Don’t you wish you could listen to your favorite jams while working the daily grind? Well, maybe some people do get to enjoy this perk. But if you are like me in the corporate world with cubicles and dress pants, you’re probably worried about ever being caught with your headphones on. There are some days though, when your manager is out of the office, your working late and everyone is gone, or you are working on a project at home where freedom rings and you can finally turn up.
Research has proven again and and again that listening to music while working enhances performance. Some studies actually tell you which genre to listen to depending on what type of task your working on. Working with numbers? Stream some Mozart or Beethoven. Proof reading or problem solving? Slap on some David Guetta. Data entry with a deadline? Katie Perry will help you roar.
Turns out, silence is your worst enemy. In the same study, they discovered that silence resulted in the least efficient performance. Silence is just too distruptive. There’s no rhythm to distract you from all of life’s distractions. Our hearts have a rhythm, our brain waves work in a rhythm, and we perform our best when all of these beats are in synch.
But what about if you’re creating? Say you are a copywriter and you’re pumping out a blog post for your biggest client. What do you listen to? Personally, I prefer music that doesn’t demand too much of my attention while creating an ambiance of inspiration. I’ve compiled a list of my favorite music to listen to while working on something creative (in no particular order). If anything, I hope that you will be introduced to some unique and thought-provoking artists while scanning this list.
- Lux Vixens – The Music of Hildegard von Bingen: Jocelyn Montgomery with David Lynch
This is my go-to album. It’s super chill and relaxing, but has this element to it like I’m about to go into Middle-Earth for an epic battle. One of the things I love about this is that its in a different language. I have no idea what she is singing, but it’s beautiful and actually stimulates my imagination. I like it better that way.
- Gramatik – SB2
I’m fairly new to this artist but I’m an instant fan. In the “Downbeat” genre, it mixes some Jazz, Hip-Hop and Electronic. It’s hard for me to really put my finger on how to describe it. The reason I have it on this list, even though it breaks my “no (English) lyrics” rule, is that it’s simple and repetitive. The music loops with subtle differences in each verse. This consistency helps me keep my focus and let’s me lock in to whatever momentum I am riding on. Work to this and I promise you’ll find yourself tapping your foot and bobbing your head while spilling out some creative goodies.
- Mozart – Requiem
Kind of a given and I’ll also mention Beethoven here as well. This is another example of an album in a different language that sparks my imagination without distracting me from my train of thought. Fun Fact: If you ever played BioShock: Infinite (the video game), then you might recognize this masterpiece.
- The Piano Guys (self-titled)
An ultimate lyric-less masterpiece. It has mash-ups of songs by Mozart & Michael Jackson along with some modern songs made specifically with classical instruments. Honorable Mention: The Section Quartet: Fuzzbox. Same concept, a little more upbeat.
- London Philharmonic Orchestra- The Greatest Video Game Music
Think Zelda, Tetris, Angry Birds and Call of Duty… Only 20x more epic. Even non-gamers will appreciate this one. The excitement of being on the title screen about to begin the fun will stimulate your creativity and help you forge a masterpiece of your own.
- Claude Debussy- Debussy Through the Ages
This classical artist isn’t as well known as some others, but I have to share him with you. His songs are very tranquil and remind me of being a kid again. This music will bring out that wild imagination we used to have while we explored the world on our bikes pretending we were super heroes.
- Kevin “K.O.” Olusola – The Renegade EP
I am very new to this guy, and super happy that I discovered him. A mix of classical instruments with beat-boxing makes the right side of my brain do cartwheels. Working or not working, this EP does not disappoint.
I’m constantly searching for new and exciting music. What albums do you listen to while designing your creative projects? What inspires you to do your best work?