I love to listen to music when I’m painting. Or really when I’m doing anything… It helps to stimulate my brain and give me something to focus on so that I can focus on the other thing.
So what’s on my current playlist?
Well it depends.
I listen to pretty much anything, but my overall favorites are movie scores and mashups. And I have certain things that I like to listen to for certain tasks.
For instance, as I’m writing this I’m listening to a Yiruma inspired playlist. Yiruma is an absolutely AMAZING contemporary piano artist. I love to listen to contemporary piano or cello music while I’m writing. I’ve also been super feeling it on my evening walks.
When I’m working with numbers - like budgeting or running payroll - I love to listen to more of a R&B type of music. I can focus on the words of the music while the other half of my brain focuses on the numbers on the screen.
Painting, crafting, or other artsy type things I’ll put on movie or video game scores. The crescendo and decrescendo (up and down) of the music helps me to get in the flow of creativity. But… this type of music can also leave me a little jittery if I listen too long. It’s all the lead up to action and then no action I think. Sometimes I’ll find myself super hyped up with nothing to do.
And lastly the mashups. They’re probably my favorite over all genre of music. Having multiple songs mashed together can take you on such a journey.
What does music have to do with creativity though?
There have been several studies showing that listening to music can lower anxiety and improve mood. And generally speaking - being happy can help with breakthroughs of creativity. Another recent study found that listening to upbeat classical music can help you perform better on tasks that require “divergent” thinking.
This doesn’t necessarily mean nerodivergent, just divergent in thinking outside-the-box, making unexpected combinations, or recognizing links between unconnected information.
On the other hand, there have also been studies showing that certain types of tasks are better accomplished without background music. And of course, each body and brain is different.
I definitely recognize moments when I am starting to get overstimulated and the music ends up being more of a distraction and causing more stress. In this case I listen to my body and how I’m feeling and turn it off if needed. Or don’t turn it on in the first place.
What about you? Do you listen to music when you’re doing specific tasks? Is it different genres for different types of tasks?