A soothing melody

Songs to help cope with midterm anxiety


Photo by Angela Valle

Story by Amanda Garmon , staff writer

It’s December. Not only does this mean Christmas is right around the corner, but it also means that end-of-semester exam time is approaching us, stomping toward us like a big scary giant that’s teasing us with the possibility of failing tests. To help keep the giant out of our heads, listening to a soothing music playlist would be the perfect trick.

Music, especially classical, lowers blood pressure, slows down one’s pulse, decreases stress hormones and helps prevent the mind from wandering. This is why music is such a key ingredient in trying to calm down. Music helps people take their minds off of whatever is going on in their lives and in a student’s case, scary exams.

Here’s a playlist of stress-relieving songs that should certainly be given a listen:

Don’t Worry, Be Happy – Bobby McFerrin: This song’s title ties in perfectly with the meaning and effect of the music; it helps you not to worry. The pleasant, catchy whistle tune at the beginning brings you in from the get-go. McFerrin’s 1988 hit remains in our heads to this day

The Prayer – Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli: This award-winning song is so beautiful that it will either form tears in your eyes or give you goosebumps. Dion and Bocelli’s perfectly blended voices, the additional Italian verse and the violins in the background make the song the most gorgeous thing ever heard. Listening to the version with Dion and Josh Groban is also suggested.

The Very Thought of You – Michael Buble: Buble’s calming low rumble of a voice brings relaxation in this tune. It is almost impossible to remain stressed and anxious because of Buble’s Sinatra-sounding vocals. More than one rendition of this song has been done, performed by people such as Bing Crosby, Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra.

River Flows in You – Yiruma: This piano instrumental by Yiruma could bring anyone out of anxiety. The slow rhythm and melody of the song is calming, attractive and comparable to a “flowing river.” You can find many other people’s recordings of this song as well.

What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong: Armstrong, an African-American jazz singer and trumpeter, influenced people’s beliefs about race and continues to do so even since his death in 1971. Armstrong’s mood-lifting 1967 tune gets the mind off of any overbearing worry.

Unchained Melody – Righteous Brothers: Famous from the 1990 hit movie “Ghost,” this song eases stress because it contains a romantic, slow and soothing sound. Before the Righteous Brothers covered the song, many other versions were recorded, but to this day, the Righteous Brothers’ version of the song is what most people are familiar with.

Moon River – Frank Sinatra: Originally performed by Audrey Hepburn for the 1961 classic “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” this song was also performed by Sinatra. Not only does Sinatra’s velvety voice give the song its soothing nature, but the origin of the song makes it an even greater stress reliever. Written by Henry Mercer and Johnny Mercer, the lyrics relate back to their childhood memories of a “beloved” river.

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell: This Motown tune brings joy to anyone who listens. It’s widely popular in television and movies and gets people in pleasant moods.

Another Day of Sun – La La Land Soundtrack: From the recent iconic movie musical, this song lifts one’s mood up to the sky (to the sun, if you will). It may even cause an urge to dance.

You can search these songs on YouTube, find them on music streaming websites (Pandora/Spotify) or buy them on iTunes/Play Store. You could even create a playlist. Whatever method you choose, listen to these soothing songs to release your exam stress and good luck on them!