You ask, I answer, part three

Both B.C. and Nicki asked me questions about my music preferences:

Inspirational music for your favorite genres

One of your music preferences thatโ€™s a guilty pleasure

I’m going to address them both in this post.

When I was very young, all I listened to was classical music. And Christmas carols. I fell in love with the Grand Canyon Suite and the Flight of the Bumblebee. I didn’t even hear more popular music until midway through elementary school, when the school bus played rock and my mom played easy listening. Do I feel guilty that I can sing along to Barry Manilow’s entire repertoire? Not really, any more than I feel guilty for knowing the lyrics to “X’s and O’s” and “Grundy County Auction” (country rock songs from the late 90s, for those who don’t know).

I’ve listened to a wide range of music, although not death metal and very little rap or hip-hop. (Yes, I do know “Ice Ice Baby.”) And what I listen to on any given day is going to vary a lot — it might be Amy Grant, it might be Stravinsky. (The Firebird Suite is probably my all-time favorite piece of music.) One novelette I wrote almost entirely to Bon Jovi, and I find Blondie can be wonderful for mindless proofreading. Recently, I’ve been listening to an iTunes Radio station called Giuseppe Verdi Essentials, which is serving as inspiration for a science fiction novel I’m planning.

Most often, however, I work in silence because my brain isn’t as good at letting the music go by without it interfering with the words any more.

What kinds of music do you like to listen to?

And if you have more questions that you’d like to have me answer, ask away in the comments!

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8 Comments

  1. Very nice! I get ideas when listening to music, but like you, it’s hard lately for me to write while listening to music. I just end up singing. ๐Ÿ™‚

    So here’s another question, just in case you’re running low, what book would you insist your children not leave for college without?

    • There was a time when I could sing and still focus on what I was doing, but that was decades in the past.

      Now, I listen to my son do it, and it can be very distracting trying to work while he’s singing Minecraft parody songs. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Thanks for the question!

  2. Like you, I enjoy many different sorts of music. I still love the pop and rock and soul and piano concertos from my childhood, the prog rock from my early teens, the punk and new romance from my late teens, and many varied styles from throughout my adult years. In my old age I’ve discovered a love for slow, smokey jazz. If I could listen to only one number today, I would choose Chet Baker’s Almost Blue.

    But, also like you, I rarely listen to music when writing. I work best in silence.

    • Although my dad tried to inculcate a love of jazz in me, I didn’t really start enjoying it until I went off to graduate school. (It’s the contrarian in me.) I like a good jazz trumpet, but what I really love are female vocalists.

      I’ll check out Chet Baker. Thanks! ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. “mindless proofreading”? Hah.

    Lately with the short stories I’ve taken to listening to one pop song on repeat. The song varies on the theme of the story, but it’s more of a buffer between me and my environment.

    It’s partially influenced by my laptop’s fan issue which is a constant whirring I’d like to shoot. But I’m stuck with it for now.

    Editing requires wordless music. Usually a soundtrack – my favorite right now is Ka.

    • Well, not mindless so much as looking at issues other than the words — when I’m checking leading, gutters, caption placement, running heads, chapter titles, formatting of headings, page numbers, sidebars, pull quotes…

      So the white noise of the fan isn’t conducive to concentration?

      I’m starting to notice the summer struggle — kids playing and watching things in the background with dialogue. Not the same as music, but the words still interfere. ๐Ÿ˜› Fortunately, today it’s mostly Kim Possible, all of which episodes I know by heart, so I can tune them out better.

      Wordless music is good — or something in a foreign language I don’t speak, especially if I’m trying to get the flavor of the language into my story.

      *makes note to self to check out Ka*

  4. I’m the reverse on listening to music while working. I need to have something for at least part of my brain to be focused on or I’m too scattered to get anything done.

    As to what I listen to…practically anything. I’ve been listening to symphonic metal thanks to my hubby and son, but I listen to folk, country, and women’s music most of the time.

    • If I’m really having trouble focusing, that’s when I’ll put on music, something familiar to take up just enough of the brain squirrels. Otherwise, yeah, I prefer silence.

      Thanks for sharing!

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