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fremen_warrior's avatar

Music thread # ... : what kind of music helps you focus?

Asked by fremen_warrior (5471 points ) December 3rd, 2012

If you like to listen to music while doing something requiring your undivided attention, what do you like to listen to? As before, three examples, each, will suffice. There is always a small chance I might drift off into thought while listening to these, but I find, all in all, I do my best work when I have some “trusted” music running in the background. Here are my 3 picks:

En attendant Cousteau (from Calypso [or any other album, for that matter] by) Jean Michel Jarre
Hergest Ridge (album) by Mike Oldfield
Secret story (album) by Pat Metheny

How about you? What tunes do you tune in to, to tune in, to your work?

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21 Answers

Sweetie26's avatar

It depends on what I am doing. When I am writing a paper or reading, I listen to sounds of nature like rain, thunder or the ocean. However, when I am doing my math homework I can listen to anything.

gasman's avatar

As a lifelong musician, it’s hard for me to hear music without focusing my attention on it. I listen to new albums with total immersion, just as when I watch a movie. And I like to crank up the volume. So for me “background music” is especially problematical. I prefer something that ‘m totally familiar with, so there’s no novelty to distract my attention, even if it induces a little unconscious humming. When I’ve really got to focus, silence works best.

gailcalled's avatar

^^^Amen, brother.

If something requires my undivided attention, and it’s not listening to a particular piece of music, then I don’t listen, in order to give my undivided attention to what I am attending to.

When I listen, I listen.

Does Mlio meowing in G#/A count?

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

Music distracts and entertains me. If a task needs my full attention, I can’t play any music.

Example. I love to play my car radio. But, if the traffic’s really heavy, or if the weather conditions are bad, I have to turn off the radio and focus on driving.

fremen_warrior's avatar

I’m not talking brain surgery, or some such, here, but for instance studying for an exam or learning vocab.

Come to think of it now I might have phrased the question wrong.

gailcalled's avatar

I’d probably be more likely to play music while I was performing brain surgery rather than studying for an exam or learning vocab. Brain surgery is based on muscle memory; rote memorization is not. (These concepts may be pure rubbish, but I can imagine myself, scalpel in hand, playing The Ride of the Valkyries.

poisonedantidote's avatar

It depends what I am focusing on. If I am doing some intense cardiovascular exercise that requires focus, I will go with something like AC/DC chase the ace, or something with a good beat to it.

For study, I would go with funky 80s stuff, such as “last night a DJ saved my life” or “yes sir I can boogie”, something mellow but catchy.

Seek's avatar

While I’m at work, I’ve got one earbud in and watching Battlestar Galactica with the corner of my eye.

When I’m being productive at home, it’s usually something either really new-agey, like Loreena McKennitt or Clannad, or pop ridiculousness. I am shamelessly in love with Lady Gaga.

ucme's avatar

The one off the Ford ad.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I work in the music industry so I like slightly weird music, that being said here are my mind-wandering songs:
1)Vivaldi- Spring
2) Stuntin Like My Daddy-Lil Wayne
3) In This Moment-Blood

cookieman's avatar

Jazz baby. Specifically Stan Getz, Dizzy Gilespi, Herbie Hancock and similar artists. I have it on in my office all day.

Sadly, I run it through cheap computer speakers. I’m hoping for some nice ones for Christmas.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Anything instrumental will usually suffice. If there are words in the songs I tend to start focusing on the lyrics which distracts me from whatever I was trying to do.

As far as what kind of instrumental music well that all depends on my mood and can range from jazz to jam bands to classical music to ambient and everywhere in between.

RandomGirl's avatar

@uberbatman took he words out of my mouth.

dabbler's avatar

Slow classical piano music works for me. And Sanskrit chants.

bookish1's avatar

I used to only be able to work in complete silence, but round about the time I began grad school I started listening to music especially to outline and write, and now I would be hard-pressed to write my articles and papers without it.

Since I am a highly linguistic/verbal person, the music must not have lyrics, as that will always seize my attention. I almost always listen to energetic, progressive electronica like the Crystal Method while writing. I looped Weapons of Mass Distortion for days while planning and writing my Master’s thesis last year. Although Blunts and Robots has been doing it for me as of late.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

If I really want to crank out the work, I go rowdy. AC/DC, Hinder, Buckcherry, Alice in Chains, etc. I’m not a youtuber so I can’t always get the links easily.

augustlan's avatar

For physical tasks, I like very loud rock. For any mental task, I prefer silence.

fremen_warrior's avatar

@KNOWITALL Blood… hah, cool! I’d never think you’d be into this kind of music, me gusta ;-)

@bookish1 thank you for Crystal Method, will abuse it regularly. Playing it now, my learning experience is a whole new one now xD

tranquilsea's avatar

Classical music as always helped me focus.

ninjacolin's avatar

Lately, I’ve completely fallen in love with the “Germany Calling” show.
They release one or two every month and they have a large archive to catch up on if you haven’t heard of it by now.

The latest one was released a day or two ago and I haven’t heard it yet. It’s called the Stolkholm Syndrome show.

Each one has a different topic, very loosely adhered to. Makes me laugh and chair dance, and work all at the same time.

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