While working on my dissertation (and preparing to teach classes at Georgia Southern U), I’ve spent countless hours at the computer. Sometimes, I need silence in order to work effectively. But other times, I want – no, need – to listen to music. I dislike regular radio because I find the ads disruptive to the creative process. I get tired of my own music collection that I’ve imported into iTunes. Yes, even with 4400+ songs, or 175 days worth of music with no repeats, I get tired of it. I tend to fall into the trap that many people do, listening to the same playlists over and over.
Just before the Christmas break, my colleague across the hall at work introduced me to Pandora, where you can listen to free – and commercial-free – Internet radio and discover artists similar to your favorites.
Tim Westergren, founder of The Music Genome Project®, describes Pandora this way:
Since we started back in 2000, we have been hard at work on the Music Genome Project. It’s the most comprehensive analysis of music ever undertaken. Together our team of fifty musician-analysts has been listening to music, one song at a time, studying and collecting literally hundreds of musical details on every song. It takes 20-30 minutes per song to capture all of the little details that give each recording its magical sound – melody, harmony, instrumentation, rhythm, vocals, lyrics … and more – close to 400 attributes! We continue this work every day to keep up with the incredible flow of great new music coming from studios, stadiums and garages around the country.
With Pandora you can explore this vast trove of music to your heart’s content. Just drop the name of one of your favorite songs or artists into Pandora and let the Genome Project go. It will quickly scan its entire world of analyzed music, almost a century of popular recordings – new and old, well known and completely obscure – to find songs with interesting musical similarities to your choice. Then sit back and enjoy as it creates a listening experience full of current and soon-to-be favorite songs for you.
So, depending on my mood at the time, you can find me listening to various and sundry Pandora radio stations. In the last 24 hours, it was
- Billy Joel Radio
- Goo Goo Dolls Radio
- Michael Bublé Radio
- Carole King Radio
- Patricia Barber Radio, and
- Disco Mix (slightly embarrassing, but true)
Listening to music while studying or working does have positive benefits on productivity. “According to a report in the journal Neuroscience of Behavior and Physiology, the Russian Academy of Sciences discovered that a person’s ability to recognize visual images, including letters and numbers, is faster when either rock or classical music is playing in the background,” as noted in an article by Kutchka. Sharon Stajda, RN, notes that listening to music also helps decrease stress levels.
Try listening to Pandora. I hope you like it as much as I do.