How You Can Use Music to Increase Creativity

28 05 2009

Have you ever noticed the affect that music can have on you? Or did you know that certain types of music can help create a balance between the more logical left brain and the more intuitive right brain—a dynamic interplay thought to be the basis of creativity.

Music can be a very powerful way to change your mood, channel inspiration and tap into creativity.

  1. Music can create emotions or change your state. Music can alter or change your mood or state—for example, there is certain music that makes me feel more creative (lately it’s been Beats Antique), music that gets me in the mood to work out, music to relax to, etc.
  2. Music can be a powerful anchoryou can “anchor” in your creativity with music. Can you think of certain songs that brings you back to a particular moment, experience, or person? You can use songs to create anchors that link up certain feelings with a certain song.
  3. Here’s a quick tip on how you can anchor yourself to creativity and music. For example, anytime you have a brainstorming session, start playing music that gets you in a more creative or innovative space. And then continue to play that music anytime you brainstorm. After doing this a few times, you will become anchored so that anytime you hear that music, you will be in a more creative or innovative state.
  4. Music has a physical affect on you—both consciously and unconsciously. Sound is composed of a variety of characteristics: wave length, decibels, hertz, timber, pitch, vibration, tone, etc. At the most basic level, vibrating sounds form patterns and create energy fields of resonance and movement in its surrounding space. We absorb these energies and they subtly alter our breath, pulse, blood pressure, muscle tension, skin temperature and other internal rhythms. Depending on their wave forms and other characteristics, sound has a variety of impact on us.

Music Has Creative Powers: It Can Slow Down and Equalize Brain Waves

Music can cause a shift in brain waves, which in turn causes a shift in our state.  For example, certain types of music are known to create theta waves —and typically, peaks of creativity occur during times when we are experiencing theta waves. So besides anchoring yourself to music, you can actually use music to create physical changes.

  1. Ordinary consciousness consists of beta waves (14-20 hertz). Beta waves occur when we focus on daily activities in the external world, and when we experience strong negative emotions.
  2. Heightened awareness and calm are characterized by alpha waves (8-13 hertz). Music with a pulse of 60 beats per minute can shift consciousness from the beta toward the alpha range.
  3. Periods of peak creativity, meditation, and sleep are characterized by theta waves (4-7 hertz).
  4. Deep sleep, deep meditation, and unconsciousness produce delta waves (.5-3 hertz). So the slower the brain waves, the more relaxed, contended, and peaceful we feel.

So how can you begin playing around with music to see its’ affect on you? Below is a list of various types of music and the states that it can invoke. Also, if you haven’t tried it yet, check out It’s a great, FREE online radio station—you can play around and listen to any type of music, genre, or artist.

I got the list below from the book The Mozart Effect: Tapping the Power of Music to Heal the Body, Strengthen the Mind, and Unlock the Creative Spirit by Don Campbell.

Classical music (Hayden, Mozart) has clarity, elegance, and transparency. It can improve concentration, memory, and special perception.

Impressionist music (Debussy, Faure, Ravel) is based on free-flowing musical moods and impressions, and evokes dreamlike images. A quarter hour of musical daydreaming followed by a few minutes of stretching can unlock your creative impulses and put you in touch with your unconscious.

Rock music by such artists as U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones, etc., can stir the passions, stimulate active movement, release tension, mask pain, and reduce the effect of other loud, unpleasant sounds in the environment. It can also create tension, dissonance, stress, and pain in the body when we are not in the mood to be energetically entertained.

Jazz, the blues, Dixieland, soul, calypso, reggae, and other music and dance forms that came out of expressive African heritage can uplift and inspire, release deep joy and sadness, convey wit and irony, and affirm our common humanity.

Salsa, rhumba, maranga, Macarena, and other forms of South American music have a lively rhythm and beat that can set the heart racing, increase respiration, and get the whole body moving. Samba, however, has the rare ability to soothe and awaken at the same time.

Big band, pop and top-40, and country-western can inspire light to moderate movement, engage the emotions, and create a sense of well being.

Ambient, attitudinal, or New Age music with no dominant rhythm (for example, the music of Seven Halpern or Brain Eno) elongates our sense of space and time and can induce a state of relaxed alertness.

Heavy metal, punk, rap, hip-hop, and grunge can excite the nervous system, leading to dynamic behavior and self-expression.

Religious and sacred music, including shamanic drumming, church hymns, gospel music, and spirituals, can ground us in the moment and lead to feelings of deep peace and spiritual awareness. It can also be remarkably useful in helping us to transcend—and release—our pain.

Gregorian Chant uses rhythms of natural breathing to create a sense of relaxed spaciousness. It is excellent for quiet study and meditation and can reduce stress.

Slower Baroque music (Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Corelli) imparts a sense of stability, order, predictability, and safety and creates a mentally stimulating environment for study or work.

Romantic music (Schubert, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Liszt) emphasizes expression and feeling, often invoking themes of individualism, nationalism, or mysticism. It is best used to enhance sympathy, compassion, and love.




One response

28 05 2009

Very interesting! i’m excited to try this and see how it works:)

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