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Tuning up the shop

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I never work in the shop without music, although what I listen to may vary depending on my mood, the time of day, and the stage of the project at hand.

Reminiscent of that old Makita drill that I thought had died recently, my old shop radio ceased functioning. Unlike that drill, however, there’s no question the radio is seriously dead – earlier this week it made a single, sharp cracking sound, followed by the tiniest wisp of smoke issuing from its innards.

My wife bought me that radio in 1978, long before I had anything that could even be remotely called a shop space. Any work I did in those days took place out on the patio. But that radio was always out there with me, and it held a prominent spot in every shop I’ve had since. I have another shop radio that’s actually a better one, but I am going to miss that old Sony portable. A lot of memories there. A lot of music. When I’m writing, paying bills, doing the taxes, walking and chewing gum, or any other activity that requires lots of high-level cognitive brainpower I prefer peace and quiet. But when I have tools in my hands I’m never without music.

My preferences have changed over the years, but not drastically so. My favorites these days include the ’40s and ’50s channels or some smooth jazz or standards on XM for my regular listening. For a change of pace I might stream Internet radio featuring some acoustic indie artists into the shop. If I’m working at the end of the day I often go for some soft Celtic or New Age (however the heck you define that last). And, of course, Jimmy Buffett is perfect just about any time.

In short, the format of the music my alter depending on what I’m doing, but the music is always there. I work better with music; it’s as simple as that.

How about you – got any favorites when you’re in the shop?



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