This article is mainly about How Music helps to Concentrate while programming? But before getting in the discussion that what the music can do and what the music cannot do, does it really help you with your tasks and what is the power of music let us see What does the term Music mean? It seems to be an easy question to answer as we are all so familiar with the music but being familiar with something is not the same thing as knowing what it actually is. In simple words, music is vocal or instrumental sounds or both, combined in such a way that they produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion. It is also said Music is Food for the soul.
If anybody asks me what I think music is, so I would say for me Music is the language of feelings and passion and the primary effect of music is to alter your state of mind, making you energetic and full of life. But the most important thing comes here is to select the type of music to listen. Where music makes you happy it can also change your sad mood to worst. Music is more powerful than you think and selecting the right music which suits your personality is also a tough job. Now comes to the main topic, does music really help with your daily tasks? With a lot of research and personal experience, I came to the conclusion that music helps you or not totally depends on your brain and context.
Most frequently the students ask Does listening to music while studying really increase your performance? If we talk about programming, it is also like studying any other logical subject, where you need to focus on what you are doing. Now there comes two types of programmers, ones who listen to music while working, thinking that it will help us to concentrate on the task at hand. And recent research is supporting the thought that music can have beneficial effects on creativity. On the other hand, there are many who thinks that listening to the music while working can distract them, if they want to focus then they need the silent corner of the house where there is nothing to distract them.
As I had said earlier, music is helping you or not totally depends on you. If you really think you can concentrate on your code while listening to the music, then you should spend little time on internet searching which type of music will help you. Music can also prevent anxiety, increases the heart rate and systolic blood pressure, and decrease cortisol levels which are all biological indicators of stress. You are doing a lengthy and tough code and need to meet the deadlines soon, so the light background music with no vocals will surely help you to concentrate.
Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute discovered that adding the natural elements to your music can make you feel calm, boosts your mood and increase focus. So, it shows whenever you want to do something productive or want to learn anything so it’s a good idea to listen to some light, energizing and calming background music.
It’s also okay if you want to listen to the song with lyrics. But what I have observed is that while programming if you are listening to your favorite song then it will not affect your work and you will definitely enjoy even the boring code work. Software testing is also a hectic and frustrating task, including music with it is no doubt a good idea but for those who are comfortable with music while working.
Dr. Masha Godkin says
“Music activates both the left and right brain at the same time, and the activation of both hemispheres can maximize learning and improve memory”
Psychology says our brain has two attention systems: a conscious one that enables us to direct our concentration towards things we know and we want to focus on and an unconscious one that shifts attention towards anything our senses pick up from the environment that might be important, when you hear a noise when you’re alone at home, you pay extra and immediate attention to it. Here the music also stays in our unconscious and prevent us to pay attention towards the environment.
Psychology also reveals that developers can slide into a focused working rhythm with music much faster than without. Music helps to block out annoying, distracting noises like telephonic conversations, noisy chairs or that talking colleague who gets on your nerves. Developer Rob Walling listen to music to condition himself to quickly adopt a focused work pattern. While programming he would listen to the same tracks on repeat for hours until he could concentrate entirely on his work. It takes almost 20 minutes to build interest and get into the flow.
As I had said earlier background music is the best choice, but It doesn’t mean you cannot listen to a song with lyrics. According to the research, you can focus on your code even when you are listening to the song with vocals, but the condition is that you should already know the lyrics. It will boost up your mood and doesn’t affect your work. But if you listen to the new song, each word of it may distract you. I have asked many developers about their experience with music about how it does or does not help to concentrate while programming, their opinions are as follows:
I listen to music with no vocals. That does not need me to focus on the music and acts like background white noise. This helps me focus on the job at hand. I can avoid hearing people talking and getting distracted. It is a noisy kind of silence!
If I’m learning something new, silence. If I’m doing something that I already know how to do, I listen to music to kind of get in a flow.
I listen to music that matches the attitude with which I’m coding. If it’s intense, my music is intense. Casual and relaxed, the music matches.
Silence- when developing is my ideal. I have found that having a ticking clock is quite soothing, but maybe it just gives some part of my brain something meaningless to focus on, so it doesn’t wander off making up conversations with imaginary people.
Sometimes when I’m stuck, a little bit of distraction will break the ideas loose. Having the right music (depends on my mood) can help keep my thoughts moving forward
As you have seen there is both type of developers who can work with music and who can’t work with music. But it’s not a hard and fast rule that you will work well while listening to the music as compared to those who don’t listen. There are many programmers who can work with full focus without any kind of music but also in the fully noisy office. Two more things come to light are that people listen to music to avoid the noise of their surrounding and importance of choosing the right music track.