Friday, March 7, 2014

Writing Alongside Music

     Do you write alongside music? Do you write with music streaming from another room? How does it work for you––or doesn't it?
     Music carries me through the day––from early morning coffee (New Age) to winding down for sleep with violin and piano melodies. Dione, John, Lang, jazz, and a mix of classic '60's and '70's  help while I prepare dinner. When I need an energy boost, there's something contemporary to be found on Sirius Radio.
     I take my iPhone out to the Cathedral of my garden where it serves up background music for the myriad birds, rustling leaves, and buzzing bees (two hives). Nothing gyrating or pulsing, just favorites off my Playlist to encourage enjoyment of and reverence for the natural world.
     This year marks my fifth year of piano instruction. I've come to the ivory and ebony late in life. The learning, the listening, the act of two hands training to act in disciplined independence is immensely rewarding. I listen to Mozart, Beethoven, and contemporary pianists with a new ear. Music, especially piano music, uplifts me, and I wonder why the nuances, the subtleties of music listening had escaped me for so long.
Illustration by Izar Cohen
     Sitting at my computer a few weeks back, in what felt like the zillionth draft of a story, I became aware of gliding as a feather through the tedium of it. GlidingFeatherInconceivable!
     There was a difference from previous rewrite times, and the difference was I was proofing/editing with background music. Nothing emotional, loud, or grating. No. The music was soft and harmonious. An invitation to my creative muse.
     I leaned back in my chair. I was not performing a mindless task. Yet, I was productive in the task at hand. The music didn't distract me. Rather, it inspired my focus. Revelation, chance, or fact?
     I bring to your attention an article published in The Wall Street Journal (2/18/2013) titled "Music Ability Helps Reading." Check it out. I've also found other studies in the same vein prove the same outcome.
     Since the opportune discovery of writing alongside music, I've begun to do more of the same. I've decided discordant notes do NOT work, nor do arias or high-pitched lyrics––too heart pounding, too distracting. But when I chose to have backdrop music in my fiction and poetry writing, and reading––and by that I mean harmonious music, music in the tempo of my story and/or characters––it reveals itself to be a part-to-part relationship. And what I think is a good partnership.
     I'll end as I began: Do you write or read alongside music? Do you write or read with music streaming from another room? How does it work for you––or doesn't it? Do let me know, please.