Should you listen to music during the creative process? 🤔🎧


January 31, 2024



I have met many specialists who advocate for listening to music when generating ideas, as well as executing them. On the other hand, some argue that complete silence is necessary to work as efficiently as possible. It is therefore not possible to give a definitive answer to the question posed in the title. Everybody's different, so you have to find what works best for you.

But, as you’ve surely noticed many times, music can have a profound effect on our emotions. Listening to a melancholic piece can evoke feelings of sadness, while an upbeat track infuses us with energy and motivation. You may not know that music also influences memory, attention, and even decision-making processes, though.

Website designers should thus carefully select the type of music to listen to, if at all, during work. Classical music, often lacking lyrics, can aid in concentration and help in detail-oriented tasks. It’s partly due to the structured rhythm and harmonies that help in organizing thought processes. Ambient-type music and basic nature sounds work in a similar way – they calm the nervous system, therefore making space for creative ideas to emerge. You can find many such playlists on Spotify.

Listening to music with lyrics is generally appropriate only when doing monotonous tasks only. But again, avoid melancholic tracks as they might dampen spirits and reduce productivity. Opt for something light and uplifting to maintain a positive and energized work atmosphere.

Selecting the right music for specific tasks can significantly boost efficiency and creativity. If your client desires a bold, energetic website design, consider listening to some rock instrumentals. For a website aesthetic that is more elegant and refined, classical music is the way to go.

I often listen to music while working, as it reduces the feeling of a sterile work environment, making it more comfortable and stimulating. But when I need to have a clear focus, I don’t always choose classical or ambient-type music. Often, d’n’b and rock music work absolute magic for me.

Keep in mind that However, preferences vary, so if you’re not working alone, it’s important to consider the individual preferences of each party involved.

My other tips to work with music in the background include:

  • Create playlists. Make time for crafting different playlists for different tasks. One for brainstorming, one for coding, one for graphic design, etc.
  • Keep the volume down. Music should never be a distraction. Have a loud party after you finish that great project.
  • Experiment with genres. While I've suggested that classical, ambient, and natural music generally work best, this may not be the case for you. Explore different types of music; they can lead to unexpected bursts of creativity.
  • Consider using headphones. Do you find the sounds around you distracting, which is why you listen to music while working in the first place? Don’t forget to use headphones, as they will cancel the surrounding noise and keep you focused. If you don’t want to listen to anything at all, consider the noise-canceling ones.

Until next time,

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What works for you? Do you listen to the music when working?

Petr Bilek - Visual Designer. Small Avatar for Social Media.

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