Recently, a fellow author posted a request on facebook. She wanted us to compare our writing output when in silence to writing while listening to Mozart. A few people took it a step farther and recorded their results while listening to a different genre of music. The consensus? It was very inconclusive. Some people wrote more listening to Mozart, and a few found their results were poorer. I was one of those people.
Because I've spent so much time listening to and performing music, I feel it's difficult for me to relegate it to "background noise." Often, when I listen to instrumental music, I remember myself sitting in an orchestra, playing the notes. I rarely listen to music without really hearing it. It's worse when there are lyrics. As I'm typing this, my husband has his Pandora Station (set to Josh Groban) playing on our television. I just listened to Josh sing a wonderful melody from his latest album, and now I'm listening to "All I Ask of you" from Phantom of the Opera. I'm trying to type, but I find myself listening to the quality of his voice, and the words to the song. If this were suitable background music, I wouldn't be able to name the music, it would just be—there.
I downloaded an album called "Creativity" by Steven Halpern. It's instrumental music, but there are no recognizable melodies in it. That seems to work best as "white nose" for me. I'm not humming along with the vocals because there aren't any. I'm not "playing along" with the instruments, because I'm not familiar with the tune.
Does this make me a strange duck? I hope not. I think it just means I'm wired differently than a lot of people. I love to listen to Mozart - in a concert hall, or any time I can devote my attention to him. But when I write or do anything else that needs concentration, I need to listen to soft, dreamy stuff that blocks everything else out.