For me noise possesses a really annoying duality. I can get so easily distracted by a sound, but I also must be immersed in music in order to focus on almost anything. I am rarely found without earphones in, especially when I do homework. However, for me, auditory cues are often many times more distracting than visual cues. Whenever I hear a sound, especially one of unknown origin, my mind seems to fixate on the discovery of “what is making that noise?” As we discussed in class, I now have a name for this distraction: causal listening.
Auditory cues are much more distracting because when we see something distracting we immediately know its origin. There is not much more explanation, you see someone walk by in your peripheral vision and that is that. On the other hand, you hear a noise off to your left and suddenly you MUST know what it is coming from. This constant curiosity and causal listening I experience is why I have to listen to music while I study. With earphones in, I know exactly where the sounds I am hearing are originating, my music library. This helps me to focus in on whatever I am working on because I am not constantly curious of the other various sounds going on around me. Music also blocks all those out for the most part anyways.
My favorite music to listen to is definitely music that I already know. This helps me from being distracted by the new lyrics of a song that I have never heard. I can easily tune out the words of songs I’ve heard hundreds of times and just use it as an outside sound blocker. Another kind of music that helps me focus is anything without lyrics. This can be electronic music, classical, and sometimes jazz. This kind of music is most helpful when I’m writing something. I often find myself subconsciously writing or typing out the lyrics of the song that I am listening to, so while doing continuous writing I usually listen to instrumental songs. My favorite piece of music to study to is called The Lark Ascending originally composed by Vaughan Williams, which is a musical adaptation of a poem by the same name. I find it to be the most relaxing piece of music that I have ever heard, and I am posting the link so that next time you need 16 minutes of relaxation you can listen. This piece has all the properties of perfect study music. It relaxes me (so I stop thinking about the stressfulness of the work and can complete it), focuses me onto the work at hand and puts me into such a state that I completely ignore all of my surroundings. I have listened to it on repeat for hours because of these traits.
All in all, to me noise can be both highly distracting while in the form of random sounds, but can also be a great aid to my own personal focus when in the form of certain music. If I could find someway to stop myself from the constant causal listening that I experience maybe all sounds could become music to my ears, but until that is the case I will keep my earphones in and enjoy my focus.