Imagine: a Saturday afternoon. Homework is probably not done. Friends are still sleeping from a long night out or are traveling home for a much-needed reset. So what do you do? Sit on your bed surfing Instagram? Fear not, for I have a solution: watch these ten amazing movies to cure boredom, sickness or for exploration of curiosity.
1. "Birdman" or "The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance"
My personal favorite on this list, "Birdman," is a combination of a perfect film. Take a former action hero, combine it with Broadway, romance, and action, and you get this incredible production. This film may be intense for the typical lazy day, but if you need a good film to get the mind thinking, this is the one for you.
Who doesn't love "Up?" Tearjerker? Yes. But dogs, Boy Scouts, and Pixar magic make up a good film choice for that day you want nostalgia. This movie has so many funny jokes, relatable moments, and Dug (everyone's favorite Disney dog). Why wouldn't "Up" be on this list?
3. "Guardians of the Galaxy"
If anyone knows me, this film immediately makes the list. "Guardians" is one of the best Marvel films in existence. It combines the action of superhero flicks as well as 80's nostalgia through the music choices and plenty of laughs for all to enjoy.
4. "The Theory of Everything"
Again on the more powerful side but a beautiful film nonetheless. If you know nothing about Stephen Hawking's life, this film will answer so many questions and will show the power of love and science that is needed in life.
5. "Black Panther"
Seeing "Black Panther" on this list and the film just came out may appear to be a bit of a confusion. However, when this film does come out, it's a perfect film if you're in an action-film mood. While you may have to wait a few months for it to come out on DVD or streaming, it was an amazing inclusive film and a must-watch.
6. "Darkest Hour"
Like history? Like studying World War II? Like Gary Oldman (aka Sirius Black for all my "Harry Potter" fans)? "Darkest Hour," a film that won Oldman an Oscar, focuses about the life of Winston Churchill, the former prime minister of the UK. It is a brilliant film that really shines a different light on Churchill.
7. "Joyeux Noel"
I know it's past Christmas when I write this, but nonetheless, this film is a year-round classic. Based on the WWI Christmas Armistice, it is a unique film that contains three different spoken languages and a powerful message of peace on Earth during the times of conflict. Watch it with the subtitles; it'll make the film more powerful.
8. "To Kill a Mockingbird"
In honor of the past Olympics, a sports film has to be on this list. And what better film than "Miracle," the classic film of U.S. v Russia in that powerful moment when the U.S. won the match against heavy favorites USSR? This film is a great film for sports-lovers and nonsports-lovers alike.
And of course, it wouldn't be a Jay Silver list without a Broadway touch. I went with "Rent" here because "Rent" is one of the better broadways to film adaptations. Plus "Rent" is an iconic piece of work and a great film to watch when people need a good film to sing to.
If you like to listen to music while you study, choosing the right type can be vital to your overall productivity level.
Listening to music can calm you down, leading to more conscientious studying, elevating your mood, motivating you to stay focused and studying for longer periods of time.
While it can be a challenge to stay away from the hottest hits, selecting the wrong type of music can distract you from your studies and become counterproductive.
So, what type of music is considered “music for the mind?”
The following types of music are recommended for studying, along with tips to help you choose which genre will keep you most focused on your objective – studying.
Below each genre there’s a recommendation so that you can test out the genre and discover which type of music works best for you.
1. Never underestimate the power of classical.
Classical music is known for being both peaceful and harmonious, creating a calm and serene study environment for the listen.
It’s recommended as one of the best studying genres for students, because listeners report side effects like better mood and increased productivity. As far as side effects go, those aren’t too shabby!
Recommendation: Brandenburg Concerto #3 – Bach
2. Timed Tempos
Studies have shown that music timed at 60 beats-per-minute can help put people’s minds into ease; putting brains into a more productive mode where thinking are creativity are easier.
Recommendation: Concertos for Recorder – Telemann & Vivaldi
3. Instrumental Ambient Sounds
If you prefer a more modern flair, this may be the perfect option for you. Relaxing sounds of instruments can be paired with modern tunes to get the best of both worlds – so you don’t have to sacrifice a thing.
Recommendation: VSQ Performs the Hits of 2013, Volume 2 – Vitamin String Quartet
4. Nature Sounds
This type of “music” is perfect for those not so into classical music. It’s known for increasing concentration levels and keeps the listener’s mind engaged at a more subconscious level.
It also can be very calming, which is why many use it to help with meditations and to fall asleep.
What falls into this category are soundtracks of nature like waterfalls, rain or the sounds of the seashore rolling in.
5. Modern Electronic
Modern electronic is also commonly referred to as “chill out” music. The genres include Ambient House, Ambient Trance, New Age and Trip Hop.
They are known to relax the mind, encouraging it to roam. Be careful not to let it roam too much, however – you want to stay focused on the task at hand!
Recommendation: Music for Airports – Eno
6. Volume control.
Make sure that your background music is, indeed, in the background and is not distracting you or any of the students around you.
Think about it: it’s nearly impossible for you to be completely focused if your head is about to, um, explode. Keep the noise level to a minimum so that the study level is at a maximum.
7. Plan out your playlist.
Don’t wait until the time you’ve set aside for studying to create a playlist. Create it on your downtime so that, when it’s time to study, studying is the only task at hand and all you need to do as far as music is concerned is press play.
That way, you’ll be able to stay focused and won’t take any time away from what you should be accomplishing.
If you forget to plan ahead or don’t want to create your own playlist, don’t sweat it! There are some great resources that will do it for you, like the Study Music Project, which gives you a playlist of free study music each time you press play for more than an hour.
8. Break it up.
Plan your playlist so that, when it ends, it will be an indication that it’s your break time.
It’s helpful for you to not have to shift modes and have to worry about changing your music and you have the added benefit of never having to look at the clock because your playlist will function as a built in timer.
9. Studying is more important than music.
Avoid spending hours creating your playlist. After all, it should essentially just become background noise. What you should ultimately focus on is your studies.
You can spend hours on playlists for your road trips in the summertime when school is out!
10. The bottom line.
Whether you listen to any of these recommendations, Miley Cyrus, Tupac, or whatever else, it really doesn’t make a difference – as long as it works.
Remember: what’s most important – what actually matters is that whatever you’re listening to doesn’t distract you, calms you and truly puts your mind into study mode so that you can be productive and retain as much information as possible.
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