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Ben Halpern
Ben Halpern

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Do you associate music with any fond coding memories?

When I was first getting into software development, I had a thing for The Doors, so I coded to songs like Riders in the Storm.

When I was early in my coding career, I had a Pink Floyd phase.

I recall one tight deadline where I had Nirvana on loop for hours.

Kanye was my go-to for productive coding sessions for a long time.

I go back to these places often to resurrect the headspace I was in at the time. Does anyone else do this?

Discussion (34)

bogdaaamn profile image
Bogdan Covrig • Edited on

I 100% recall getting my first laptop at 16 and coding computer science problems (some sort of leetcode nowadays) with Lana Del Rey on loop THE WHOLE NIGHT. Not even sure why, never had a Lana phase or liked her music that much, but it was just comforting mixing Lana tears with coding tears 👀

ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

Perfect answer

sroehrl profile image

Back in 2014 I was working together with the best programmer I have met to this day. He was as crazy as he was good. During one of our way-too-often "it needs to be done by tomorrow, but we have a week of outstanding work" codathons, a couple of trends hit all at once: we had standing desks and we decided not to sit down until it's done. He blasted a 5 hour dubstep playlist and soon we were hacking away to the beats as if they dictated our typing. I remember being completely in the zone for hours and none of us spoke a word for most of the night. Although exhausting, it was a magical experience.

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Youssef Rabei

I always code (or do anything really) listening to my favorite singer Sigrid but when I want to really focus I listen to my all-time favorite music The Theory of everything Movie soundtrack
And Thanks to one of many of your amazing features I can embed them

faraazahmad profile image
Syed Faraaz Ahmad

Everybody knows by Sigrid is amazing! And if you know what happened behind the scenes in the making of the justice league movie, it all makes sense

elmuerte profile image
Michiel Hendriks • Edited on

Not at all. If I play music while programming, it is not music that actively registers as it would be a distraction. Unless my brain is focused too much on the problem at hand, then any music disappears.
A long time ago I was in a serious flow and played a single popular annoying boy band song on repeat to annoy my flat mates. I have no idea what song it was, or which boy band, or even how long it was on repeat.

dalmo profile image
Dalmo Mendonça

From my experience, memory/sensorial association occurs whether you're conscious of it or not. I.e.: You may not recall what song it was, but there's a good chance that if you stumble upon that song it will bring back memories from that time.

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Mitch Pomery (he/him)

I was working on a university assignment one night writing a compression algorithm and had a Pirate Metal playlist pumping. I think I was working on some Bit to Byte conversion stuff at the time and write buffers to make it more performant. I remember finishing that, rattling my now empty can of energy drink and thinking "That was a good solid 3 or 4 hours of coding, I got a heap done, I should take a break". Then I looked at the clock; it had only been 30 minutes. I don't think I've ever experienced the same flow since, but Pirate Metal is my go to when I want to drown out the world and work now.

Not for coding, but I listened to a lot of Daft Punk while studying and doing practice exams in high school and uni. In the end I had One More Time on repeat to the point where when I would be tap my feet to the tune for the entire time I was in the exam room. I still put One More Time on repeat when I need music to help me zone out and work through something.

dalmo profile image
Dalmo Mendonça

What Pirate Metal bands do you listen to? I can listen to Alestorm all day while programming. The only other I know is Swashbuckle and I find it distracting with their shorter songs.

mitchpommers profile image
Mitch Pomery (he/him)

Mainly Alestorm. I don't generally pick my bands but instead use Youtube playlists and Spotify radios.

raphael_jambalos profile image
Raphael Jambalos

Mine is when I hear "Sugar we're going down" by Fall Out Boy. I recall the times we deploy a major feature in my previous employer's website and we are about to turn off the website to complete the deployment.

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Greg Thomas

The first team I lead - we were building software for Ivrs {press 1 for this or 2 for that). Part of the work required music in hold. It was a gruelling project so the first song I found was Tom Perry’s - I won’t back down.

It became our anthem to the extent that we played it on all of our test sites and everything internal that we did.

tittlemanscrest profile image

A couple of years ago while I was learning to code via YouTube, Treehouse, etc., I remember getting really into Mr. Robot. Not only is it a great series, but it also deals with CS concepts (or tries to!). It was fascinating to me, and it had a fantastic score by Mac Quayle.

Fast forward when I was going through my Bootcamp and whenever I'd be stuck on something I'd just zone out with the Vol. 1 soundtrack in my ears and type away like a damn madman.

