Okay, so I saw a negative comment on another thread about listening to "classical" music as background music at work, and it got me thinking. I do listen to music playing on my computer while I work, and a lot of the time when I have to really concentrate on my work I find that whole minutes will go by when I haven't really heard anything. I missed two whole movements of Mahler's 7th one day last week without even realizing the time had gone by.
It helps that I have my own office, but even then, I can't really crank it up like I would like to. (Then again, the only time I can crank it up is when I'm driving and when I'm on headphones.)
It also helps that I've been an avid listener for over 40 years, so a lot of the material I play I have given more concentrated attention to in the past and I can thus have it on in the background without losing as much as I otherwise would.
I've been surprised, though, how many times the people in the office just outside of mine have commented favorably on my music. And, I'm not talking easy listening stuff here. In a given week, I will have everything from Gesauldo to Harbison going on. It doesn't seem to matter (though opera sometimes doesn't go over well at all).
Does anyone else listen while working? How much of the time do you really hear what's going on?
(As I type this on my lunch hour, btw, I'm listening to Saint-Saens Organ Symphony.)
I work part time at a Thai restaurant and the owner is really nice and let's me listen to music while I work. It's easy to concentrate on the music for me because all I do is pick basil leaves off the stem and things like that so the work is kind of easy "auto-mode" work, if ya know what I'm saying, allowing me to concentrate on the music more.
I can't listen to anything at all while I'm at work. I sometimes have to deal with angry and distressed members of the public & it wouldn't be very good if they could hear Sam Ramey belting out Ave Signor in the background. Can't listen on head phones either - too many phone calls.
I'm a court reporter, so what I type in depositions on my stenotype machine comes out 97 to 99 percent translated correctly, and when I'm home, I'm just editing the transcript, so I can listen in the background without a lot of trouble. Of course, it's not detailed/hyper-focused listening, but I do get familiar with a lot of music that way.
My work (auditing, financial compilations) requires immense concentration, where one mistake can throw off important numbers by thousands. That's why our offices are so quiet - everyone's concentrating so hard they can't have any distractions!!
During the summer, I work full-time at an art camp for children. We study the art of a different country or region every year, so sometimes in the studio we will put on music from whatever culture we are studying as background music. But I definitely don't listen to classical music while I'm at that job.
During the school year, I have two part-time jobs. One is in the kitchen of the dining hall at my college. In the dishroom there is a boombox that is always playing horrible music by bands that are basically cheap rip-offs of ACDC, only with more yelling. So that's what I listen to there. My other job is sitting at the desk in the music library, doing librarian-type work. Since I spend much of the time just sitting at the desk waiting for people to need my help, I often listen to music I like on my headphones and/or do my homework. It's a pleasant job.
I listen at work in headphones, the excuse being to drown my noisy inconsiderate neighbors so that I can concentrate. I mix all kinds of music and play at random. While this may seem blasphemous to some, it's always fun to try to guess what is playing if I'm not too familiar with it before looking at the iPod display.
On a side note, an interesting thing happened last week because of this listening method. Something horrendous came on random play -- some sappy light music that sounded like it came out of some 1950's Doris Day comedy. I thought, "why in Perdition is that awful thing in my collection?" When I looked at the screen, it was a movement from Stravinsky's Symphony in Eb, Op. 1. Suddenly it sounded a lot better. That made me wonder if we perceive music differently when we know what it is, and if idolizing the composer actually changes our perceptions.
Back on topic, I do listen to music at home with a lot more focus, and if people think it's blasphemous to hear Beethoven at work as a kind of sonic wallpaper, I ask why? It's still there to be worshiped or whatever later on. Should I listen to some blond cookie cutter diva with an exposed navel instead?