What is The Best Music for Creativity?

Tara Parachuk | September 28, 2018

Man peacefully listening to music on his mobile device.

Have you ever noticed that listening to music can enhance your creativity and productivity? 

It’s not just your imagination – there’s scientific evidence behind the connection between music and creativity. 

In this article

  1. The Science Behind Music and Creativity 
  2. Music’s Overall Benefits 
  3. Music Genres That Stimulate Creativity 
  4. Nature Sounds 
  5. Classical Music
  6. Instrumental Music
  7. 1.  “Awake” by Tycho
  8. 2. “Black Sands” by Bonobo
  9. 3. “Your Hand in Mine” by Explosions in the Sky
  10. 4. “Sunset Lover” by Petit Biscuit
  11. Music You Enjoy
  12. Music to Inspire

In this post, we’ll explore how music affects the brain, and which genres of music can have the most positive impact on your creativity and productivity. 

The Science Behind Music and Creativity 

Music has been shown to stimulate certain brain cells and chemicals, particularly dopamine. This neurotransmitter is often referred to as the brain’s “motivation molecule” because it sends reward signals to our brains. 

Listening to music increases the brain’s level of dopamine, which can make us feel happier and more motivated. Research has also shown that people who listen to music while performing a task have significantly higher scores in divergent thinking than those who perform the same tasks in silence. 

In fact, people who listened to music were able to produce a longer list of creative ideas. Another study found that classical music, particularly pieces composed by Antonio Vivaldi, was most likely to encourage creative thinking. 

Music’s Overall Benefits 

In addition to boosting creativity and productivity, music has other benefits that can improve the overall quality of your day. Playing and creating music are highly engaging processes that activate multiple areas of the brain, allowing for greater creative capacity. Listening to music can also be relaxing, helping you to focus and allowing creative insights to emerge. 

Music Genres That Stimulate Creativity 

While the best music genre for creativity may differ from person to person, certain genres have been shown to be particularly effective in aiding creative thoughts and productivity. 

Here are a few examples: 

Nature Sounds 

Playing natural sounds like flowing water or birdsong can improve mood and concentration. These sounds tend to be less distracting than other types of music. 

Classical Music

Music by classical composers such as Bach or Mozart can be beneficial for extra help focusing on a project. A study found that participants performed better while listening to Mozart than in silence or while listening to a modified version of the classical tune. 

Instrumental Music

For some people, music with lyrics can be very distracting, particularly when a complex task or project needs to be completed. Instrumental music can provide a calming and relaxing background noise. 

Here are four great examples of instrumental tunes:

1.  “Awake” by Tycho

This song is upbeat enough to keep you from falling asleep but not too fast tempo that it will distract you from the tasks at hand.

2. “Black Sands” by Bonobo

This is such a beautiful piece of instrumental music that builds from a quiet classical tune to a more jazz-inspired tune, enough to keep your mind flowing and active.

3. “Your Hand in Mine” by Explosions in the Sky

4. “Sunset Lover” by Petit Biscuit

Relaxing yet upbeat, this song has the bonus effects of getting you ready to work yet also calming your mind. Although there are a few lyrics throughout the song, it is repetitive enough to not be too much of a distractor.

Music You Enjoy

If classical music is not your thing, there is nothing wrong with listening to music you enjoy, whether that be Pop, Country or Rock. 

In fact, a study found that people perform tasks better when they listen to their favorite hits.

The Psychology of Music, a study conducted by, Dr. Teresa Lesiuk, shows that people perform tasks better when they listen to their favorite hits – in her study, she allowed participants to choose the music they wanted to listen to themselves, while performing a task.

Music to Inspire

At the end of the day, the music you listen to in order to get into a productive mindset depends on what you feel like listening to that day and what type of music puts you in the best mood. Look for playlists on streaming services like Spotify or YouTube that you can put on and let play while you refresh or do some light admin work.

Try different genres and see what works best for you. In conclusion, music can have a significant impact on creativity and productivity. 

So, next time you need to get into a productive mindset, turn on some tunes and let the music inspire you!

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  • Avatar for nik harron
    nik harron
    February 16, 2017, 1:09 am

    I’m not big on classical, but find a little light EDM, or techno gets me going. A lot of the time I’ll listen to video game soundtracks (No Man’s Sky, Minecraft, Proteus, Geometry Wars: Dimensions, Test Drive Unlimited 2 are some of my favourite work jams.)

  • Avatar for Alexander
    June 1, 2017, 12:19 pm

    In deed. I’m programmer and a plenty of instrumental music is very supportive for me while I’m thinking on stuff. It replaces all the background noises and really puts me into a creative stream! 🙂
    I really enjoy: Jean Michel Jarre, Mike Oldfield, Cobat, Animals As Leaders (when I need to force some more energey 🙂 ) and so on.

  • Avatar for Daniel Barber
    Daniel Barber
    February 13, 2022, 12:21 pm

    Thanks so much for this post. We are for sure profoundly affected by music. And there is so much complexity between different songs and even parts of songs that it can be problematic to try to generalize among genres or styles. Mozart may be great for some people at some times in some ways, and for others it could be ineffectual or even disturbing. But it’s super helpful to notice that music is a powerful influence on/in us. Cheers!