4 Dec

Music When at Work

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If it is to be a given that listening to music at work is allowed, then I have to say that it can be a handy tool along with a way to make the day pass. I, personally, make perfect use of music at work and am grateful for the ability to make it part of my workday.

For disclosure, I think that it is essential to know that my job is one of great responsibilities and multi-tasking is redefined. I manage three departments, and I am also the program manager for the single most significant contract in the company. Some people in similar situations feel the need to resort to high amounts of caffeine or other stimulants to get through a typical day. I find that I can utilize music to keep my mind right during the day.

Studies show that music improves concentrationWhat the type of music listened to is most important. Some people are content to have the lite FM station going all day with Phil Collins and Michael Bolton to fill a need to only have something in the background. Some people can have a personal music system strapped to their hip with their entire music catalog at their fingertips as their mood changes during the day. For some people, it is a matter of volume that gives them what they need from music. If the volume is below the sound of their work, they are struggling to hear and thus creating a distraction.

My music needs at work change at any given time during the day. I start out most mornings with Metal Rock Gods Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold, or Nine Inch Nails at a volume just above the sound of my work because I am usually alone in the morning for the first 45 minutes. The attitude and driving double bass of a band like this gets me in a high powered mood to get me the energy I need to do pre-game prep for my three departments. I have found that I am not getting as much done to get these departments lined up for the day with other less hard-driven bands.

Around 8 AM I am no longer alone, and so the volume goes down, but the content is the same. Disturbed will usually last until just after 9 AM when I find myself changing gears and needing to have deeper thinking capabilities. The bands I rely on for this would be the likes of Maroon 5 and Dave Mathews Band. These groups give me the amount of background noise with just enough thought-provoking groove to keep me focused on getting reports done and get pre-afternoon prep done.

The entire afternoon will be spent with modern rock bands such as The Used, Brand New, My Chemical Romance, and Fall Out Boy. Not demean their talent in any way, but these groups have just enough motivation that serves as adequate background noise for the afternoon. These particular bands pose enough tracks that a random mix of all their CD’s will last the five-hour stretch to quitting time.

One form or another, I have music on at my desk all day every day with the constant changes of content and volume contingent upon given situations. There are the times when the ultimate concentration is required which depending on the reason for the level of consistency will bring about bands like Peter Gabriel and Sting. Not only are they effective at any volume, but their music is also personally motivating given their level of accomplishment in music.

The only time there will be no music to be heard at my desk is when there is an impromptu meeting held at my office or the dreaded utterance of the words, “we have a problem.” Those words usually bring about the horrifying sound of silence at any desk. The sudden presence of your boss at your desk is also a music killer.

I honestly believe that the true answer to this debate lies in what music means to you outside of work. I have a great love of music and play drums, so I bring a different set of circumstances to the debate than someone who merely enjoys music but thinks that an arpeggio is a great place to get Italian food.

“Alan Baylock has achieved a goal that many artists aspire to, but often fail to reach: he has developed his own distinct sound as a composer. His writing is fresh, and is imbued with a great sense of spirit and fun.”
– Gordon Goodwin (Grammy & Emmy award winning composer/bandleader)

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“Baylock goes beyond the pale and creates moods and textures which challenge a big band to be on their best behavior. I have the highest regard for his writing.” – David Liebman