There is no doubt about it - end-of-year exams are stressful. And as music educators, it is our responsibility to use the arts to make this time period easier on you as students; not just so that you get high scores, but also so that you keep your emotional well-being intact.
In every part of the world, researchers have concluded that music is one of the most powerful mood boosters. People of all ages turn to music as a way to unwind, or to focus better.
So, if you are spending the next few weeks preparing for your exams, here are some ways in which you can add a little music to your day to make it easier on yourself:
1 - Use music to create a calm, focused mood: Having a soft, instrumental playlist in the background helps you drown out distracting noises and focus more easily. While there is no "right" type of study music, it has been proven that your go-to "fun" music will distract you from your work while lyric-less music will help you double down on the task at hand.
If you don't know where to begin, you can always check out curated study playlists on any streaming platform. Once you have an idea of what helps you work best, you can add your own music to the mix.
2 - Set routines with music: While studying for the exams, setting a consistent routine is extremely important. And one of the best ways to enforce this routine is via music. So, if you are keeping aside a few minutes to meditate, turn on some spiritual music. If you're in deep focus mode, keep your study playlist handy. And if you're taking a break, recharge and put yourself in a better mood with your favourite song. Your brain associates different styles of music with different actions. Slowly, your brain will prepare for the activity at hand when it hears the music.
3 - Stay motivated: No matter how much you try, the truth is that it isn't always easy to stay focused and keep at it. Try to dispel the stress with a few fun activities. One suggestion is to use an integral part of songwriting - the daily writing prompt - to express yourself. Spend ten minutes a day describing a different object using all the five senses, and also write about how the object makes you feel. It is a great way to get in touch with your feelings and express yourself in a healthy way. Another way to recharge is to enjoy fun musical activities with a few friends (either online or in-person). You can also use this as a way to motivate and check in on each other.
As you get started, just remember a few golden rules. First, taking breaks makes you more productive. Second, set achievable study goals every day. Finally, very few things are in our control. So give your best and don't worry about what's not in your control.
All the best!