Music is an amazing catalyst to jumpstart the creative process, especially for artists. The audial medium is a fantastic balance for a visual art creation. Perhaps you already know this, because you have your favorite bands lined up and ready to go in your studio or workspace, but different types of music can change how you see a creative work, and how you translate and idea into a work of art. Think about how the score for a film helps set the tone, and start creating a collection of music to which you can "score" your art. Get to know the power behind music by trying out things that are beyond your regular listening selections.
Classical music has long been used to create mood and atmosphere in film, theatre, and even in cartoons (classic Bugs Bunny, anyone?), and there are many gems to explore in this varied genre. If you are looking for soothing, flowing music that seems to lift effortlessly from the silence, look to anything by Antonio Vivaldi, especially his work, The Four Seasons. This music is perfect for blending the soft hues of a spring sunrise in a landscape painting, or for doing delicate detail work on a portrait.
Looking for dramatic music that surprises and challenges your conception of music that follows a regular beat? Explore Gustav Holst's excellent symphony called The Planets. This music will literally lift you out of your seat during certain sections as it musically depicts that creation of our solar system, so get ready to feel the energy. Think Jackson Pollock, and the abstract energy he captured in his art. Think of bold sweeps of saturated color.
The difference between these two composers is staggering, and will certainly help to inspire your art. Just be sure you pick the right music for the right artistic inspiration!
It takes some experimenting to really discover what music helps inspire your creative process, so give things a try that you might not normally be drawn to. For example, look for music featuring a lone instrument, like drums, to charge your creative juices. Or, if you want to relax and flow through your process, try something like Peruvian flute. A simple, one instrument soundtrack can often help your mind focus more fully on your art.
Tips for Selecting Music
1. If you don't know whether what your hearing is artistically inspirational, try this little exercise: close your eyes while listening to something, and pay close attention to where your mind takes you. Perhaps the music reminds you of something from childhood, or maybe you get an immediate image in your mind's eye. Allow yourself to sit back, daydream, and let the music take you on a small journey.
2. Experiment. This is a place where you can literally do no wrong. Try something that is the complete opposite from what you would normally listen to. If you are a devout easy listening fan, then try something in the heavy metal or punk genre. If you are more of a rock lover, give choral music a try. The key is to get away from your normal to excite and stimulate your creativity. It's wonderfully that we can do this while note even leaving the comfort of our own home, if we want.
3. Be open minded. If your first feeling towards a musical piece is extremely negative, then that could be an amazing source for artistic inspiration! It's true! Any music that evokes a powerful reaction, regardless of whether that reaction is positive or negative, is an excellent possibility for inspiring your art.
4. Make notes. If you have certain visceral reactions to a piece of music, keep notes about those feelings. That information can come in very handy down the road when you are starting a new work. If you want to create a piece with a feeling of dissonance, separation, and doubt, then look to your notes about what certain kinds of music made you feel. Search out those feelings in your music to help inspire your creative process.
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