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Is your work inspired by music, as mine is?

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Is your work inspired by music, as mine is?

Postby Dave Jensen » Fri Jun 26, 2015 10:47 am

I count myself lucky that I have the kind of job where I can listen to music during my workday. I've really started noticing how the music behind me affects my day -- If I choose the right playlist, I can be inspired to work harder, to focus more intently. Choose the wrong music, however, and I'm unable to concentrate. I'm thinking that this is true for just about everyone.

If you are in the position of being able to listen to music while you work, let me know how it affects you, and what you've found inspiring. While we all have a different taste in music, I'm sure, there could be certain songs that just get you rolling. I've got my favorites.

For me, a guy who listens to folk/acoustic/classical during the day, there is nothing that inspires me more than the song "Morningside" by John Gorka. If you like Dylan's acoustic stuff from his early years, listen to John sing about how important work is and how much "luck" we create by our work. Here is the chorus, although reading it pales in comparison to the beautiful medley that goes with it:

Don't want to waste what I have to give
In all of the time that I've left to live
Don't want to waste what I have to give
In any of the time that I've got left
I can do more than I thought I could
Work brings more luck than knocking on wood
There's random bad and random good
Work brings more good luck.


Within the song, there's a section which deals directly with a topic we've spoken about here on the forum. Tell me how you feel about these words and how they might be speaking to the person who wants to go directly from a PhD program to industry employment instead of a postdoc:

You ask the world
And the world says, no
It's the world's refrain
Mine says, go
You ask the world
And the world says, no
It's an old world refrain
Mine says, go


Thanks - An unusual topic here for the forum, and I truly expect to get few if any replies, but I'll risk it.

Dave
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Re: Is your work inspired by music, as mine is?

Postby Rich Lemert » Fri Jun 26, 2015 12:21 pm

I have found that unless I'm doing something almost completely "mindless" I cannot listen to music while working - or even while trying to go to sleep. When I listen to music, I tend to go "all in," and I wind up being distracted from whatever it is I'm doing. I can't even run while listening to music - I usually end up adjusting my pace to the beat of the music.
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Re: Is your work inspired by music, as mine is?

Postby Dave Jensen » Fri Jun 26, 2015 1:00 pm

Rich Lemert wrote:I have found that unless I'm doing something almost completely "mindless" I cannot listen to music while working - or even while trying to go to sleep. When I listen to music, I tend to go "all in," and I wind up being distracted from whatever it is I'm doing. I can't even run while listening to music - I usually end up adjusting my pace to the beat of the music.


For me, it's entirely playlist-centric. I start listening to Bruce Springsteen and I can't work. Put on a spanish guitar and I'm focused tight on what I'm doing. Everyone's mind works differently, and I would love to know what this says about us Rich!

Dave
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Re: Is your work inspired by music, as mine is?

Postby BMK » Fri Jun 26, 2015 1:00 pm

I'll bite:

Whether I listen to music at work depends on my mood and what I plan to do that day, but generally I don't listen to music with lyrics while I work, that type is too distracting. I instead opt for very upbeat/uptempo instrumental pieces, like modern "Celtic" arrangements and music by artists like Lindsey Stirling (who in a nutshell could be classified as techno-dubstep violinist). Now I think a lot of people get turned off by the idea of "hyper" music, but for me at least, I really feel like it helps me focus; it drowns out random thoughts and lets me be more in tune (pardon the pun) with my work, ESPECIALLY writing. Its a lot like that Dobbie Gray song (one of the few with lyrics I have on my "work" playlist):

And when my mind is free
You know your melody can move me
And when I'm feelin' blue
The guitars come through to soothe me

Thanks for the joy you've given me
I want you to know that I believe in your song
And rhythm, and rhyme, and harmony
You helped me along, you're makin' me strong

Give me the beat boys and free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away
Give me the beat boys and free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away
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Re: Is your work inspired by music, as mine is?

Postby Dave Jensen » Fri Jun 26, 2015 2:55 pm

Great comment (and lyrics) BMK.

While the music choice is different, I'm with you. When I'm writing something, I'm really focused if I have the right playlist going behind me. Take it away and my mind wanders to wherever the next web page takes me to . . .

Dave
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Re: Is your work inspired by music, as mine is?

Postby Dave Walker » Mon Jun 29, 2015 9:02 am

I totally side with Rich -- if any music is too catchy my productivity goes off the rails. I think there's something to be said for classical and "coffeehouse" music in this regard.

The music-streaming service Spotify has a number of "Focus" music playlists with varying degrees of tempo -- pretty neat. And for noisy nearby conversations (I'm often working in public) I will even listen to noise generators. It sounded so weird to me, but there are apps to generate rainfall/airplane/white noises that seem to subconsciously work well.

When I need a break though, the music goes on right away :) Maybe it's a left/right brain thing?
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