Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What’s Your Song?

What music puts you in the creative mood?

What music gets you grooving with your creativity? (Getty Images)

Music Time! Name the Tune That Puts You in the Creative Mood

One of the questions I love to ask artists is what type of music puts them in the creative mood, or if they have a particular song that is their art anthem. From there the conversation usually diverts to talking about audio books, podcasts, music genres to listen to in the studio (or not), and all things sound.

Most artists don’t have a gramophone, but many love to listen in an old-school way and nowadays that could mean anything from vinyl records to CDs and cassettes. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Spotify and Pandora and other subscription music services serve up customizable playlists and more.

The Static Hum

For me, I’m all about quiet…but not too quiet. You know what I mean? I don’t have a white noise machine — that would be too easy. Instead, I have several fans (three) that I use to create an audible hum that isn’t distracting and makes the quiet, well, not so loud. Several New York artists I’ve spoken with say there is nothing like the city traffic to get them in the zone.

The Right Beats

Music choice in the studio definitely varies artist to artist. Many like classical or non-vocal sound. Folk, blues, country, and modern jazz are also popular. From what I can gather, it is more about the tempo and the “feel” of the music that an artist seeks out more than a genre. A lot of artists say they like listening to music in languages they don’t speak — so that the songs become more sound than words.

Woman with Violin by Henri Matisse, oil painting. What music puts you in the creative mood?

Woman with Violin by Henri Matisse, oil painting.

Spoken Word

I know so many artists who stay up on their reading lists by listening to audio books while they work on paintings and creative projects. From the Game of Thrones series to murder mysteries, there is an audio book to suit any taste. I tend to like nonfiction more than fiction when I’m working. Podcasts are also super popular with anyone who works with their hands for a long period of time. I have a sculptor friend who told me about how he was 12-hours into a podcast series on zombies…not for me but he was loving it! He said it kept him alert for hours on end–to the good of his work deadline!

The Wrong Grooves

The music that jangles your nerves in a no-good way — that’s what to avoid when you are painting or doing creative projects. In a strange way, I can’t listen to music that I love the most (Motown) because I just can’t stop dancing around. So for me, it is nothing too distracting in a good or bad way. I also keep my phone on silent when working (text pings are the worst disruptions) and if a studio mate goes on a bout of throat clearing or sighing, I’ve got to drown it out or go crazy.

What Tune Is Right for You?

Leave a comment telling me your favorite “creative” song or the musical genre you like to listen to most when working on a painting or drawing. What music do you love to listen to? What you can’t stand? And get ready to pump up the volume as is now offering a Free Trial Weekend–four days of access to 600+ videos to start your art journey. Beginner or intermediate, landscape lover or still life obsessed, you will find the online workshop that lets your creativity shine. Sign up now at and enjoy!




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