As a kid, I did all my homework while watching TV — usually Star Trek reruns
— much to the chagrin of my parents. During my college days, I graduated to listening to music while I worked on my physics and math problems.
The refrains of my unusual musical tastes were loud enough that I couldn’t hear the mumbles, comments, complaints and curses that I’m sure my fellow academicians were voicing in their offices and dorm rooms next to mine.
Since I was a church organist, and an enthusiast about all things keyboard related, my speakers were constantly blaring the sounds of Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Triumvirat, Kraftwerk, Chick Corea, Patrick Moraz, Walter (before he became Wendy) Carlos’ synthesized masterpieces, Rick Wakeman and Yes, and of course King Crimson featuring their magically hypnotic mellotron.
In the workaday world that came after college, my cubicle was void of tunes, until I was promoted to an office where I could play my music — albeit at much lower volumes. I also tuned to college radio, so that I could enjoy a variety of music, and not cheese off my office-mate. See? I can be taught to be considerate!
Actually, that was only half the reason for lower volumes.
I found I enjoyed the music so much that it distracted me from efficiently performing my work.
These days, I wonder how I accomplished any work at all.
I shake my head in disbelief a how many of my peers work with loud music. For example, Richard Liparulo told me he often plays music conducive to the genre he’s writing – e.g., playing star-opera movie sound tracks while writing sci-fi.
I now most often work in silence. The noise, dialog and movie rolling in my head when I’m writing is enough and incredibly fragile. My budding efforts are entirely erased if music intrudes. That is simply intolerable to my muse.
On those rare occasions that I can tolerate music — usually when I’m doing light editing — I seek refuge with my old favorites. Though lately I tune into internet radio, streaming my old college radio station WMUH, or Soma FM’s 70’s, 80’s and Secret Agent channels.
So, what do you whistle while you work, or listen while you lurk?