James Lamb writes: For the last seven weeks I’ve been teaching on a Summer School for pre-university students. We meet every Wednesday and, stepping out of the Scottish sunshine, we enter a gloomy and dusty lecture theatre to talk Harvard referencing and critical thinking. To lighten the mood, we decided to play music as a prelude to the first lecture of the day each week. The class seemed bemused by my chosen playlist so I challenged them to do better.
Using the course discussion board then, students were invited to nominate tracks that they study to. What followed was an interesting mixture of musical styles and accompanying comments. Alas, University regulations forbade me from allocating additional coursemarks to the student who nominated Ennio Morricone’s ‘The Ecstasy of Gold’.
Mariana nominated 'The Nutcracker' by Tchaikovsky: "I think classical and instrumental music are the most relaxing for studying. I really enjoy Bach, mostly, and I also like The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky."
Corinne nominated 'To build a home' by The Cinematic Orchestra: "Usually I find it hard to listen to music while studying - I get too distracted so it has to be calm and the volume has to be low. But I heard this song recently and it gets me into a studying mood - it helped me to finish my essay."
Sam nominated 'The Ecstasy of Gold' by Ennio Morricone: "The music I listen to many people would find distracting, but I find it really helps me to concentrate if I listen to soundtracks from games or movies for some reason. They are really dramatic and kind of motivate me."
Jack nominated 'Hysteria' by Muse: "Generally, I just stick the iPod on shuffle and go from there. Recently though, I've been picking out specific songs and making playlists (mostly so I don't get any songs I don't like, more than anything)."
Mariana, Corinne, Sam and Jack were participating in the Learning Skills course on the LEAPS Summer School, a pre-university programme taught across the higher education institutions in Edinburgh.