I feel that music and art are both about motion and emotion combined. While I create art in my studio, I listen to a wide range of music, including rock, jazz, bluegrass, country, soul, Native American and world music. I tune in to the rhythms and “vibrations” of a wide range of music to enhance the “letting go process” that leads me to feel intuitive color choices. Part of the letting go effect is mental and part is physical.
Like yoga and other methods of meditation, music can have a thought-clearing effect. It keeps me in the present moment, so I am not “gerbeling” in my head and battling the distractions of other non-art problems or “things I have to do”. With music, I feel lighter and more at one with my art.
The physical aspect occurs when my body starts to pick up the flow, movement and energy of the music. Like dancing, my hands and arms move more freely. I find that I am moving around as I paint or draw, using my whole body. When I am really letting go, I don’t have to think about what colors to use, I just feel them and paint!
When I teach art, I allow my students to bring their IPODs so they can listen to the music that they prefer. The music relaxes them and helps them to focus on their artwork. There is less talking and more artwork accomplished. The IPODs do not interfere with instruction and guidance.
I remember absolute silence in drawing classes in college. Sometimes I was able to let go and sometimes I felt very self-conscious about my art work. Allowing students to listen to music of their choice if they wish, helps to lessen performance anxiety.
I personally haven’t used an IPOD. I like the physical space and freedom of CD’s, the radio, or internet radio. I have a large collection of CD’s. It’s as much fun for me to visit a store that sells used CD’s as it is to be in a used book store. I also play music on the internet. I have discovered pandora.com and grooveshark.com, thanks to some of my students. When I sketch or paint outside, the rustling of the trees, the crash of the waves and the songs of the birds are “music to my art”.