Music and research

I wonder if it’s just me, but I seem to work better when I have my ears plugged with music. Is this because it blocks out all the other (albeit rather limited) office noises? Is it because it makes work just a tad more enjoyable? Whatever the reason, it certainly works for me.

I’ve discussed this before with some colleagues. One or two think I’m crazy to sit at my desk listening to music all the time, and probably make the jump to assume that I’m just dossing and not working at all. A few others do also listen to music, but have very specific playlists: only classical music or only instrumental music, eg.

I, on the other hand, seem to have a great time with whatever happens to play next. Sometimes I don’t even notice what song is playing, and I pretty much always keep my play settings on “shuffle”. Maybe I’m a fan of surprises.

Here’s a sample of some of the artists that have serenaded my working life today:

The Felice Brothers
Tom Waits
Scott Walker
Chris Pureka
The Police
Nick Cave
The Head and the Heart
Led Zeppelin
PJ Harvey

And, yes, I managed to get through a huge amount of work today. In fact, I seem more likely to be productive with music than without it. Part of me kind of thinks that when I like a song that’s playing, I will stay at my desk and continue working just a bit longer in order to hear the end of the song… I wonder if someone has done a phd to look into that?

Do others have similar music/work relationships?


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