Creativity's Workshop

Taming and Training Your Creativity to Write Abundantly


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How Music Can Boost Creativity

Little girl listening to music through headphones.

Silence is golden.

But the right music is platinum.

While I’m the first to admit to the necessity of silence at certain times in the creative process (sometimes having to insist on it when Jessica’s not paying attention), I’m also heavily addicted to music. The right music at the right time provides the catalyst for new ideas and the bridge to overcome creative blocks.

The trick is to find the right music for the right time.

Instrumental

For times when absolute silence only helps you hear the whistle of the wind blowing across the arctic tundra of your mind, soft instrumental music can provide just enough noise to help you along – the same way that the first few words on a blank page suddenly make the page far less imposing.

Baroque music (a style from around 1600 to 1750) is supposed to be very good for concentration. More modern equivalents could include Enya and Ottmar Liebert.

Movie Scores

When searching for the pacing or emotion in a scene, movie scores can provide a template or musical shorthand to build on. After all, their purpose is to tell a story.

Some of our favourites include Master and Commander: Far Side of the World, How To Train Your Dragon, the latest Star Trek movie and National Treasure.

Jazz

Recently Jessica and I discovered that jazz also has an influence on our creative endeavours. A lot of jazz is improvised, and this encourages independent thinking. Each musician makes the song their own, creating a unique interpretation of it, while still keeping the tune identifiable.

When you write, you’re using the same words as everyone else uses – just as musicians are using the same notes as everyone else. What matters is the way you use them.

What tune are you playing with your words? Are you sticking to the notes exactly as written on the page, or are you improvising, exploring and enjoying the act of playing?

When it comes to jazz, like listening to Manhattan Transfer, Katherine Whalen, Billie Holiday, Natalie Cole and, of course, Ella Fitzgerald.

Now, over to you. What kind of music do you like listening to? How/why does it influence your Creativity?