Music is a huge part of my life. There is rarely a moment throughout the day that I do not have music playing in the background.  Even at my job there is music constantly playing.  Sometimes this music is not of my own choosing or even something I like at all, like at work, but it’s there and it’s affecting me.  The way that music can affect you while you exercise, play games, do homework, and drive is incredible.  Listening to the “right” type of music can really help you get into the right mindset for the task at hand.  This also means that there are definitely types of music that will hinder your ability or desire to perform the same task.  For me, music actually becomes a serious factor in my performance and motivation while running and gaming.

For running, other than another person, music is the only way I can even try to keep pace.  Keeping pace seems to be the biggest factor in how far I can push myself.  If I can keep myself running a set speed, everything seems to just fall into place, and I feel like I can run forever.  Another thing I’ve recently found is that music helps me to ignore my breathing, which prevents me from getting winded.  The music will drown out my breath and keep my mind focused on associated memories or the lyrics of the music.  For my running, I choose to listen to songs by Tool, A Perfect Circle, Puscifer, Deftones, and other similar music.  A lot of this music feels very aggressive which seems to help push me and keep me motivated.

For gaming, music helps me create almost the opposite effect it has on my running.  The music I choose for gaming helps me focus on the task right in front of me.  It also causes the game sounds to become like an out of place cue for me to notice things that I need to react to.  From the sounds of an enemy player’s footsteps nearby in Battlefield 3 (BETA) to my base being under attack or an upgrade finishing in Starcraft 2, these sometimes subtle clues no longer fade into the noise of gunfire or a major battle.  To compare to running, however, the music I listen to while gaming also helps my pacing, the faster I can play and maintain that speed, the better my reaction times will be; and when dealing with sniper duels, every fraction of a second counts.  For gaming, I use a Pandora station created with dubstep and other subgenres of techno from artists such as Skrillex, Deadmau5, Unicorn Kid, Daft Punk, and Tiesto to name a few. The general lack of lyrics helps to keep verbal cues from teammates or the game itself clear.

The 8 bit sound causes some serious nostalgia.

Music really is a powerful tool if used correctly, and, in the same regard, if you listen to the wrong type of music for you it can be a distraction or even dissuade you from the task at hand.  I’ve had music just about stop me in my tracks while running because it killed my pace and my mood.  Knowing how music affects you can be a difficult thing, so be careful when choosing your mix or Pandora station for whatever it is you might be doing.

Do you listen to music while you game or work out?