Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Music: Distracting or Relaxing?

Some people can only read in dead silence. Others have to have background noise or music playing in order to concentrate. A lucky few can read regardless of whatever is going on around them - they are able to completely tune out everything but the book. I envy those people.

I'm the kind of person who gets distracted by music. I can't set my iTunes to shuffle while I'm reading, but that is likely due to the kind of music-listener I am. I'm pretty much incapable of listening to music (that I know the words to) without singing along. This is not behaviour that is conducive to reading, as you can probably assume. I get too caught up in the music and end up losing my place on the page, or reading the same sentence over and over again without grasping the meaning of the words.

I want to be able to listen to music though. I love music, and I love reading, and I really really love multi-tasking. I'm the kind of girl who can't watch TV without something else to occupy me - I usually opt to play spider solitaire or browse Tumblr, but that's beside the point. What I'm trying to say is, I enjoy the way that listening to the right music really adds to the experience of reading a book. It just has to be instrumental.

When I first made the discovery that I could read to instrumental tracks, I downloaded the soundtrack of the first season of Game of Thrones along with a Doctor Who score album. One of these worked for me, the other did not. I found the recurring themes in the Game of Thrones soundtrack distracted me and pulled me out of the book. The Doctor Who scores worked better, but I didn't love it.

And then I turned to 8tracks. If you've never heard of it, 8tracks is a website that allows users to upload playlists (or mix tapes, if you will), and sort them using various tags. It is a godsend. I'm a big fan of searching for mixes with the tags instrumental + study. Nine times out of ten, they are perfect reading mixes.

Another cool thing I've recently discovered in the world of 8tracks is book-mixes. People create mixes that remind them of or are suited to listening to while reading certain books. 

The Corporation Presents, a Beauty Queens fanmix, 
Oh, I've a Love, a Pippa/Felicity mix (from the Gemma Doyle trilogy)

We Make a Sensational Team, a Code Name Verity mix (which made me cry)

I'mma sneak in a few of my favourite TV fanmixes too, just because I can.

Broken Bombshells, a mix about my favourite power blondes Quinn Fabray (Glee) and Mini McGuinness (Skins) that I'm absolutely in love with

Fell in Love with a Girl, Have I mentioned how much I love allydia? I listened to this mix pretty much exclusively for about a month.
Because You're a Lannister. I saved the best for last. The description is "probably the contents of tywin's ipod". Enough said.

Do you listen to music when you read? Are you a big 8tracks fan like me? Have you ever listened to/made a fanmix for a book?

Shameless Plug: I may have dabbled in creating a few mixes myself. They're pretty rad. Check them out: Wanderloved.

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