When I was a school and college student, I never had music to accompany me when I was working. I preferred complete silence so that I could concentrate. As I’ve got older, I occasionally let music intrude, but it’s still pretty rare and it depends on the kind of work I’m doing.

If I have to concentrate really hard on something, maybe a tricky spreadsheet or comparing red-lined documents, no music for me, silence is better. I realise of course that there are many people who couldn’t imagine working – even the concentration-heavy stuff – without music. The contrary works pretty well for them.

There’s the good and bad of music. On the good side, it lifts the spirits and provides diversion from manual or repetitive jobs – or when you’re plain ticked off. Have you ever noticed how hard it is to pick up an accent when someone sings? It’s always fascinated me how that works, something to do with the vocal chords resonating in a different, unifying way when we sing, perhaps.

Time flies when you listen to music, and sometimes that’s a good thing.

On the negative side, music can provide too much of a distraction, damage productivity and sometimes – when you hear a song that calls to mind a certain period or event – can make you plain cross or upset. It’s unbelievably evocative, and that’s its charm and its menace.

Music while you work – good or bad? It depends, of course.