Saturday, July 24, 2010
Multitasking - specific ways it can be effective or not. PART2
Here is what has worked for me:
1) a primarily physical task that is semi autonomous, such as knitting or crocheting, can be successfully combined with a visual event such as watching TV.
2) A primarily physical thing, like walking and running can be combined with music, even if the music has words, because there are no meanings going on with running or walking, so the mind can be available to listen and enjoy the lyrics of a song.
3) On the other hand, if you are walking in a park with headphones on or using a cell phone, you are indeed missing out on the joy of listening to the twittering of birds (my favorite kind of twittering. . .no offense to the web tool). You also miss the sound of the wind in the trees, and quite possibly the sense of the breeze in your face, and are less likely to spot that delicate flower beside the path. So if you are out in nature. . .my preference and suggestion is to not overload your capacity to be present with either headphones or a cell phone.
4) When I'm working on a project on a computer, or reading, and there is something involving my thought and meaning generators (like while I'm writing this) what I have found to work is listening to music without words. Why? We are meaning generators, and words are the crucible in which meanings are carried. No iron worker making some serious molten iron would ever thing of carrying a bowl of soup in addition to the vessel of molten iron he's transporting. It can be done of course, but you may spill one or the other, with serious consequences. You may have noticed in life that each and every choice has a consequence.
5) Pay attention to what works in movies. Generally songs with words occur at the beginning or at the end of a movie, while we are simply viewing images of introduction, or lists of credits to which few are paying attention. In places in the movie where there is dialogue, there is supportive music without words that heightens and intensifies the mood, the tension, or the resolution, of the scene. When we see the montage of someone driving down the road on a road trip, just enjoying the scenery, that's another time when a song with words might be worth considering. Smart and effective. . .that's why they do it that way.
6) An exception to the music without words combined with visual images that I have noticed is this: In my most recent DVD entitled "Wide Nature", which is a compilation of 500 or so of my best nature and landscape photographs from the last 5 years, I wanted the music, quite naturally to play only a supporting role to my primary goal of providing an exciting yet relaxing visual feast. So most of my soundtrack is so-called New Age piano, light jazz, or other wordless music, that I chose to enhance the particular part of the movie. Here's the interesting thing I found: I could use some haunting music by with a Latin text without interference. Why? Precisely because there are no meanings associated with an unknown language. . .they are just interesting sounds. If you happen to know Latin, you get the added reward to some exquisite, spiritual words. . . or you can simply look inside the DVD jacket, and read them in 20 seconds with a minimal interuption, while conveying the meaning in one short burst.
Here's a link to just a tiny portion of the video several iterations before the final form, just for a tiny nibble.
Oooops, it's time for an ad or SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION - Copies of the DVD are available for purchase.