The Top 10 Movie Soundtracks for Studying

As we get into the first week of December, this means finals are impending. Luckily, if there’s one trick I know to help with your studying needs, it’s music. Each one of these soundtracks has a unique personality, so the soundtrack you choose for your study and working purposes really depends on the mood you’re in. So this one’s for those of you who are staying up late because that 45 minute break you gave yourself to watch only one episode of [insert name of TV show here] somehow turned into a four and a half hour marathon. 

10. Any Epic Fantasy Adventure

Fantastic Beasts original soundtrack

I know, technically, this isn’t just one film, but how can you make me choose? Fantasy films, especially epic serial fantasy films, always have the best instrumental music for studying. Your choices are endless here, including LOTR, Harry Potter, and The Chronicles of Narnia. Plus in most of these franchises you’ve got the best of the bets composers such as John Williams and Howard Shore. You really can’t go wrong regardless of which fantasy epic you decide to go with!

9. Friday Night Lights

Friday Night Lights Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Yes, Friday Night Lights is a sports movie and is not what most nerds might consider watching. But I implore you, consider listening to the music. The soundtrack for this film is predominantly comprised of the post rock band, Explosions in the Sky. For those of you who aren’t sure what post rock is, it is a genre that comprises of rock instruments but used to create atmospheric and textured music. Explosions in the Sky primarily uses electric guitars and light drums for most of their music. It is a great soundtrack to listen to and also to fill the late night silence with.

8. The Fountain

To get even more ethereal, listen to the music from The Fountain. If you’ve never seen this film, go watch it. But only if you’re prepared to take an intellectual and spiritual journey. After all, it is directed by Darren Aronofsky (think Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan). The score, composed by Clint Mansell, is equally intellectual and spiritual featuring performances by the Kronos Quartet and Mogwai, a Scottish rock band. This soundtrack is so unique it is difficult to describe. All I can say to give you an idea of the feeling of this soundtrack is that one of the songs is titled “Death is the Road to Awe.”

7. Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice

Now when you do need something a bit sleepier, to soothe your late night nerves and stress, go with the piano soundscapes of Pride and Prejudice. This soundtrack was composed by Dario Marianelli and performed by renowned pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet and the English Chamber Orchestra. It is very reminiscent of Beethoven and reminds you exactly of the style of music Jane Austen herself would have listened to. This was especially helpful for me as an English major. Who else to gain inspiration from when writing about literature?

6. Wall-E


If you prefer being transported to space rather than France, Wall-E’s soundtrack does just that. This soundtrack has some mysterious playfulness created by Thomas Newman (not to be confused with his brother, David Newman!). What I love most about this soundtrack is its variety. It can go from the mysterious floating feeling of sustained strings and plucked arpeggios, to fun, jaunty ditties.  This soundtrack explores all emotions of the spectrum; c’mon—nearly the entire film is devoid of dialogue!

5. Inception


As amateurs to the film scoring industry, Daft Punk did turn to Hans Zimmer for some help. And who better to go to than one of the most prolific composers of our time? With that said, there are plenty of other Hans Zimmer soundtracks to turn to, all of the Pirates of the Caribbean included; however, if in the wee hours of the night you need something truly brooding, then Inception is your score. I know what you’re all thinking about right now (Boooonnnngggg), but there’s much more to this soundtrack than that iconic sound. And though it is meant to emulate dreams, it is far from sleepy.

4. Amélie

Another more culturally precise soundtrack is the accordion driven music of the French film, Amélie, composed by Yann Tierson. The accordion is accompanied wonderfully by vibraphone, piano, glockenspiel, and many other folk string instruments for some spirited quirky songs.  What is wonderful about this soundtrack is the complicated rhythms and intrinsic countermelodies. This soundtrack is so complex, it’s perfect for any late night math sessions, and yet it’s artistic, it’s also perfect for any creative sessions!

3. Tron Legacy

If you find that the Edward Scissorhands soundtrack is a little too soothing for those late nights, try the soundtrack for Tron Legacy. This soundtrack was created by the legendary duo, Daft Punk. While the duo may make you think of electronic music, this soundtrack strikes a great balance of orchestrated and synthetic sounds. It is exactly what you might imagine being inside a computer might feel like, which, depending on what you’re working on, should be appropriate. Just be sure not to get lost in the Hulu or Netflix grid. On second thought, do it.

2. Edward Scissorhands

edward scissorhands

The wonderful whimsical musical world of Edward Scissorhands was composed by none other than the incredible Danny Elfman. This soundtrack consists, as many soundtracks do, of sweeping orchestrated pieces. However, the heavy use of the Celesta gives the music that infamous music-box feeling. This is then overlaid with the “oohs” and “aahs” of a boys’ choir, making it so magical. Danny Elfman has written several other suitable-for-study soundtracks, but the peaceful melancholy of this particular soundtrack places it above the rest. And, let’s face it; studying is a rather lonely task, and you’ll never be finished.

1. Wonder Woman

Technically, you can go with any superhero soundtrack, but Wonder Woman really rises above all of the rest because it’s just so empowering! This soundtrack by Rupert Gregson-Williams features some really interesting instrument combos. You know that super epic, almost metal theme that comes on whenever Wonder Woman’s doing something heroic? Yeah, that’s a freaking electric cello! And Tina Guo, the cellist, is incredible! The only down side of this soundtrack is that rather than studying, you may end up rocking out which is fine by us, too.

Did your favorite soundtracks make the list? Let us know in the comments so we can check them out! Like music? Check out the 9 catchy k-pop beats the DCEU needs to use! 

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Melody Kowach

Writer, Editor, and Liaison for 6NC, Melody is a jack of all nerdoms but master of none probably because she has a weird dislike for watching things she's already watched since there are so many new things to watch! Melody enjoys anime, indie games, books, and sci-fi, and when she's not at home binge watching a show or gaming, she can usually be found at Disneyland.

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