Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Music is my solace.

My summer of hell continues! On the bright side of things, I feel that my supervisor and I have reached a place of Zen, where we are on the same plateau. I am enjoying a lot of the reading I'm doing and I feel that with a lot of hard work in the next two-and-a-half weeks, I should pass and be upgraded to second year. At the moment I have just under 6,000 "good" words and am going to wake up early tomorrow morning to revise the last 2,000 just to make sure they are ok.

I do enjoy the quite late-evening time of day best. I like to put on some of my favourite music and spellcheck my chapter, double-check references and take it easy. I am a huge music fan. In my last blog post, I wrote about how I was looking forward to seeing Prince live. He was fantastic, playing a show of his many many hits (he even said "I've got too many hits!") and the weather was just beautiful. A little light rain for "Purple Rain" which was really lovely. I had great company too, as I spent time with my best friend who I get to see all too rarely these days.

While listening to music when studying may prove more enjoyable, I am of the belief that the distraction of music in the background may do more harm than good. Perhaps classical or instrumental tracks provide stimulation for the brain, but in my opinion 100% of brain activity should be focused on the task in hand. Either that, or staring out the window!

I would be interested to know the listening-habits of my readers. I think that different types of brain activity merit different approaches to music. For example, when I waitressed the only way I could get through the day was with pumping music in the background. When I worked in administration, I found the radio was important as it got me through the day (morning-time quizzes, lunchtime chat and drive-time afternoon). But when I sit in my lonely little cave and read or write up things for my thesis, I do so in dead silence. That's why I value my winding-down session at this time of night. The time where I put on a good few tracks or the radio and chill out! For posterity, here are some lists!

My favourite radio stations are: NPR, 6music and Today FM.
On my album playlist at the moment:

Lucinda Williams - Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
Kate and Anna McGarrigle - s/t
John Fahey - The Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death
The Strokes - Angles
U2 - Achtung Baby

In fact, you can keep up with my favourite music by becoming friends with me on!


Malcolm said...

For my part I think I have three levels of concentration. On the first level, any music will do. U2 and Bruce Springsteen are my favourites here. On the second, it has to be instrumental as I need to concentrate on the writing a bit more. Current favourites are both soundtracks - for Black Swan and Tron: Legacy! On the third level, I need to concentrate hard so all music goes off.

The Plath Diaries said...

Soundtracks are definitely a good choice Malcolm! I really like Jean-Yves Thibaudet's scores. He did "Atonement" and the Kiera Knightly "Pride and Prejudice" remake. Or Christopher O'Riley's piano versions of Radiohead, Nick Drake, etc. I've heard good things about Tron: Legacy (the soundtrack, not so much the film!) so much give it a listen!

Although I really would only listen to them when spellchecking, etc. My brain just can't concentrate on more than one thing at once! :)

Anonymous said...

I'm a massive music person. I can't have the radio on because the talking and adverts distract me. If I'm really concentrating I'll probably have it off, but that isn't a conscious decision so much as a reflex.

I like slowish folky/indie music for the most part when I'm working.

Zoƫ said...

I think early evening suits me best as well, I tend to put on soundtracks because lyrical music usually distracts me. Not anything too mellow though or I get sleepy - I put the lord of the rings soundtracks on when I'm preparing for bed! I didn't make a thesis playlist like some of my friends did but I think I listened to leonard cohen and lisa hannigan... i just contradicted myself there as they're both lyrical, oh well.