Loud heavy metal used to make me get all my work done in high school and today I’ve no idea how I was able to think that way. My brother calls me an “old geezer” since opera and folk are more of what help me focus and get work done — though when writing I generally prefer silence. Sometimes a few songs are sure to make me focus (or simply relax) so that I can focus, though songs with lyrics can be distracting as I always seem to pay attention to the lyrics. In that case, electronica is the way to go.
Since others have offered their music playlists here recently, I’ll share mine – which for a while now has been set for specific situations:
O Mio Babbino Caro, Maria Callas (opera). When starting a new project this is the way to tune my brain into the perfectly focused setting. Works great for “destucking” the brain later on too.
Corcovado, Tom Jobim (Bossa Nova). After a hectic period this is great for de-stressing and calming down so I can get back into things. Not so great while working since the lyrics tend to bring tears to my eyes. Sniff…
Drifting, Manual (electronica). The water sounds in this song are really energizing so any time I need to refuel I just turn this on and I can work away.
Knuddelmaus, Ulrich Schnauss (electronica). Another energizing song with some head-bobbing action involved too. A go-to when doing extensive research.
Running Down a Dream, Tom Petty (classic rock). This is my war song when I’m preparing to work with a team.
Young Folks, Peter Bjorn and John (indie). If a bad mood’s getting in the way this perks me up. Side effects include head-bobbing as well.
But aside from the music I have, there are two streams I listen to that help me work:
WFUV.org. This is a station from an NYC university that just happens to play music that keeps me at my laptop when I need to work full days. They play everything from Arlo Guthrie to U2.
Radio DavidByrne.com. I like this when doing administrative work or other work with which I’m familiar since one never knows what’s going to come on here from one week to the next. David Byrne picks up great music in whatever country he visits and he puts it up in this stream.
(Image courtesy of Nina Matthews Photography under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 generic license.)