Does music help you focus & be more productive

The debate whether music helps people focus & be more productive has been discussed many times. What are your thoughts on listening to music, or any kind of background noise while trying to concentrate?
Personally, I prefer my atmosphere quiet while I’m working, but I’ve also heard that some people cannot work without some kind of background noise.
Where do you guys stand on music & productivity?

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I doubt this is what you are getting at, but I know I like to listen to music to relax and enjoy. Work at present for me has been somewhat stressful (mainly due to big organisational changes, not difficult work). If I were to listen to music to calm me down, I would run the risk of accidentally conditioning myself to associate nice music with stress and defeat the purpose of it!

Maybe the trick is to have the volume down low enough so the noise is there, but it is not identifiable.

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For me, this depends upon the work I am doing. If I am researching and need to focus on someone’s words (written or spoken), I cannot have music. This is also true of when I am trying to communicate with people. If I am writing something lengthy and involved, I can tolerate some music, but it is really just drowning out the ambient noise of my home… and serves no other purpose. I could have a white noise machine instead. When I am programming and working on a complex problem, however, I find that I work best with some music. I haven’t fully figured out why, but it happens. Often, if there is work I have been putting off and just not wanting to tackle, the same is true. Throw on some headphones and just bang it out.

There is one major thing though. I never listen to my favorite stuff while working. Music that I truly love, I listen to with my undivided.

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