I usually have songs from one of my many iTunes playlists going on in the background when I am sitting at my workstation at Commits and checking my e-mail, writing a blog post, speaking with my students, and, of course, playing Scrabble on Facebook. (Right now I'm listening to the acoustic version of "You Learn" by Alanis Morissette, pictured.)
I play music at work (and in my car) because... I enjoy it.
But are there certain songs that can get you motivated at work or get you feeling productive on days when that's not so easy? Songs that, perhaps, simply inspire you at the office?
Yes, asserts Dave Kerpen, an American CEO who is also a New York Times best-selling author and keynote speaker.
Kerpen recently published on his blog a list of 21 songs "to inspire you at work". On the recommended listening list you will find Eminem, John Lennon (can you imagine which song by Lennon has made it?), Beyonce, Michael Jackson, Queen, even Katy Perry.
Check out Kerpen's post here and see if you agree with the choices: "21 Songs to Inspire You at Work".
PS: Take a look at my "jam history" on This Is My Jam to find out what kind of music moves me.
- VARUN CHHABRIA (Class of 2012), associate editor of Books & More magazine, commented via Facebook:
For starters, instrumental music is scientifically proven to stimulate the growth and development of the brain, specifically the left hemisphere that deals with creative thinking and problem solving. Music with overtly aggressive lyrical content (such as Eminem's "I'm doin' this for me, so fu^k the world") doesn't come across as intellectually stimulating.
If I had to suggest listening to be inspired at work, I would go with Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, improv jazz like Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, or contemporary instrumental music (Russian Circles, Six Organs of Admittance, Snarky Puppy, The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation, Noveller, etc.) to name a few.
Here's another band and song to add to the list: Mogwai — "Take Me Somewhere Nice".
P.S.: Here's one of the websites that I've followed over the years about music's effect on the brain: Effects of Instrumental Music Training on Brain and Cognitive Development in Young Children: A Longitudinal Study.
- ANKITA BHATTACHERJEE (Class of 2014), who is currently an intern with the Statesman in Kolkata, commented via e-mail:
By the way, somehow, even before reading the list I knew Katy Perry's "Firework" would be on the list. It's one hell of an inspiring song! Another one that I'd like to add to the list is "Perfect" by Pink. These two kept me going through my dark days.
- NIRANJANA MURALEEDHARAN (Class of 2014), who is currently an intern with R Square Consulting in Bangalore, commented via e-mail:
- AJAY U. PAI, my 18-year-old nephew who is a budding economist, commented via e-mail:
- SAUMYA IYER (Class of 2014), who is currently an intern with Bangalore Mirror, commented via e-mail:
- ANANYA CHATTERJEE (Class of 2014), who is currently an intern with Fremantle Media in Mumbai, commented via e-mail:
As for the music I love, the song in question need not have the most inspiring lyrics. It just needs to hit you in the right spot! It somehow makes you want to work more :) Listening to music and connecting the songs with every situation you're involved in is beautiful! Somehow, there are certain songs which will remind you of a particular place and a particular time, every time you listen to it. :) Oh dear! What would we have done without music! :D
Talking about songs to inspire you, I suggest you all should listen to "I hope you dance" by Ronan Keating and "I've gotta have you" by The Weepies.
- LINSIYA PATRAO (Class of 2014), who is currently an intern with CNN-IBN in New Delhi commented via e-mail:
- RANJINI N. (Class of 2010), who is a copywriter with Radio Mirchi in Bangalore, commented via e-mail:
My choice of music depends on my mood. Personally, I prefer listening to melodious Bollywood music, and Meethi Mirchi on Gaana.com does exactly that for me. If I want retro, I switch to Purani Jeans; I can also choose from the playlists on the site.
Kishore Kumar, Sonu Niigaam, and Shaan are my all-time favourites. Romantic numbers, peppy songs, and contemporary hit tracks from Bollywood always work for me. Then there's the instrumental series called "The Elements" and "Sound Scapes" composed by five musicians, including Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma and Hari Prasad Chaurasia, which is apt when you are feeling serene. And when it comes to ghazals, nothing can beat Jagjit Singh’s soulful voice.
One thing has proved true for me. With radio playing all the time (even when I'd actually be happy to have a few quiet moments), the brain has learnt to be aware and consciously tune out the song enabling me to focus on the work at hand. You see, music essentially is not a distraction at all!
ADDITIONAL READING (AND LISTENING): Love music? Love the blues? You will love Shillong's Soulmate