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Gualtiero Frigerio

Usually I prefer to stay fully focused and don't play music while coding.
When it is time to perform boring/annoying tasks related to my job, I need something to keep me upbeat.
I avoid playing the songs I really love during those tasks though, as I don't want to associate my favourite music with unpleasant memories.

meisekimiu profile image
Natalie Martin

There are a few albums I listened to near the end of the day in the first few weeks of my first junior dev job, back in the "honeymoon" period of getting the job and before I got seriously burned out. I have such a fondness for those songs, but I haven't listened to some of them since those times since I feel like they only deserve to be played once I find myself in the position of working a new job I'm really excited about again.

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Firangiz Ganbarli

While I cannot associate music with coding memories, since I only listen to lo-fi playlists. BUT, interestingly enough, I remember the books I have read while listening to some music. Our brains work in mysterious ways. Do you not get distracted when listening to music with words while coding?

skydevht profile image
Holy-Elie Scaïde

I have music associated with particular learning phases from childhood till now.
"Au clair de la lune" When I was learning music (One of the few sheets I had)
"Wyclef Jean's sweetest girl" When I was tinkering with audio devices
"Eminem's Toy Soldier and When I'm gone" when I was learning English

I don't think I have anyone for coding as it took quite a long time (from C and python in high school, Java, Kotlin and Javascript/React in college) and my listening tastes have changed widely (hip-hop -> dubstep & trap -> dancehall -> Epic music -> reggae, post rock & alternative)

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Scott Simontis

I actually associate most of my memories to music. If a song comes on, I can probably tell you exactly where I was when I heard it the first time and any special memories attached to it.

I am a huge fan of Anjunabeats and Anjunadeep, so lots of deep house and progressive trance when I am coding. I also enjoy abstract hip-hop and gothic hip-hop, so I'm just as likely to be blasting some Mac Lethal or Atmosphere.

If it wasn't for music, I probably wouldn't still be here on this planet.

val_baca profile image
Valentin Baca • Edited on

"Nevergreen" by Emancipator is the first song on my Spotify Programming playlist and it's a testament to Classical Conditioning: as soon as I hear the first few notes, my mind is primed for coding

Full playlist:

Halsey's latest album reminds me of my iOS project.

Matt Woods' "Impression" reminds me of the red-eye flight I took to a fulfillment center to help resolve a Sev-1 issue.

Lately I've found the Doom Eternal soundtrack to be oddly focusing. Video game music in general is especially good for focus and attention without being distracting. However, sometimes such "ambient" music can be too soothing and lulls me into wanting a nap.

Other than that, I'm generally big fan of The Weeknd, Lana del Rey, & Halsey. The only time I listen to music is coding. (If I'm driving or doing chores I tend to listen to podcasts or audiobooks). So I find that music in general just makes me think of coding, but still funny that songs about drugs, sex, and love remind me of coding.

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Michel Renaud

I have too much of a diverse playlist (multiple albums during the day) these days to pinpoint one, but when I was in university in the early '90s, I remember working on my Algorithms class assignments almost exclusively listening to Motörhead.

shriaas2898 profile image
Aastha Shrivastava

I remember I had Linkin Park playlist running in the background when I used code in my early days then I during my college days sometimes I used to play rock songs or Punjabi songs when I was working on my project late at night. Now lately any song with lyrics seems like distraction so I switched to coderadio by freecodecamp and it is awesome <3

hi_iam_chris profile image
Kristijan Pajtasev

Always Linkin Park and the late night coding. It is just the perfect coding music 😄

momobm profile image

Back in the heyday, when I used to code for a living, the only thing that got me through sleepless nights was deep house music : no lyrics, not too fast, not too slow, so less distraction. Anyway, it's like whatever floats your boat right ?

almokhtar profile image
almokhtar bekkour • Edited on

@ben out of context have you ever tried to code your music with ruby

ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

I like music, but don't have a lot of personal music-creating abilities. I have, however, recommended Sonic Pi to my brother @mikeydorje who is a musician and Ruby developer.

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erica (she/her)

Finally Moving - Pretty Lights always takes me back to bootcamp! Music was always on, and that song was a staple.

madza profile image

Those are some lit names up there 🔥🔥
Great taste across a wide variety of styles 🎵🎵

ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

Thank you :)

spiritbro1 profile image

yes i always listen to drake all me while coding because i know sometimes i will be as rich as rich brian and drake

mbarzeev profile image
Matti Bar-Zeev

Wow, I had a lot of phases like these, but the most memorable one is "Fragile" by Yes.

whoadarshpandya profile image
Adarsh Pandya

Try listening indie classicals , absolute boosters to productivity 💯

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Rob Bhatia

I don’t code but I recruit coders which involves a lot of sourcing candidates and when I’m sourcing I like listening to glam and punk rock!

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Jose Adrian Castillo

The last project I work on was all inspired by Kansas.

beginnercoder17 profile image
BeginnerCoder17 • Edited on

It's not coding but I remeber when I was 10 I had to grind work at like 3 am for school and i would listen to Dr. Dre and eminem of course. also who likes eminem's new album?