Did you know there is actually science behind the effect of music on creativity? A study in the Netherlands showed that listening to “happy” music while working can help to arouse divergent thinking, the kind of thinking that is associated with problem solving and creativity. The study was done using classical music of different moods to see which sparked or didn’t spark creative thinking. The results were interesting. For the most part, the mood of the music didn’t make a huge difference in creativity thinking, all of it better than silence. But “happy” music made the most difference.
The question is… what constitutes “happy” music? According to the study, it is classical music that is positive and energetic, like Vivaldi. I love classical music, but it isn’t what gets me going. Too calm, too relaxing, even the more energetic pieces. And happy pop music? It usually has the opposite effect on me! Most of the time, it’s the music that everyone else calls “angry” that does it for me!!
When I write, I write to music. But my creativity-inspiring music changes from book to book. For Kissing Frogs, I listened to heavy metal, as did my main character Cassidy. The harder the better. The hard-driving beats of the music… there’s something about it that really gets the creative juices for me. Rammstein, Bad Wolves, Korn, Godsmack, Metallica, Disturbed, to name a few. Camouflage Christmas begged for Christmas music, but it was all the non-traditional kind. Metal and hair band versions make up most of my holiday playlist, like Winger, Warrant, Bon Jovi, etc. The first third of Eclipsed is fairly autobiographical, so the music that fueled it was the music of my middle school years. A lot of 80s hair bands. Guns N’ Roses, Def Leppard, Poison… you get the idea. Sandy Toes is set in Hawaii, so that’s what I listened to. I love, love, love Hawaiian music! There’s such a beautiful, lyrical quality to it, perfect for a romance set in paradise. Trust in Chaos, starring a kitsune (a Japanese fox dedicated to Inari), was accompanied by a random mix of hair bands, hip-hop, dubstep, metal. In the book, set in a post-apocalyptic future, Akiko finds an old iPod in a dusty trade shop. Tech is mostly dead, but the iPod is filled with all kinds of music that she loves. So, I listened to a lot of Poison, Blackstreet, Naughty by Nature, Skrillex, and Ansel Egort. Different books, different music to spark creativity.
Want to see my Spotify playlists?
What about you? What kind of music gets your creative juices flowing?