The Music that Moves Us

Posted: June 16, 2015

Tara Clinton Strategic Partnerships Manager

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It’s not uncommon to take a stroll through the VisionPoint office and see team members with iPhone ear buds in or noise-cancelling headphones wrapped around their heads. Being the incurably nosey person that I am, I started to wonder what everyone was listening to and why.

Survey

Although the “Mozart Effect” doesn’t actually make babies smarter, multiple scientific sources suggest that cognitive stimulation through music that we enjoy does increase activity in the brain. I decided to survey the office to find out what types of music make us most productive, creative and self-disciplined (that’s one of our VisionPoints).

Results

The complete record of anecdotal survey responses is listed below. 

Zac, Marketing Director

I select my music based upon my mood and what I need to get accomplished. For example, I combat the rush of my early mornings with something nice and calm like “Peaceful Piano” on Spotify or something instrumental like Miles Davis on shuffle. The exception to this is when I’m on deadline…deadlines call for fast-paced foot-stomping music (read: Daft Punk, Mumford, Avett bros, Bleachers, etc.). My secret weapon is an electric string quartet called Bond.

My afternoon soundtrack is a mixed bag. But it’s not unusual to enter the nook and find Matt Walters and I with our feet on our desks, laptops on our laps, completely hypnotized by some of the greatest rock ballads of all time. I’m talking the Load Out, Show Me the Way, Thunder Road, Scenes from an Italian Restaurant…the list goes on.*

*If you don’t know who wrote those songs, shame on you!

Rebecca Swibes, Sales and Marketing Consultant

I’m not musically talented enough to create my own so I tend to just pick a Spotify playlist (usually under the Focus or Cardio “mood”–depending on what I want to accomplish).

Diane Kuehn, President & CEO

I flip between a few stations. But primarily it’s a custom station that I’ve created – called “Foo Fighters” but includes a bunch of other artists. It’s my favorite work station because it keeps my mental state alive and active. Basically, it pushes me through any feelings of procrastination.

The other station is a flute meditation station which reminds me of the music at the spa during a massage. I prefer that when I have heavy strategic thinking to do, as it’s relaxing and doesn’t distract me with lyrics.

Matt Walters, Content Strategist & Account Director

I have an instrumental guitar station I’ve built in Pandora — everything from classical guitar to Stephen Bennet’s acoustic renditions of Beatles hits. Listening to music without lyrics helps me focus, especially while I’m writing.

Toward the end of the day when I’m getting a little more tired, I usually switch over to my 90s rock Pandora station for a pick-me-up. I also really like:

  • Mumford & Sons
  • FUN
  • Avett Brothers
  • Ed Sheeran

When I get a win, I crank up some Uptown Funk. On Friday afternoons, Zac and I like to Ballad Battle…we take turns queuing up our favorite ballads, and we go back and forth. I could give you a list of our best ballads if you want…

Carissa Niederkorn, Account Manager

I don’t often sit still long enough to settle in and play some tunes. When I do, my go-to is instrumental music and scores from my favorite movies. (Like Harry Potter and Pride and Prejudice) My fear, with music with lyrics, is that I will start to serenade Micaiah and Jason. Then they will be so distracted by my musical talents that they will insist I try out for American Idol which will obviously result in me becoming a world-wide superstar. I’d miss my clients too much to become a superstar, best to keep the lyrics away.

Jason Katz, Account Manager

Basically, I listen to Spotify and everything on it at one point or another.  I’m going to do my best to break it down a little:

  • If I’m tired, I usually listen to the Have a Great Day playlist on Spotify, which includes songs like: ABC (Jackson 5), Ghostbusters (yes, Ghostbusters, Ray Parker Jr.), Happy Together (The Turtles)
  • If I’m having trouble concentrating, I’ll go straight classical, acoustic or electronic – but it has to be soothing with little to no lyrics — Daft Punk is also included in this category
  • I’m always down to listen to some Ed Sheeran – dude’s amazing. John Mayer is pretty awesome as well.
  • When summer hits, I’ll listen to some country music – I especially enjoy some Kenny Chesney – Ashley [Jason’s wife] and my first married dance was a Kenny song. I also enjoy folk rock, like Mumford and Sons
  • Finally, I grew up on and love classic rock (The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Rolling Stones and The Who).

You’ll notice a cappella was missing from this list — but I’ll admit that the Pitch Perfect soundtrack hits the playlist from time to time as well.

Micaiah Norby, Account Manager

I love anything calm while I’m working, like John Mayer and Ed Sheeran. Explosions in the Sky if I’m trying to focus, I always love Mumford and Sons.. and sometimes I mix it up with artists like Justin Timberlake, Zac Brown Band and Broods.

Cassie Marcantonio, Project Manager Intern

I’m forever stuck in the 90’s so my favorite station on Pandora is Summer Hts of the 90’s. (Goo Goo Dolls, old Train, Third Eye Blind, Matchbox 20) When I’m feeling particularly cool or hipster I’ll throw on my Ray Bans and listen to indie pop princesses like Regina Spektor, Lana del Rey, and Ingrid Michaelson. Guilty pleasure: Disney soundtracks. Hercules is my favorite.

Tony Poillucci, Vice President, Lead Strategist & Creative Director

Most anything without lyrics when I’m writing or doing IA work. Some faves are Wynton Marsalis (Amongst the People) and Miles Davis (Kind of Blue, etc.). When I’m designing, brainstorming or creative directing, anything goes. A mix of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against the Machine, Avett Brothers, Frank Sinatra, Bhi Bhiman, Johnny Cash or even Kanye.

Luis Popoca, Graphic Designer

Although he didn’t own up to this in the survey (an officemate who will remain nameless ratted him out),  Luis listens to the Zelda soundtrack!

Chris Francart, Web Engineer

I listen to just about everything (except maybe the ones where all they do is scream at you). My top 7 bands (and a good representative sample of what I like) include:

  • Barenaked Ladies
  • Dave Matthews Band
  • Incubus
  • Counting Crows
  • Mighty Mighty Bosstones
  • Death Cab for Cutie
  • Blues Traveller

I’d say my favorite genres/band types are skacore, jam bands and alt rock.

Tara Hardy, Marketing Program Coordinator

I definitely prefer music without lyrics to stay focused. Most of the day I listen to the New Orleans Brass, Gypsy Swing or Big Band on Spotify. I’ll throw in some Trombone Shorty ever now and then just to keep things interesting. In the late afternoon, when I’m just tired, I switch over to Coffee Table Jazz or Sax and the City on Spotify. I’m happy with anything that heavy on the trombone and saxophone.

In those moments when I need an extra push or am on a tight deadline, I bring in the big guns with film scores like Iron Man, Captain America and The Avengers. Marvel has never let me down and I do some of my best work when I feel like a superhero. 

Justin Herberger, Integrated Marketing Strategist

If you’d like a taste of some VisionPoint work jams, we put together a Spotify playlist to share some tracks from across the office.

Conclusion

After compiling all of the data, I’ve identified a few trends in our musical preferences. Key takeaways from the survey are listed below. If you’re looking to add some flavor to your workday playlist, I strongly encourage you to test out some of the VisionPoint jams listed here.

  • Folk rock (think Mumford and Sons, Avett Brothers, et.) are a popular choices for most of our team.
  • Instrumental music including piano, flute and acoustic guitar are great for helping us focus if lyrics are a distraction.
  • Classic rock ballads will never go out of style.
  • Although made for the cinema (or video games), musical scores have a place in the office and provide dramatic flair when needed.
  • Uptown Funk means it’s time to celebrate.