Music and Writing

As I sit on Crosland 7, facing the foggy outside on the due date of my project, some times I just take a pause from the writing and just think about the music I am listening to.

Need somebody
Who can make it better
Who can open up those gates

– “Favorite Song” – Toosii (Feb 17, 2023)

The quote above really has no meaning to this writing, but it set a nice quiet mood for me to write a nice introduction, before I moved on to Centerfold by The J. Geils Band.

Everything can effect the language and tone of writing, from simply how you’re sitting, what you’ve eaten or drank during the day, the time of day (3 AM), and of course, the music.

Some people cannot work with music playing, but for me, I am almost unable to work without music playing. For me, music provides just enough noise to keep myself somewhat focused. If I didn’t have music playing, I wouldn’t have much motivation to work, and if I were to work, I would get distracted by almost any sound or other thought. The combination of music and writing keeps my mind on one track, with some mild influence from the music playing.

Music also provides motivation to keep writing. While I was in the middle of writing the introduction, I got a snap from a friend simply saying “Now look at them yo-yos”. At this point, especially since I’m on my phone on Snapchat instead of writing, I was a bit distracted. But with his reference to the truly artistic song Money for Nothing by Dire Straits, I got more motivation to continue writing. High-energy music (such as the 2 minute build up to the opening guitar riff of the song) provide the kind of energy increase I need to continue writing and working into the very early hours of the morning.

Whatever I am doing, music is usually with me. For the past few days studying with finals, I’ve had to charge my AirPods 2-3 times a day, and charge the case every other day. The busier I am, the more music I listen to.

I guess I’m writing this for a few reasons, firstly, one of my favorite hobbies is, well, listening to and collecting music, even to the point of using ChatGPT to find new music. Secondly, this offers a perfect example of how programming and writing isn’t necessarily limited to text, but the multiple modes of input we need to work and write good work. Writing on its own, at least to me, is quite, well, boring. Staring at a computer screen while I tap away in a quiet room is quite boring, and I feel like my writing would also be quite boring, since I’m guessing all I’d be thinking about is the next thing I need to do. While having music playing, it provides that last bit of inspiration and energy to write something with personality! Even at a time like now, Friday, April 28th at 2:59 (please don’t worry about my amount of sleep, I will get ~8 hours, I just effectively sleep in a different time zone), I am able to have a high enough (I hope) energy writing by listening to some happier, more upbeat music.

Music is one of the most important things, to the point of where I sometimes need music simply to function, which might not be the best of things, but to me, music is what helps me work and helps me connect with others. When I meet new people one of the first things I want to know about them is music, firstly, to know if we share and common interests to discuss, and secondly, and much more selfishly, if they have new music I could listen to (of course I would give them some songs they haven’t heard before, so its not all for personal gain). Without music, the world would be without color, simply, bland and almost uninteresting. What’s a nice car drive without loud music and the windows down? Life is enjoyable with music, and music with writing just makes writing better.

Studying and work can best be summed up by this line from Kenny Rogers in The Gambler:

You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away and know when to run
You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealing’s done

Although this is about poker, you really just need to know when to stop, and when you should not care about how hard you’re working. At some point, you need a break, and like in poker, sometimes you just need a break to keep going on later. Music is one of these breaks to me. Hopefully this provides some insight into why the first and last thing I do in any class is put in or take out my headphones. Also, feel free to send me song recommendations, whoever is reading this. 🙂

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