Who doesn’t love to hear a good melody while working? It’s relaxing and often it’s a lot more fun to write/draw/work with music than without it. But is it any good? Maybe you are thinking that of course it is, good music inspires creativity, right? Here’s the thing: hearing music while working it’s (technically) multitasking. Your brain is switching on and off between activities. One moment you are paying attention to the music, the other you are paying attention to the drawing. This can be very unproductive.
Ok. I’m not here to lecture anybody on how to do their things, this is also not a formal article but my own take on the matter. Do I believe drawing while listening music is bad? I kinda do, to be honest. I feel like silence can help you focus a lot better. This idea of working on silence came to me after I saw this Mattias Pilhede‘s video, although I don’t take his word as gospel I see where he is coming from and have tried this approach by myself.
But I want to tackle this from another angle; I want to tackle this based off my personal experiences and my struggling with my ‘space of work’. You see, silence is a tricky thing, and at first you don’t know it but it’s very rare. Of course, if you live alone sure you don’t relate with this issue, but in a family household there are noises more distracting that whatever music one listen to. I specially dislike the sound of whispers behind my back, it’s annoy me to the point that I prefer to stop working on whatever I’m doing and just go somewhere far away. The emotional distress of having a person in your own house that often talk to herself whispering very negative and accusatory comments that you can still hear it’s something I don’t wish to anybody, seriously. Other annoying noises are televisions, radios and… well, that’s pretty much my case, I don’t live with any kid, but I know those can be very noisy too, heh. It’s in circumstances like these where a pair of head phones are life saving.
But wait! Not any kind of music will do the job. Ok, maybe most kind of music will DO the job, but I really want to point out that listening new music is always more inspiring that hear the same 12 songs you have in your playlist. Get on spotify and find a playlist of an artist or a band you had never listened before. Maybe something atmospheric, maybe some lofi, classical or jazz. Listen to the indie new hits or whatever suit your taste, but make sure it is something new.
If that’s doesn’t work for you it’s ok. If you work listening to your favorite music it’s ok, if you work in silence it’s ok too. Everyone it’s different and work different. I just think that try a new approach may be good from time to time. In the end, people listen to music because music make them enjoy the work they are doing and that’s totally fine.
One more thing before I end this post: If you watched Mattias’ video you noticed he mentioned a particular experience the animator Richard Williams had that made him stop listening to music while working. Animator Eduardo Quintana bring to life that same experience with a fluid and FLAWLESS animated short. Do yourself a favor and watch it because it’s gorgeous.