How John Coltrane's Music Changed My Productivity
Change through music
When I was growing up, productivity was never really an action that I could do well. Maybe it's due to the constant distractions of being Young, but ever since I started college productivity, (unless I was super into the topic) was just painful. The ability to focus on something that wasn't about my everyday life caused me a lot of frustration and it lost my interest in a matter second; it wasn't until I started to study at a university when my productivity increased. What changed? Nothing Really, except for the music I was listening to while studying. I didn't change the times I studied; I didn't change the length of studying I didn't even change the amount of caffeine or coffee I would drink. No, I traded the music. In my second semester at San Francisco State University, I took a class called the music of John Coltrane.
Before I took this class (which I only wanted to take the course because it seemed natural), I grew up listening to John Coltrane's music because of my dad. Who continuously played it late at night. So I knew his music, and I knew enough where I felt like I could be successful in the class. I didn't know a whole lot about jazz, and honestly, before this class at San Francisco State. I didn't even know any other jazz artists besides John Coltrane. I knew that his music could help me sleep, but I didn't know that I would help me change my day though, only turn my sleep cycle.
My teacher said on the first day of class: "This class isn't going to have homework." "This class is only going to listen to Coltrane's music and some explanation from me." My first reaction was as a student; yes, we don't have homework; thank God! After I had that thought in my head. My teacher said, "you can be on your phone, or you can do something else that you need to do. It can be homework or work or just surfing the internet." "I want you to focus on the music, and sometimes doing something else helps." In the first few classes, all we did was listen to John Coltrane's music while doing homework or surfing the internet.
We listened to different albums and collaborations he did with other artists like Miles Davis, Charles Barkley, Thelonious Monk. I felt like this is a class where we were not doing anything productive. All we were doing was listening to music and doing homework. College must be a scam I said in my head. It wasn't until the first quarter of my second semester that I realized I'm more productive. Doing homework assignments in my Jazz class increased my productivity more than doing homework at my school's library, listening to other types of music.
I'm not saying those pieces of music don't help you. But the soothing tones and sophisticated deliveries of jazz stimulate the mind not sporadically, but in a way that produces productive mind activity. The albums of John Coltrane's music that created the most brain activity for me is a love supreme, blue train, and Live At The Village Vanguard. When I listen to the albums, they help me calm down, relax, and focus on my work. Unlike most music, I listen to like hip-hop, EDM, and alt-rock. This music does pump me up and gets me focused, but I get more distracted dancing to the lyrics about drug dealing, compared to Coltrane's music. Coltrane's music allows me to get my mind mentally narrowed with the task at hand and not distracted. Especially these specific works from his three most famous albums.
"A Love Supreme" was a free-jazz masterpiece composed by John Coltrane in January 1965, two years before his early death. "A Love Supreme" was only the only voice recorded song that Coltrane did in his career. This album was the start of my introduction of Coltrane when I was a kid my dad would play this album late at night. I usually got a night of better sleep when my dad did. When I started using the music study, I found that I had the mental power as I did when I drank a lot of coffee after a good nap.
The next work by the legend himself is one of his earlier works but also might be his most famous work. The album released in 1958 on the Blue Note label, which did so well it got a gold record; what's the collection you ask?
The album is "Blue Train" this Hard Bop style of jazz album has one of the most famous openings in the world. The legendary trumpet-like sounds blaring in the start under the melodic piano drowns. The beauty of this work is the deep bellows of Coltrane's soprano saxophone. Which causes your body to relax like a musical massage in a day spa if you listen to this album with your morning coffee; you'll ready for the workday ahead.
The next work is a jazz holy grail and a cherished work recorded in a world-renowned New York Jazz Club. The club is called the Village Vanguard, which lies smack dab in the middle of Greenwich Village, which is nestled in Manhattan, New York.
This album (Complete set at The Village Vanguard) is world-renowned for its quality as a live recording, as well as Coltrane's set choice of songs. I'm typically not a fan of the live recorded album, like almost in spite of them, that is how much I hate live-recorded albums. This album is very much an exception to that hate I have because this is a beautifully recorded work that is easy to listen to when you have long study sessions at your school's library or a great coffee shop playlist to get your study done.
I feel these beautiful works of an unknown artist to my generation and perhaps people of the age before mine. Everyone should consider this work before your next study session or presentation grind. His works are a cherished treasure for your mind and the music lover that we didn't know we had inside us. I highly recommend listening to his music when you can't focus, and see what happens; it works well for me. I think it will work out great for you.