Music to tune the savage beast

I just had an interesting discussion with Vincent Hofmann and Roger Saner about work habits and listening to music. They were describing the albums they listen to (or, in Roger’s case, specific songs, when working. I was telling them about my tendency to listen to the Batman soundtracks (Batman Begins and The Dark Knight) or the Transformers soundtracks when I do much of my drafting work.

Soni listening to music

We talked a little about why we tend to focus on certain types of music and what it does for us, chatted to Mike Stopforth about how he doesn’t work to music at all (he tends to want to participate in the music he is listening to – Mike is a musician in addition to his many other talents) and then we disbanded and headed back to work.

I had an interesting thought when I popped out of the office: perhaps the music we listen to when working (if we listen), has the effect of tuning our brains for whatever we are doing. It occurs to me that this isn’t as groundbreaking as it sounds as I type this. Using music to influence a mood isn’t exactly uncommon among us humans and perhaps when it comes to choosing music to work to, we are picking the music that tunes us for specific tasks.

I tend not to be too conscious of much of the music I am listening to when I am concentrating and prefer that the music envelope me when I do (hence headphones preferably) and the result is often better focus. Of course there are also days when anything I listen to irritates me and I opt for silence. Not many though.

Image credit: Soni listening to music by Ruben Garcia Mohedano, licensed CC BY NC SA 2.0



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