Music at the bench

When I’m deep in thought, my radio is immediately turned ‘OFF’. I
find it lulls me into complacency. My mind (whats left of it) doesn’t
turn on it’s ‘creative juices’. I abhor even a disturbing telephone
call. you should hear my ‘blue language’ stir the air near my bench.
Is this only me, or do others share my frustrations of interruptions
of modern conveniences?.:>) But at least once an hour I do go for a
cuppa tea.“Earle Grey, Hot!”…‘Jean-Luc Picards, favourite
beverage…:>)’ Gerry Lewy …(still having fun creating things of
extreme value!)

Gerry, I agree with you about interruptions when working in my
studio. Music, telephones,conversation, seem to throw off my focus.
I really enjoy making. The sounds of wind and birds outside are
nice. Chris…(Who is still making things of questionable value)


agree with Gerry 100% I like to listen to the radio at times. But
when concentration is needed it is turned off.

Also I hate interruptions. Last week a friend of the wife’s called
by the workshop as her car was being repaired.

Had a coffee with her then went back to work she was going to stay
till car was ready. Lucky for her it was ready soon.

Broke my concentration and ruined my day. Why do people think you
have nothing better to do than amuse them?


I like to listen to music when I’m painting, but not working on
jewelry. I notice if I listen to music I like, I get too much into
it to workon something as precise as jewelry making. When painting I
have a bit more “artistic license,” so the music actually helps a
bit. The only artistic license you really have when making a stone
setting is pretty much just during the design phase of it. Dancing
or head banging won’t work too well in the actual execution phase,
lol. Nor when working with your torch! But I don’t like dead silence
either, so whatI quite often do is put on a TV show in the
background that I like, but amnot too interested in being focused on

  • usually something I’ve already watched. Like rerun marathons of
    History Channel stuff I’ve already seen. I’d never rent a movie I
    want to see for the firsttime then pull out a saw! That piece would
    end up looking as horrible as one would if I were head banging while
    making it. And I might lose a finger. And if I do choose to have the
    radio on, I listen to something like NPR. Damn, I guess that means
    I’m turning into my dad. But I agree with being annoyed by “modern
    convenience” disturbances. HATE the phone ringing. And that’s
    usually because it likes to ringRIGHT in the middle of a delicate
    soldering job. Usually accompanied by lots of “F” words. Another way
    I’m turning into my dad.
"But at least once an hour I do go for a cuppa tea."Earle Grey,
Hot!"..'Jean-Luc Picards, favourite beverage." 

This really made me laugh because I read it right after I switched
over to BBC to watch Next Generation!

Despite the fact that I love to play my cello and violin, and listen
to music while driving, I absolutely love silence and quiet
contemplation. When working at the bench I like peace and quiet too


Interesting. I love to listen to music when I’m working. It improves
my focus. My husband is also an artist, but he likes to listen to
talk radio when he’s working. He says music distracts him because he
is compelled to concentrate on it, but he can tune out the spoken
word, and it just becomes a pleasant background. He says it’s from
years as an art director in a busy agency. I really can’t understand
that because I’m just the opposite and it drives me crazy.
Fortunately my studio is on a different floor from his.

Janet Kofoed

I like music in my studio when I am working on designs. But when I
am making the piece I like total concentration on what I am making
so silence is most needed then…

Why do people think you have nothing better to do than amuse them?

Don’t know if your workshop is at home, Richard, or elsewhere: most
I think are at folks’ homes, and that’s the key to interruptions.

Somehow people don’t seem to equate being at home with also being at
work. If we had 9-5 jobs in a third-party location like an office or
a factory, nobody would dream of just dropping in to chat for a
while: they’d soon be sent away with a flea in their ear! It’s
because we work at home that people don’t perceive what we do as
"proper" work.

We’re taught to welcome people to our home, and I think working at
home is also probably the reason why we can be too polite to send
them off by saying “I can’t talk now, I’m at work” It can be a
trial. But as for the phone (which is not in my workshop) - I regret
to say I simply ignore it (it’s soooo easy!) and let the answering
machine get it.


I like it quiet when I’m problem solving or organizing, but when I’m
in the flow of doing the work itself (which is most of the time) I
like to listen to music, audiobooks or NPR. If I worked with you
lovers of quiet I guess I’d better bring my ear buds.


My sweetie Tim keeps a TV on all day while he’s working at the
bench. He has one of the little flat screen TVs that are usually
found in a kitchen.

Somehow he manages to get his work done and is pretty precise.

He likes to watch/ listen to Top Gear, old movies, and in the
afternoons the “Judge” shows.

I’ve worked with several guys who were addicted to Soaps and reruns
of Hawaii Five O and Perry Mason.

