When I was in high school I could not read without music. If I read without some music on, I would quickly get distracted, wander around and my concentration level would be very low. And mind you that I did PCM, that is Physics, Chemistry and Pure Mathematics, among others.
My information intake was very high at this time. I would attend all classes, of course I wouldn’t be listening to music at this time, get the notes, do the quiz if the teacher gives any, and I would try to do some of the homework immediately after the teacher leaves, so that I would have a little less to do later in the evening.
Now when I had to study for myself, later in the night, this was the time when the music would come on. I prefered slow music, some RnB or anything other than heavy metal rock -:), I could not concentrate without the music. Simple as that, and I am surprised how I did that. With some music on, I was able read an absolutely new topic with complete concentration and fully grasp the subject.
So days passed, months, college, years, work, and now I am here, a Software developer. How I got here is a long story, so I’ll just skip that.
You might be surprised how I’ve changed. Now I can not, repeat, can not read with the music on. This is especially when I am taking new information in, like for example if I’m reading a technical book or an article about some new technology, or if I’m reading some piece of code I really need to understand, or if I’m reading a new programming book. With the music on, I go nowhere.
I’ll just drift and start thinking about something else. I have tried putting the volume very low, didn’t work, tried very loud, didn’t work, I simply have to turn the music off to really concentrate and take new information in. Otherwise I’ll just drift. The music gets to me all the time.
There are some things that I can do with music on. Like say read a novel, write code, debug code, write a blog post, take a test, etc. The only problem with music for me, is when I am reading some new technical stuff that needs complete concentration.
I understand that lots of people can read with music on, and concentrate and absorb new information without any problem, I can do that if I’m reading anything else other than technical, especially programming books. I guess this industry needs a little bit more concentration.
If you ask me how I came to this, I don’t know, but I guess some of it was because I self taught myself a lot of stuff when it comes to software development, and self teaching needs a lot of self discipline, including turning off the music because if you don’t pay enough attention, you’ll just get the tops, and end up writting crappy code and messing up work and ultimately your life.
So to summarize, music increases my productiving when I am doing a lot of things, like writting or debugging code for example and music decreases my concentration when I’m reading new technical stuff.
So how do you read?do you listen to music when reading or not?and how does music affect your concentration?