Music while reading
Music and literature are artistic expressions that compliment each other and, in many cases, inform each other. For example, Handel composed a musical work, The Messiah, based on the written words of Isaiah. Likewise, great written literary works are often derived by inspiration the author feels when enlightened by musical works.
The symbiotic relationship between music and literature can also extend into the reading experience itself. When a carefully chosen soundtrack is used, a reader can escape into a book and find great tranquility in the reading experience. On the other hand, if the wrong soundtrack is used, immense distraction can dominate what should be a peaceful experience.
Here are some suggestions to consider when choosing a soundtrack for your reading experience:
(1) Choose music that is ONLY INSTRUMENTAL.
It is nearly impossible to focus on the words on a page when your brain is simultaneously processing words sounding in the ear.
(2) Choose classical music
If you’ve NEVER tried classical music, now is your time, my friend. A good starting point is Mozart. In fact, Mozart is so popular as “thinking” music that scientists have conducted studies on something they call the “Mozart Effect.”
(3) Use headphones that are comfortable
Although this has nothing to do with song choice, it has everything to do with comfort. Headphones that are too tight or heavy can be distracting. My personal recommendation is to use earbuds, if possible.
(4) Aim for music that is familiar to your brain
Once you familiarize yourself with a playlist that works, then stick with it for as long as possible. It creates more of a background ambiance requiring minimal brainpower to process at the same time as your reading. New music takes more focus and attention for the brain to get conditioned to.
Reading is a rapidly diminishing experience in the human family. My hope is that we not only continue to fill our lives with but that we also fill our lives with good music. And it can all be done at the same time!