Me? If I am doing drudgery work I like to listen to music or my fav
podcasts from NPR. If I am doing something that takes immense
concentration I listen to instrumental music.

I suspect that those of us who learned our chops in busy trade shops
may be able to concentrate with more noise and distractions.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer

Hi gang,

Depends on what I’m doing, but I generally keep the radio or my iPod
going when I’m working. The only time I really shut everything down
is when I’m doing serious G-coding for the machines, and have to
keep several axes straight in my head.

When I’m engraving or chasing or doing other repetitive stuff, I
actually set up the ipod. Having something with a rhythm helps me
get into a groove.


I take off my cochlear implant processors and just work in silence.

since I have to teach in noisy classrooms, by the time I get home, I
just want silence. I haven’t been able to learn to tune out
background noise and power tools, especially the high-pitched flex
shaft makes me nuts.


I listen to audiobooks that I download from various free sites

Paf Dvorak

Here in San Francisco, we have music on. I prefer jazz and listen to
KCSM–easy, classic listening. John prefers vintage classic rock,
which I’m ok with unless it’s time to concentrate on tips or multiple
prongs. Friday we often listen to classic blues. Since we share one
large studio now-it must be by agreement. Mainly it’s background
sounds that puts us in the mood, although rarely it can be silence.

If we don’t want to answer the phone–our automatic
secretary (answering machine) does that for us.

Ciao, Jo-Ann Maggiora

I have several Pandora “radio stations” set up, so I can change the
selection depending on my moods.

Often it is classic hard rock, that helps me shut out any
distractions, but on other days I may be listening to Carribean
music varieties from BobMarley to Jimmy Buffet, so I can escape to
the islands as I work.

Country classics, one day, may be replaced by Irish groups like
Great Big Sea the next day, or I may even switch during the day if I
find the music at the time starts to distract or irritate me. some
days it may be a Grateful Dead day in the shop, and the next day
Waylon and Willie, and friends keep me flowing.

Whatever music makes me enjoy being at the bench that day is what I


I haven't been able to learn to tune out background noise and
power tools, especially the high-pitched flex shaft makes me nuts. 

I don’t mind the flex shaft but I hate the vacuum cleaners I use for
dust collection. I wear ear protection when they are on.

I have one that collects dust in water, have that for sandpaper
particles and have a shop vac set up on the buffing wheel.

I like the radio when I work, old peoples music Stones, Hendrix etc
or for a laugh I listen to parliament. I can’t believe we have to
vote for these clowns and pay them too. Sometimes I play CDs my son’s
metal band is good for hammering. Can’t wait till the grand daughter
does a show and tell at school and starts head banging and screaming
just like uncle Tim’s band. One song about politics has the chorus
"What the f*ck?" Fairly appropriate for the fools that run our world.
The band is Cast to Stone if anyone wants to look.

Heard that America has raised the debt ceiling many times since
1968. So you guys have been broke for 46 years. Wish my credit card
worked like that.



We are lucky to have access to three public radio stations. two
classical music and one talktalktalk. I listen to all three, music
and All Things Considered, etc., plus a gazillion cd’s (classical,
jazz, folk) when I’m in the studio.

Linda Kaye-Moses

Since we share one large studio now-it must be by agreement. 

Years ago I had several employees that were so disagreeable about
what was on the radio that I had to fire them. There was more to it
than that, of course, but essentially we always listened to classic
oldies on the same station. Then one day we had some extra help come
in to get the place cleaned up for a studio tour. The cleaner was a
friend of one of the guys, so he changed to a country station to make
her feel welcome. That stirred up a nest of hornets that cost two
full time and two part time workers their jobs.

I personally am very tolerant about what is playing on the radio.
But I have ugly experience about how seriously some people take it.
It is amazing to me the defiant pride some people have about how much
they hate certain types of music and how unwilling they are to endure
the tastes of others, even for a little while. Apparently my
experience is not unique.

Other employers have told me that when their workers get mad at each
other the radio often becomes a battleground. Not in my shop. Not

Steve Walker

um - excuse me, but Great Big Sea is a Canadian group and we are
pretty darn proud of them. It all started in Newfoundland probably in
somebody’s kitchen.

Enjoy the music you are working in, with and to.


Years ago I had several employees that were so disagreeable about
what was on the radio that I had to fire them. 

Aside from the argument over what to listen to, a problem was that
when there was a particular song that one of the employees liked
they would crank up the volume so loud that I couldn’t hear who I
was talking to on the phone. My solution was to remove the sound
system and give them each an allowance for a portable radio/music
device and head phones. That turned out to be one of my few great
decisions. The shop was much quieter and more focused.