Music As Background To Your Life

Becky & Maren online in the AM

Becky & Maren online in the AM

As we move from city to city and hear from people online, we have discovered that there’s a big difference in the way people relate to music in their daily life. Younger people tend to like music as background noise to their life and can multi-task while listening to their favorites. In fact, some younger people find it impossible to work without music playing in the background. This habit may also apply to some older people (me included) but it does seem to be more of a music listening trend among younger people.

Conversely, people about 40 and older tend to want to play music at specific times to listen to while relaxing or for the sake of listening to music as a solo event. We had an interesting email from one of our Boomer team members, Jane, excerpts are below:

“As a boomer on the high end of the age-category, I never learned to hear music all the time as background noise to life. I grew up only listening to music when I specifically selected and physically started it going. It doesn’t occur to me to want to hear music while I for example walk the dog. William (her son) introduced me to Pandora at the computer where I spend lot of time, but I find it distracting. I like music, I could afford it. Would it be worth anyone’s while to train me to want it all the time?

While Jane finds Pandora “distracting,” Becky needs Pandora on in the background while she works on the computer. This was a challenge for us as we set up the RV for our trip as streaming Pandora would eat up valuable band width on our Verizon air cards. Our solution, Becky is listening to Pandora as we drive and at night, but we are tracking her air card usage…and we’ll have her switch to Jeff’s air card (same model) when it looks like she’s getting close to her band width limit. Cost us the purchase of an additional air card, but worth it to make sure Becky can work the Zoomer way.

Additionally, Becky was kind enough to give Jeff (our driver) her Nano for his use during the trip believing he’d enjoy music and video in our off hours. She completely cleaned off her Nano believing she had her music library on her computer. When she went to load her iPod Touch she was totally dismayed to find that she didn’t have her music files with her…and she had to settle for music she didn’t like that much. Then, when she lost the iPod Touch one day in the RV, she couldn’t work because she didn’t have her music.

Then…to add to her dismay about the Nano and her loss of music, it turns out that Jeff doesn’t really want to listen to music and watch video during his off time. He’s more focused on making our patio area outside the RV nice, fixing things around our camp, and generally living in the physical world.

In summation, I find that I’m learning just about as much from living 24/7 between a male Boomer and a female Zoomer as we do from our study participants. The RV has become a mobile test tube where I can live and observe how our different ages and cyber literacy levels contribute to our daily media habits, work styles, and communication strategies. This morning is a good example…Becky and I are already online…and Jeff’s out at a thrift store getting his physical world fix before we head for Las Crusas, New Mexico.

It’s 95 degrees already at 9AM…

Jeff Likes To Read The Paper In The Morning

Jeff Likes To Read The Paper In The Morning


One Response to “Music As Background To Your Life”

  1. Myself, I love to work to music and I find I work better that way. Even my 85 year old parents have music on when they’re working. That’s how I grew up and it just seems the norm to me. Saturday mornings was clean the room time and my mother would put on music and we cleaned. To this day, my parents almost always have music on in their house.

    It was a bit tough at work because I couldn’t use headphones as I needed to hear the phone ring. So I would have to keep my music really low if on at all. Then my computer would make all these stupid noises, i.e. when mail arrived etc. I hate those noises.

    My husband only plays music when he wants to listen to it. He is a mathematician and engineer and cannot concentrate if there is background noise. He needs it dead silent.

    I still have vinyls that I play but the usual medium is CD’s. I don’t own an ipod and don’t think I want to because it’s just one more confusing piece of equipment. I have my library of CD’s that I can look at and know when I put them on the music will be there.

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