraction of what a student can listen to for studying: the list of classical pieces is almost endless. For a longer playlist, check it out on Spotify here.