Advice Green

Music and Movement with Kia – My Driving Playlists

This post is a collaboration with Kia, but all thoughts and experiences are my own.

Did you know that Kia originally started out as a bicycle manufacturer more than 75 years ago? They’ve come a long way from there to providing a range of electric cars and hybrid vehicles such as the Kia EV6 which gets an impressive real-world battery range of up to 328 miles and has ultra-fast charging that allows the car to recharge from 10% to 80% in 18 minutes! Now that’s convenient. I absolutely want my next car to be either hybrid or fully electric.

Kia have recently done an interesting test study on music and driving in the Kia EV6, led by Dr Duncan Williams. A predefined route, a fixed playlist and a trial of participants who had never driven an electric vehicle before led to some interesting results. “What we found from only two days of testing was that music really can have a dramatic influence on the real-world driving range of an electric vehicle,” said Dr Williams. What did he find? Classical music resulted in test participants “up to four times more efficiently”, whilst up-tempo pop songs “resulted in a more spirited and energetic driving styles that made them twice as inefficient.” Wow, that’s quite significant!

As part of the Kia Style Playlist Campaign I’ve been asked to share my playlists whilst driving. I’d love you to post yours in the comments too if you want to share!

What do you listen to when driving?

The main reason that we drive on a daily basis is to drop William off to school, and then head on to the work commute. My husband and I have very different tastes in car music, although we like much of the same music in general. Driving through Cardiff can be quite stressful. There’s lots of starts and stops, lots of cars weaving in and out, and quite frankly, a lot of impatient drivers. It’s slow and frustrating even at the best of times. Music can help make the time pass quicker and improve our mood whilst driving.

My Classical Playlist

I’ve always enjoyed classical music, but rather than orchestral music I personally favour piano music. As someone who has always enjoyed playing piano, there’s just something about the sound of piano that I find calming – and I definitely need to find my inner calm at 7:30am in gridlock traffic. I also like deep strings, and of course some orchestral pieces – pass on heavy brass through! But I’m also still a little sleepy and battling through the morning brain fog, so I don’t want anything that might put me back to sleep, so the right music is important.

Starting off the journey with William in the car (only 5 minutes down the road to school) I have, starting with Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 21 in C Major. Once William is dropped off we can up the tempo a little with Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor (Op. 16) which will definitely wake me up. And then a few calm, but not sleepy pieces to continue on to work, like Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 16 in C Major and Piano Sonata No. 11 in A Major. Here’s my full playlist, give it a try – it might make you a more efficient driver!

My husband’s Happy Tunes

Based on the research from Kia, I’m much more likely to be efficient driving while listening to my classical playlist, than my husband is when he listens to his upbeat tunes. But his music helps him get into a good mood for the day, and gives him enough energy to tackle work, so that’s definitely something to take into consideration. He’s a very high energy person and loves his fast paced tunes. It may not translate into efficiency, but he gets to work quickly and safely – and in a good mood!

On the way home he’s always in a good mood and will listen to feel good pop and classic tunes.

He often doesn’t listen to a set playlist, but is happy to listen to the radio, or to random songs that Alexa chooses for him. People like David Guetta, Avicii, George Ezra. This is the track that’s playing everywhere right now and he often comes home singing!

Or for something a little bit calmer for the drive home but still up-beat and catchy, a classic feel good George Ezra.

Our family journeys – 90s style!

When we go on longer journeys I like to listen to nostalgia. For us, that means 90s indie rock music. Classic bands like REM, Pulp, Greenday, Blur, Bon Jovi, Foo Fighters and so on. There’s no swearing so it’s suitable for the whole family, and I like encouraging William to listen to music from all eras. He’ll dance to everything from jazz to classic rock from the 70s, 80s and 90s, to today’s top pop hits.

Music means a lot to my family and I. I’ve been playing classical musical instruments since I was a child and was part of many orchestral youth performances. As an adult I still play my piano and I have several relatives working as professional musicians. William is already showing a strong leaning towards music, he loves the piano and he’s already started learning sheet music, although I don’t want to put any pressure on him. He loves to dance and to listen to music at home and in the car, and I think it influences the mood he arrives at school in as well.

Driving can be stressful these days. There are a lot of cars on the roads, tons of traffic and everyone is in a rush to get where they want to go. Sometimes driving can be incredibly frustrating – but it can also be an absolute joy when the road opens up and you’re excited and looking forward to your destination. Finding the right music for you could make you more efficient according to Kia’s research, but most of all in my opinion, it can make driving a lot more relaxing and help you get to your destination feeling calmer and happier.

I hope you like these playlists, but there’s so much music in the world, it’s such a personal experience to choose from and there’s no right or wrong music to listen to whilst driving – although maybe you’ll want to try classical (like Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 which was used in Kia’s experiment) and see if it gets you to work more efficiently in the future! Let me know what you think in the comments. I’ll leave you with that Beethoven whilst you think it over!

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