How music aids creativity and helped me get into university

Have you ever been struggling for inspiration whilst writing an essay? Music may just be the answer you've been looking for.

Date: 19 June 2019

Have you ever been chilling and listening to music when, all of a sudden, a flood of ideas about a poem, your next project or a drawing has started filling your mind without you even trying? That’s the best of feelings, I know, but have you ever wondered why it happens?

Personally, silence helps me focus when I have to do maths or something that requires reasoning; but if I have to let my fantasy unwind and create, music is my best friend.

I remember listening to Claude Debussy’s Clair de Lune while writing a script sample in order to get admitted to my course at uni; it’s not a coincidence the title I gave to this sketch was, indeed, Au Clair de Lune. That symphony must have helped, since I got an unconditional offer from London Metropolitan University, the only uni I’d applied to.

Music and creativity are intertwined, influence each other and work together. Indeed, I’ve recently found out Debussy’s Clair de Lune was inspired by a Paul Verlaine’s poem; and the poem itself talks about the soul as a place where dancers in a masquerade play the flute and sing by the moonlight. Writing and music, music and writing, always hand in hand.

Doing some research online I eventually found out studies have proven that music is a source of creativity. Researchers say emotional state affects performance on creative tasks. Specifically a high emotional state, for example relaxation or happiness, improves and facilitates creativity, and this high emotional state can be provoked by music. It was proved on a sample of people that their anxiety level decreased when listening to music both before and throughout a creative task, while with no music, their emotional state and quality of work was at its lowest.

I experienced that first-hand when my drama lecturer at London Met suggested some exercises to enhance our creativity. First we went to take a walk together on the streets outside the University building, we observed our surroundings and focused our attention on city life. When we walked back to our class the lecturer told us to think about what we saw outside, to write down a brainstorm diagram and then come up with the opening scene of our script; then she played some music because she said it would help us create. The more I focused on the page, the less I could find the words to put together my first scene. But the more I focused on music, the more ideas came to my mind. Eventually, I came up with the opening scene of the script that got me a high grade on my final assignment for my drama course.

So, I suggest you don’t look for completely silent rooms when you want to paint, write, design or think. Put on your headphones and get ready to create!

"If I have to let my fantasy unwind and create, music is my best friend."

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