Being an artist can be a lonely career. I am often alone during art creation and doing other things like marketing, application writing, admin, accounting, etc. Having music playing in the background is one of the ways I like to keep myself motivated, inspired or better prepared to take on aspects of my business that I find tedious and boring. But I also use music to further the enjoyment I get from the tasks that I do look forward to doing.
I am also an art instructor and I have been asked by students on numerous occasions what type of music they should listen to when making art. I have always found this question a difficult one to answer because for me, like art, music is subjective. You like a piece of art or you don’t, you like a song or certain type of music or you don’t. I play the music I like. I might recommend music that you may or may not like and that may or may not work for you.
If you Google search ‘Music for Making Art’ you might find resources suggesting that classical or baroque music would be best. Or you can also go to YouTube and do a search for ‘Background Music for Making Art’, you’ll get a bunch of playlists that you can try. I have tried these as well and I have yet to find a playlist this way that worked for me. What I do instead was to enter a recording artist or song that I like and let Youtube suggest the next few songs to play based on what I initially entered. This is the way I have found playlists that suit me.
But if you’re curious about what I listen to, here goes… Because of my eclectic tastes, I find that my music choices and the musicians I choose to listen to can change with the season, with my mood, or if I am influenced by something I heard at a restaurant or cafe, or from a film I happened to watch. But after I started taking my art seriously I found that I tend to fall back on certain types of music for certain tasks. I have one type of music for when I do admin and other office work. That music changes when I start on more creative tasks like making art or working on my marketing and content. I have a separate playlist for when I write (in fact I have this music on right now as I type this post). I am also often learning and taking virtual/online classes to continue to improve my techniques and learn better productivity and business practices, and this is pretty much the only time I choose to have no music playing at all.
When I write, I have a playlist that has music with no lyrics — classical or ambient. For admin type work, I often choose world, chill hop, jazz or Bossa nova. For puttering about the studio, I will have something nostalgic (I was born in the 70’s so I’ll have disco or ballads from that era or New Wave songs from the 80’s). When I create art, this will depend on what kind of piece I am creating, mixed with my mood or what I feel like listening to. This can range from pop, alt rock, funk, opera arias, folk, etc. Finding the right music or playlist to use as another tool in my art career has been invaluable. Perhaps it can be as useful to you as it has been for me? What kind of music do you like to have when working? What kind of music picks you up, what kind helps you concentrate? What tunes do prefer to rock to and get you motivated and feel more awake, especially during that lull after lunch?
Below are my current picks on Youtube:
When I am creating art
When I am puttering around my studio (usually cleaning up messes)
When I am writing
When I am doing office work