Should I listen to music while programming?
Despite any response that could have immediately come to your mind after reading the title, there is always a question lingering if we were right. Does listening to music help to focus and increase productivity? Or does it distract us and keep our attention far from what we intended to do?
The first thing to consider is how people perceive music. You may claim that it doesn’t get to you at all. Still, some things remain unchanged since the very ancient times. There’s no denying the fact that human race has always felt the rhythm. Even in prehistoric times, native tribes had their own chants that they sang during monotonous work. Then of course came the ancient people and flourish of music pushed towards poetry and domination of vocal music until now. It is so natural for us that we keep catching ourselves humming, whistling or singing along the song we hear. So many genres of music have been developed for years that everyone can find something for themselves.
Then of course comes The Song. The one that you are able to listen to on and on and never get bored. The one that fits perfectly to all of your dreams. The one that makes you emotional with only a first few notes. Your Favourite Song. Ask yourself it: does it affect your productivity? Probably the answer is yes. You can get distracted either by too loud and hard music, or by too much vocals in it. Even the rhythm matters (or in case of progressive genres arrhythmicity)! That’s why you should consider setting aside not only hard rock, rap and power metal but even some of the pop songs. Nobody likes to be constantly interrupted by unstoppable talking or having to outshout the music constantly. On the other hand, a bit of energical music to wake you up during rough morning can also do wonders. But it is a very specific situation.
So what music can we listen to? The answer is simple - the one with little to no lyrics and with gentle and smooth melody. This way for example talking about a new feature will not be intuitively drawn towards argument in response to what you’re hearing. You can help yourself to stay less aggressive, for music has charms to soothe the savage breast.
Now when you know what to look for, just do it! There’s plenty of awesome instrumental music, either performed on single instruments, a few of them or by the whole orchestra. If you’re not interested in classics, then just start from instrumental or acoustic versions of the song you like. And don’t forget to observe the difference in your productivity with it.