Get Tuned In

At any moment you walk into my office, beware I maybe singing or chair dancing, ok well maybe a little of both. #AintNoShame. Music is one of my daily must-haves, well besides coffee duh, I’m a creative! Music can unlock creativity you didn’t know you even had.

The right music is key! Why do you think that gyms have certain types of music playing or you personally have a list on your phone that you play while you are running or lifting – I bet they are different types of music right? For real, go look I bet they are different genres. One list sets a pace or a rhythm and the other set gets your blood going giving you the extra umph.

The quiet life of a creative is no different, just at a different level. For me personally I think of myself as a happy person, generally, and love to start my day with a little sunshine and reggae while sipping my amazingly delicious coffee.  Like clockwork, my morning consists of three staple ingredients: first, I must have my over-sized cup of awaking liquid booster I so lovingly hold called coffee; second is my diffuser, its mist fills the air adding a subtle fresh scent yet it awakens the senses; thirdly, and most important is my tunes. Then it is go time!!

Lively (higher bpm) music has a whole suite of effects on your body. It’s energizing, it increases your heart rate and your breathing and it increases blood pressure. Slow music, on the other hand, is calming, it slows your heart rate and increases concentration as well as decreasing your blood pressure.

Didn’t know music had such an impact on you and creativity huh? Music can cause a shift in brain waves, which in turn causes a shift in our state.  For example, certain types of music are known to create theta waves —and typically, peaks of creativity occur during times when we are experiencing theta waves. My personal theta waves usually flow with the following genres, depending on the project at hand: my go to’s are usually reggae, religious, country, or rap/hip-hop with a splash of ambient.

So let’s see if the type of music you listen to, fits and what others genres you can play with to create a more creative mindset for your workflow.

I got the list below from the book The Mozart Effect: Tapping the Power of Music to Heal the Body, Strengthen the Mind, and Unlock the Creative Spirit by Don Campbell.

Classical music (Hayden, Mozart) has clarity, elegance, and transparency. It can improve concentration, memory, and special perception.

Impressionist music (Debussy, Faure, Ravel) is based on free-flowing musical moods and impressions, and evokes dreamlike images. A quarter hour of musical daydreaming followed by a few minutes of stretching can unlock your creative impulses and put you in touch with your unconscious.

Rock music by such artists as U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones, etc., can stir the passions, stimulate active movement, release tension, mask pain, and reduce the effect of other loud, unpleasant sounds in the environment. It can also create tension, dissonance, stress, and pain in the body when we are not in the mood to be energetically entertained.

Jazz, the blues, Dixieland, soul, calypso, reggae, and other music and dance forms that came out of expressive African heritage can uplift and inspire, release deep joy and sadness, convey wit and irony, and affirm our common humanity.

Salsa, rhumba, maranga, Macarena, and other forms of South American music have a lively rhythm and beat that can set the heart racing, increase respiration, and get the whole body moving. Samba, however, has the rare ability to soothe and awaken at the same time.

Big band, pop and top-40, and country-western can inspire light to moderate movement, engage the emotions, and create a sense of well being.

Ambient, attitudinal, or New Age music with no dominant rhythm (for example, the music of Seven Halpern or Brain Eno) elongates our sense of space and time and can induce a state of relaxed alertness.

Heavy metal, punk, rap, hip-hop, and grunge can excite the nervous system, leading to dynamic behavior and self-expression.

Religious and sacred music, including shamanic drumming, church hymns, gospel music, and spirituals, can ground us in the moment and lead to feelings of deep peace and spiritual awareness. It can also be remarkably useful in helping us to transcend—and release—our pain.

Gregorian Chant uses rhythms of natural breathing to create a sense of relaxed spaciousness. It is excellent for quiet study and meditation and can reduce stress.

Slower Baroque music (Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Corelli) imparts a sense of stability, order, predictability, and safety and creates a mentally stimulating environment for study or work.

Romantic music (Schubert, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Liszt) emphasizes expression and feeling, often invoking themes of individualism, nationalism, or mysticism. It is best used to enhance sympathy, compassion, and love.

So Next time you’re feeling low on energy or creatively blocked, try experimenting with different music and see where it leads you. I dare you!