The Effect of Music on Creativity

With creativity at the core of all art – it’s not too difficult to grasp the ways in which different forms of art are linked. As a global culture, we can all agree that music gives soul to the universe and flight to the imagination – as once said by Plato.

Our inherent love for art is undeniable and can be seen in almost all walks of life, embedded in the human existence. Turning any given moment into something enjoyable, music does in fact have further reaching implications.

Essentially, music has a substantial impact on our creativity, focus and overall productivity. In this article we’ll be diving into how music and design are linked, the scientific reasoning behind it, as well as some tips on how to integrate music into particular daily tasks.

What goes on in our brain?

Looking at the anatomy of our brain, it is sectioned into four distinct lobes – the frontal lobe, the occipital lobe, the parietal lobe and the temporal lobe. The temporal lobe alone is the part that processes music and sound however – and this is incredibly interesting – when listening to music, all areas of the brain are activated. This piece of information alone can be used to understand the importance of music when activating your imagination and design.

Let’s go a little deeper. When you listen to music your auditory cortex and cerebellum are activated. This information is then transferred and taken in by the amygdala where emotions are processed. Here’s where the magic happens. When listening to your favourite song, strong positive emotions are experience, which in turn results in the production of the chemical dopamine. Dopamine is responsible for the inherently good feeling you experience when listening to music. The end result is a positive emotional response which activates all areas of your brain.

With all brain areas activated, creativity is greatly facilitated as connections can be made more efficiently. In essence, it can be said that when listening to music we are able to focus, think clearer and create better designs. 

How to use music to enhance your creativity

As a general rule, when attempting to enhance your creativity it is important to listen to music that you really like and enjoy. There has been an abundance of research that has found that the best way to inspire creativity in your day to day life is to simply play the music that you love – with intention. Besides music there are 10 other ways to inspire creativity.

As we know, certain music is best suited for certain tasks, so let’s take a look at 3 general rules to follow when trying to enhance your design creativity using music:

1. Avoid music that you have previously associated with tasks that are boring or low in productivity

It is increasingly easy for our brains to associate music with particular environments, tasks, people and scenarios. So, in order to maximize creativity avoid music that bores you. When you’re a designer, being creative is essential – so make sure to choose music that inspires passion in you, creating the connection between your actual passion and music that reflects that feeling.

2. Look for repetition in music

Although repetitive music can be annoying to some, it does actually help with concentration, focus and drive. Repetitive sounds allow your brain to focus on the task at hand rather than letting your thoughts distract you.

3. Create the vibe you’re striving for in your designs

Consider creating a playlist that reflects the nature of the design project you’re working on. If you’re engaging in a high paced group project that requires a great deal of energy – select music that would facilitate that feeling. For example, for these tasks you can listen to hip hop, pop or even rap. The opposite is true for designs that are more laid back and are not on a time constraint. By doing this, you’ll make sure to ensure your designs reflect the tone of your intention.

Our favourite albums

Here are some albums with music known to stimulate your creativity while listening it.

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Fun Fact

Did you know, that when you listen to music that appeals to you, your brain produces a type of brain wave called theta waves. These waves have been associated with certain music types and are proven to characterise periods of heightened creativity and serenity.

So, with all this in mind, make sure to incorporate music into your design sessions in order to maximize your potential, productivity and most importantly – your creativity!

And, talking about creativity, make sure to check out our music related article with the best music album cover designs of all time or the best music cover designs of 2020!

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