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Question #90329 posted on 09/07/2017 11:08 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Do you prefer to study with voiceless (instrumental/electronic), a cappella, or "popular" (lyrical with instruments) music, on the occassions you study or do homework to tunes?

-Never played FTL but the soundtrack, especially the main theme, is 1337

A:

Dear you,

First of all, it's not just certain occasions that I listen to music. I'm almost always listening to music, and basically the only times that I don't are when I'm out with friends or in a class or meeting. When I'm trying to concentrate on something  like reading, homework, or studying  I usually listen to music without words. Sometimes it's classical/romantic era music, and sometimes it's film soundtracks, video game soundtracks, other modern orchestral music, or electronic music. I usually reserve alternative rock and hip-hop (my preferred genres of music with words) for when I'm walking, biking, browsing the internet, or pretty much anything else, but sometimes I listen to it when studying too. A capella music doesn't really do it for me in any situation.

-The Entomophagist

A:

Dear Ne'er,

I listen to music almost every waking moment not spent in classes, watching T.V., and, um... actually the rest is pretty much spent listening to music. I really like Indie Folk and Indie Rock music, so those genres end up being what I study to most of the time. I rarely study to music without people singing lyrics. Occasionally, I'll play some purely instrumentals.

~Anathema

A:

Dear 1337,

I most certainly do listen to music while I study/do work, and my favorite is Tycho, which is great and will inspire you to study and focus and groove. I found his music after a friend recommended his stuff to me and got me to go to one of his concerts in Salt Lake City. It was a great concert and I've been hooked ever since. The music has no lyrics, has a great groove, and keeps me awake, so perfect study music in my opinion.

Keep it real,
Sherpa Dave

A:

Dear Leet,

Frère Rubik talks about what music he listens to when he studies, and the answer may surprise you!

...

It was funnier in my head.

---

So here's the thing: music can help me get into a zone where I'm focused on my homework and not what's going on around me. It's like it distracts the part of my brain that doesn't want to think about homework so that the other part of my brain can actually do said homework. However, often I find that it's just as distracting to constantly have to break away from working on my homework to pick a new song to listen to. Sometimes, I solve this problem by listening to the same song over and over again, but that can also get old. It helps if I have an entire album to listen to, but those tend to last anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour, and in the past my physics assignments have easily gone on for three or more hours.

The most common solution to my problem?

Listening to Broadway musicals. Specifically, I tend to listen to Evita and Hamilton the most. For some reason, the words don't distract me. Maybe it's that I've already listened to them so many times that my brain isn't concerned with following along with the lyrics, I don't know.

But, I listen to non-lyrical music as well. "Appalachian Spring" is a regular choice for that category.

And, as of writing this answer, it occurred to me that opera recordings could also be pretty good, as they are long and excellent and have lyrics that I'm not even going to try and bother to understand.

This makes me weirdly excited to do physics homework again.

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!?!

-Frère Rubik

A:

Dear you,

I'll sometimes listen to music while doing homework. Usually it's non-vocal, although sometimes I can still concentrate with vocals. But if I'm trying to write or think especially creatively, the music is a distraction.

I reach sensory overload pretty easily (i.e. I'm an introvert). Sometimes plugging in music helps me avoid sensory overload from my environment, and sometimes the music itself is the sensory overload.

-Kirito