Sound Advice: Listen While You Work

Getting things done with your headphones on isn’t as simple as pressing play. Here are some tips backed by research studies on what sounds are best for focus and productivity.


“What is the best music to listen to while working?”

It’s one of those questions I get asked often, whether in the office or online. And since I enjoy producing audio and music in my spare time, and am constantly researching productivity topics in my role as a blogger for Wrike, I figured I should write this stuff down.

Obviously, the answer will depend on your audio preference. I can’t force you to listen to downtempo electronica if you like film soundtracks, or if you prefer the ambient sounds of a restaurant. I can however provide you with some guidelines surrounding audio and work, backed by science.

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Hot Night for BT: Electronic Music + Dehydration

Originally published in PHILMUSIC.com : June 2000

Last May 5, 2000 at Club Fun in Glorietta, Makati, (Philippines) the American electronic composer/producer/performer known as BT graced the stage and took the primarily college-age clubgoers on a crazy trip through his dreamy trance soundscapes.

bt-02Because he is no DJ, there were no turntables in the performance space. Instead he played live on three keyboards while a pre-recorded mix of his compositions pulsed out of his DAT player. The effect was no less explosive than a DJ spinning vinyl.

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Julia Fordham’s 3rd Manila Concert is the Most Positive Yet

Originally published in PHILMUSIC.com : March 2000

“When I last sang this song, there was a couple who got engaged to be married right here. I don’t know if they’re here now… Ooh! There they are!”

Julia Fordham starts to screech like a little girl as a couple approaches the PICC stage with a wrapped gift. After accepting the gift, the singer prompts the guys in the audience: “So all the men out there, if you want to propose to anyone, there will be lots of romantic songs tonight that you can go down on one knee to.”

Then she launches into a crowd favorite entitled “Love Moves In Mysterious Ways.” The immediate applause is interjected with squeals of delight from the audience.

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Anggun’s Exotic Musical Odyssey

Originally published in LOCALVIBE.com: February 1999

When Anggun finally takes the stage at the Music Museum after an interminable two-hour wait and starts her dreamy Indonesian tune “Selamanya,” the crowd is in an awed silence. Her mellifluous alto washes over us like water, setting the mood for the rest of her set. Then her live band kicks it in with “A Rose In The Wind” and she greets the crowd with one sentence: “Welcome to my world.”

We dive straight into her musical dimension of spirit and sentiment, breathing her music — a potent fusion of Western pop and Southeast Asian sensuality. It’s a captivating place where she shares her dreams, memories, and journeys.

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