While editing and writing today, I listened to some music. I can work in silence, but I generally prefer not to. I like to have some kind of noise around me. Even noise from a coffee shop.
Songza has a playlist called In A Busy Coffee Shop. It’s nothing more than the sounds that you’d find in a typical coffee shop: people talking, coffee cups clinking, doors opening and closing. I listened to it for a bit while I was editing. It wasn’t bad. I found it pretty useful.
I also listened to the radio and Peter Frampton’s’ Do You Feel Like We Do came on. Man, that is one song I can’t help but to not only listen to all the way through, but sing along with and generally just feel all tingly all over when I hear it. Here’s a version from that old 70’s show, The Midnight Special.
And anybody who remembers that show, I really need to get with you and buy you a beer. 🙂
That got me wondering about listening to music while we do other things. I found a few articles that shed some light on the subject.
Here’s a quote from it.
In biological terms, melodious sounds help encourage the release of dopamine in the reward area of the brain, as would eating a delicacy, looking at something appealing or smelling a pleasant aroma, said Dr. Amit Sood, a physician of integrative medicine with the Mayo Clinic.
People’s minds tend to wander, “and we know that a wandering mind is unhappy,” Dr. Sood said. “Most of that time, we are focusing on the imperfections of life.” Music can bring us back to the present moment.
Hmmm, dopamine is good. It’s that hormone that makes you feel cool and mellow. I used to listen to music when I worked in medical billing. It was a rather tedious, repetitive job so the music definitely made the day go faster.
How about studying?
Well, this article says NOT to listen to music while studying, but I think it depends on what you’re studying and what you’re listening to.
In one of his more recent studies, Perham says, he found that reading while listening to music, especially music with lyrics, impairs comprehension. In this case, it’s spoken lyrics, not acoustical variation that impairs productivity.
“You’ve got semantic information that you’re trying to use when you’re reading a book, and you’ve got semantic information from the lyrics,” Perham says. “If you can understand the lyrics, it doesn’t matter whether you like it or not, it will impair your performance of reading comprehension.”
I can’t listen to songs with lyrics while I’m editing, writing or reading. The words from the song interfere with my comprehension of the words I’m reading or writing. And if I’m not able to concentrate or at least pay attention to the lyrics of the song, the song, even if it’s my favorite of all time, isn’t nearly as pleasant. Songza has playlists for music while studying which feature lyrics or no lyrics.
Here’s an article about listening to music while working out. I would assume this is a given. Working out (or in my case, walking) to music is always of great benefit. But here’s a quote from the article.
Tabulated afterward, the results showed that most of the volunteers had generated significantly greater muscular force while working at the musically equipped machines than the unmodified ones. They also had used less oxygen to generate that force and reported that their exertions had felt less strenuous. Their movements were also more smooth in general, resulting in a steadier flow of music.
Finally, here’s an article about why some music gives us chills.
About 50 percent of people get chills when listening to music. Research shows that’s because music stimulates an ancient reward pathway in the brain, encouraging dopamine to flood the striatum—a part of the forebrain activated by addiction, reward, and motivation. Music, it seems, may affect our brains the same way that sex, gambling, and potato chips do.
More about dopamine. So, instead of gambling one’s life savings or last paycheck away, or stuffing your mouth with mesquite-flavored potato chips (I’ll not say anything about sex, leaving that up to vous), you’re better off listening to music. 🙂