Using Music To Fuel Your Creativity

Sep 21, 2015

Jose Rosado

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

Using Music To Fuel Your Creativity

Sep 21, 2015

Jose Rosado

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

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it’s no secret – music makes everything better. but does it make you a better creative?

Often times we find ourselves surrounded by ‘noise’ – blaring car horns, loud talkers, espresso machines, people cursing at the copy machine, even the hum of complete silence. It can be hard to escape sure, but the one way 99.9% of people do escape the craziness of everyday life is through music. So it should be no surprise that it’s a big part of every creatives’ life.

The reasoning behind unplugging from the world and surrounding yourself with music varies as much as the layout of a snowflake. We listen to up-beat music to get us psyched up for a workout, a big game, or even a nerve-racking interview. We listen to soothing music when we want to un-wind or plug into the introspective part of our day.

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Music has a very unique way, much like smells, of instantly transport us back to a specific moment in our lives whether it was a fun road-trip with a best friend or even a sad time after a big blowout with a significant other. Not many things can claim that kind of power over the human mind – except maybe Charles Xavier.

Music time-travel, referred to as an anchor, is not necessarily a secret, but what is really fascinating is when a specific song can actually create a detailed, intricate mood-board in your head; something you suddenly long to create + bring to life.  While on a four hour road-trip across PA from Pittsburgh to home in Philadelphia, I found myself listening to the same 3 minute song for the entire drive. Let me repeat that, I listened to the same 3 minute song on repeat for four hours straight. Reason being, I simply found myself haunted by the instrumental melody with no lyrics whatsoever, letting my mind fill in the blank space with a screenplay for a whole four minute short film – one that I’ve story-boarded with friends but admittedly am still sitting on to find the right creatives to make that personal project happen; since everyone needs a personal project every now + then, right? :)

MUSIC IS ONE OF THE GREATEST WAYS TO ENTER ‘MIND-WANDERING MODE’, WHICH CAN UNLOCK CREATIVITY.”   – DANIEL J. LEVITIN

For a lot of us this isn’t shocking – many creatives will link their inspiration for a certain piece/project/company back to all kinds of other creative mediums; such as movies, songs, photographs, paintings, documentaries, etc. With that in mind, it’s important to note that depending on what you’re working on really drives what kind of music you listen to.

That brings up a great piece by Content Strategist, Greg Ciotti, where he put together this informative list

Music For Immersive Tasks: What Works?

Although “music that you like” should be given preference, most people have a fairly wide range of tastes, so using a certain type of music just for work isn’t out of the question.

Below we’ll cover a few proven styles, why they work, and where you can find more examples.

Classical Music (Baroque)

Why It Works

Lacking in lyrics and often considered the finest form of the craft, classical music is a popular choice. One study made it clear that Baroque-period tunes have a measurable impact on productivity.

However, not all classical music is created equal—the dramatic twists and turns of Toccata & Fugue in D minor might not be as appropriate as the more delicate sounds of Für Elise.

Where To Listen

Examples

Two very long collections below, there are obviously many, others

YouTube video

https://youtu.be/gEibRc-oJKs

Electronic Music

Why It Works

Ambient electronica tends to fit our need for present but unobtrusive. As a genre it’s repetitive, but in a good way.

Unlike the ups and downs of a symphonic piece, there are quite a few producers who aim to create “soundscapes” (anyone remember Gabe from The Office?), which emphasize a few select melodies that build on each other.

The song’s focus can help your focus, as the repeating tones won’t be disruptive.

Where To Listen

Examples

Two quick examples from Vanilla and Ambinate

YouTube video
YouTube video

Video-Game Music

Why It Works

Game composers know that the ideal music for many situations is music that enhances the experience while not distracting the player.

One of the most popular suggestions of all time on Reddit for “music that helps with concentration” was the SimCity soundtrack, which makes perfect sense. Maxis designed the music to be enjoyable, but subdued enough that it wouldn’t zap focus from the many things you needed to do to keep your city running.

Where To Listen

Examples

I grabbed two quick examples from Skyrim and SimCity 5.

YouTube video
YouTube video

“Everything Else”

Why It Works

Anything soft enough to not divert attention and focus is a possibility for your potential playlist—different strokes for different folks.

If vocals don’t bug you during work, give them a go.

Jazz, hip-hop, indie rock, blues, and everything else is up for grabs, remembering that “ambient” is the word of the day for engrossing work.

Where To Listen

Examples

I really enjoy oldies for work, as they often have a softer tone.

YouTube video
YouTube video

No Music (Ambient Noise)

If you’ve had enough of these kids and their “newfangled dub steps,” fear not—sometimes the sweet sound of silence is the most fitting of all.

But for many people, total silence is off-putting. There are two useful tools you can use to fix this:

  • SimplyNoise — Playing a low pitch white noise in the background can be a lifesaver if something in your environment is being uncontrollably loud (such as construction work).
  • RainyMood — Work like it’s drizzling outside even when it’s 90° F and the sun is shining. This plays a loop of a mild storm; turn on a fireplace video and you can get seriously cozy.

About The Author

Jose Rosado is a photographer, producer and creative director from Baltimore. He is also the Host of The Angry Millennial Podcast. You can see more of his work on his site, and connect with him via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This article was also published here and shared with permission

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One response to “Using Music To Fuel Your Creativity”

  1. gregorylent Avatar
    gregorylent

    if it has drum machines or any exaggerated percussion, it’s out. if it has vocals, it’s out.

    most music is not as intelligent as i am, especially true when i am absorbed in creative discovery in my inner world.

    if it takes my attention, or distracts my attention, it is not serving my processes .. if it is exploring a journey, taking me somewhere, then it is ok, because that is what i am doing too.