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Monday, July 20, 2009

Thinking Music

Your task list is a mile long. Many shiny distractions surround you but you must concentrate. How do you make this happen?

For me, the answer is almost always the same - I put on my thinking music. For some people, maybe this is a style of music or a specific artist. That works for me but only for a limited time. When I really mean business, only one thing will do.

The soundtrack from The Last of the Mohicans.

Seriously.

Also, I've never seen the movie. I know it's long and about Indians. And a woman. Maybe she's an Indian. Or not. Honestly, I don't really care.

What I do care about is that this particular soundtrack has been helping me study, write, fall asleep, settle my nerves and generally increase focus for roughly sixteen years now. My grandparents bought the movie and it came with the soundtrack (on cassette). They wouldn't let me watch the movie at that young impressionable age but the soundtrack was mine for the taking.

And so it began. I literally wore through and destroyed the cassette. It was one of the first albums I downloaded online back in the good old days of Napster. If I was stranded on an island with only one album, it would probably be this.

Today, I have at least a million things to do. And my greatest failure is that I've left my iPod at home. No thinking music for me. This is going to be a challenge.

Do you have thinking music? Some equivalent that helps you work?

27 comments:

Fannyfanackapan said...

Hi - yes, I have two lots of thinking music, the first is a double CD 'Essential Bach'. The second is William Orbit - Pieces in a Modern style. These saw me through my degree, several professional qualifications and also favourite for when I am crafting. Lord knows how many times I must have listened to them.

:-)

Intense Guy said...

I do my best thinking in the shower - so guess something like a repeating loop of falling rain with a very occassional THUNK! for when I drop the soap would do it for me.

C. Beth said...

That is such an interesting bit of trivia! Honestly, music keeps me from being able to think. I need silence, or white noise.

Accidentally Me said...

"I know it is long and it's about Indians"...made me actually laugh out loud;-)

I don't have thinking music, but Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus tend to fix any problems I may have...

Mrs Cooper said...

Yes I do. It definately helps get you through the dark times.

Lyndsay said...

Oh, I am going to have to look for that. I love music and I have music for all kinds of moods and moments ... however, I don't excel in the "thinking music" variety.

Tori_z said...

It depends what I'm doing. If I'm writing then I like the radio on, and I like it on a station that has at least a decent amount of talking, because comments made by the people on the radio often spark ideas. If I'm doing housework then I prefer all music, preferably something bouncy (country music, for example... Dolly Parton works well. If I'm working on my crafts then I prefer to either have the TV on, or listen to an audiobook. As for when I'm trying to sleep... What helps with that varies from night to night, nap to nap, etc. Some nights soothing music works well (panpipes, nature sounds, soft instrumental pieces, etc). Other nights audiobooks work best. Other nights radio works best. And still other nights everything that makes noise irritates me and I want silence. The silent times are rare though, because silence often causes me issues due to an active imagination combined with being new to relying on hearing only.

Princess Andy said...

nothing specific, just having my ipod is a saving grace. i have a lot of different types of music on there and i'll just scroll through until something hits the right nerve.

last of the mohicans, eh?

interesting.

andy:)

robin said...

I am such a fan, you'd think I'd have something like this. But because I love music so much, I must give it my full attention. I can't use it as a distraction, at all. Well, maybe classical, like Mozart. But that's about it.
Didn't know you were a music girl! Stop by and check out my Musical Monday. :)

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

I use the Braveheart Soundtrack in a similar fashion.

I have a whole playlist saved on the computer that is devoted to 'writing gold', as I put it.

Also, sometimes, in college when I wanted to study, I'd play the Miss Saigon Soundtrack in the background. I hadn't seen the show yet, but I still played it.

In fact, the next night that the wife works and I feel like getting some work done, I think I'll queue it up.

blognut said...

Depending upon how intense my task, I usually prefer silence. However, if I do need a little background music, which I use at work to drown out the voices of others in most cases, I choose a soft, classical piano or violin and I play it very quietly. It keeps me from being distracted by other people's conversations. I can't play anything with words or a catchy beat because I'll either sing or dance, and there's no place for that in banking. :)

Snarky A. said...

I usually listen to Coldplay or a Swedish band named Kent when I study (which I do A LOT!). Unless I am cramming - then only Santigold will do.

Awesome post Cate!

mo.stoneskin said...

I would probably go rock if I have to get a lot of coding done really fast. If I've had a lot of pressure from above I may sulk under Massive Attack or Radiohead. It varies depending on the mood!

Meg said...

In meetings and church, and those places where I need to pay attention, about the only way I can do it is if I doodle.

When I was in college, my best studying was done at the University Center where it was very noisy. I could not concentrate when it was very quiet.

Seansmoma said...

I don't think I have thinking music. Most music distracts me because I'm sining along.

It's funny that you've never seen the movie but live off the soundtrack. I've never seen it either. Kind of turned of by the fact that it's very long and I'm told the end is sad. I HATE sad endings. Movies should not be alowed to have sad endings.

Jenni Jiggety said...

Silence is all that really works for me!

Eric said...

I agree with you and great points; 'thinking music' all the way!

I like majestic soundtrack-type stuff for creative thinking, art/stonework, or mundane things like buttering toast majestically.
Ex. Lisa Gerrard 'Now We Are Free', Braveheart, theme from Terminator 2, etc.

Debbi said...

That's a great movie. And soundtrack. I like to watch the movie in slow mo when that knifey-swordy thing hits the indian on the elbow. SO cool!!

I don't have thinking music, just pretty much my iPood and me. Whatever tickles my fancy.

The Wife O Riley said...

No music for me, but then again, it is a rarity that I have anything important to think about.

slacker-chick said...

I concentrate best to most classical music, Bach, Mozart...Wagner, not so much.

2cats said...

For thinking I need silence or John Lennon.
For driving in traffic I need the soundtrack from "Gods and Generals"
For cleaning I need Bob Seeger or Led Zepplin.

mzbehavin said...

I have to have music to write.... ABBA, anyone??? I know..... I know..... I'll have to go consider some "serious", actual, music... Cate.... Thanks again for making me think!!!

Midella Dapac said...

I love to listen to the Littlest Birds by The Be Good Tanyas while running. Does that count?

Lani said...

when I need to think...especially when I need to come up with words...I listen to the soundtrack to "out of africa"

also most new age music help keep my mind clear..... I like Yanni, Deuter, and VanGelis are just a few that I like

lagot said...

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Pacey said...

This is a great expressive post and I do have thinking music too. Actually a lot of them now. And I thank for the music or life would be a hell lot boring, isn't it? I blog hopped here from Jenn...You Know that Blog. Hope to be joining your 6WS soon. :)

TMC said...

When I've really hit a wall and I need something to pull me back into a warriorish, productive state of mind, I listen to the Fight Club soundtrack.