back to school ’20: study soundtrack


Welcome back to this mini back to school series! You can check out my previous post (productivity apps) here!

Each morning as I start to work, I have several things: a mug of coffee or tea, good music, and my laptop.

I love music. A lot. I sing and play two instruments. And if you’re anything like me, you’re listening to music every moment you’re not singing or playing. I love using music to motivate me and to create the perfect atmosphere.

I’ve separated my favorite music into two categories: instrumental and with vocals. For each artist, I’ve recommended a song for you to start with.

Let’s dive in!


✦ Joe Hisaishi| rec: “Nostalgia”

Hisaishi is a Japanese composer who combines oriental music with European orchestral suites. He also seems to have a hint of jazz in his music. Overall, I find his music to be calming, yet not in the put-me-to-sleep way.

✦ Two Steps from Hell | rec: “Unleashed” (album)

I was recommended Two Steps from Hell by several friends who love Lord of the Rings and there definitely seems a correlation between the two. This production company is formed by two composers and the music they create is often for trailers, video games, and more. I love the epic nature of their songs. It makes me feel as thought I was in an adventure movie of my own.

✦ Peter Gundry | rec: “.Goetia.”

Ahh, I get transported to the dark woods of a fairy tale forest whenever I listen to Peter Gundry. He weaves a world of magic, fantasy, and intrigue with his music. A must add to your fantasy novel playlist!

✦ James Attanasio | rec: “Magic”

If you need motivational music but can’t afford to get distracted by lyrics, this is the music for you! Most of his songs are happy and upbeat and could be compared to EDM at times!

✦ Roberto Attanasio | rec: “Behind Those Eyes”

(No relation to the person above.) I actually found Roberto Attanasio’s music while searching for James Attanasio above! His music shares aspects with both Joe Hisaishi and Peter Gundry. It creates a deep and thoughtful atmosphere that blossoms as the song continues. It’s perfect for late night work or thoughtful reading.

✦ Dan Musselman | rec: “O Come to the Altar”

Dan Musselman creates beautiful piano covers of worship songs. I find them to be very uplifting! I especially enjoy listening to his music when I start working in the morning as it creates an environment for a mindful heart.

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✦ “Dream A Little Dream” album by Pink Martini and the Von Trapps

This album, featuring the real life family of the Von Trapps, contains songs from all over the world and favorites from Sound of Music. Their voices are beautiful and the orchestrations are so good!

✦ Postmodern Jukebox | rec: “I’ll Be There for You”

Postmodern Jukebox, or PMJ, is the project of Scott Bradlee, a pianist. They create covers of popular songs and give them a vintage twist. For example, their cover of “Ill be There for You” features the original artists and a rendition of the song in different eras.

Needtobreathe | rec: “Brother”

NEEDTOBREATHE is a “Christian rock band” according to the internet. I really enjoy their punchy lyrics and their uplifting music. It’s perfect for spreading joy and getting hyped for something not enjoyable or tedious.

✦ J.J. Heller | rec: “Braver Still”

J.J. Heller has the most soothing, gentle voice. Her music is calm and uplifting, perfect for easing you out of a rough spot or encouraging you in daily life.

I hope you enjoy these artists as much as I do and you discover new favorites!

Do you listen to any of these artists? What do you like to listen to while you study? Leave a comment below!

4 thoughts on “back to school ’20: study soundtrack

  1. I’ll keep these in mind! I’ve been looking for some music to have in the background while I read so that my brain doesn’t decide to play random things on loop, but the music I find keeps putting me to sleep, oops.

    Liked by 1 person

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