Nirvana: The key to creativity?


Could influential music such as Nirvana's be the driving force behind today's designers?
[click to enlarge]

Does alternative music promote creativity? That was the thought I had whilst sitting in front of my computer earlier today. I find, when doing something particularly complex, often in PHP, good music in general acts as a distraction. However when doing almost anything else, despite singing in a gravely voice, drumming at full speed on the table with my index fingers and generally annoying the shit out of everyone in my office, I do work to a better level creativity-wise. Good visual design is definitely less of an uphill climb as is coming up with ideas. That whole "I'm at work" thing kinda fades into the background.

The particular band in question at the moment is of course Nirvana whose CDs I've just dug out of my collection for the first time since I was about 19 (three years ago-ish). No matter how hard I try I just can't quite imagine getting the same adrenaline-charged effect from reggae, classic or perhaps polka music.

Dated: 23/05/2006.


On 24th May 2006 Pascal said:
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Each to his own. I usually get too distracted when I have the music on.
Believe it or not my best ideas come to me when I'm in the toilet!
On 24th May 2006 Stu Hall said:
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Yep, I agree; just pop the old headphones on and disappear, you get loads more work done that way. Just don't drum your fingers, that _is_ annoying!

I usually alternate between iTunes and XFM, although whichever I choose, after 8 hours or so I get sick of it.

Best ideas come lying in bed at night when I _really_ should be trying to sleep. Wish mine were bog-based, I'd ave a crap every ten mins if they were...
On 24th May 2006 Steve Tucker said:
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I'm exactly the same Stu - often just lay in bed staring at the ceiling just thinking. Wish I didnt - im always knackered the next day.

@Pascal - are you a "sit on the toilet with a newspaper for an hour" kinda bloke then? My best mate is. He used to dissapear to the toilet and we wouldnt see him again for the rest of the afternoon.
On 25th May 2006 kitsimons said:
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They say familiar music aids concentration and creativity, so whatever music you're into should do it for you. I'm with you Steve - Reggae isn't my bag, but whatever helps eh.

Right now Sigur Ros and the new Chilli's album are getting my juices flowing infront of the computer.
On 25th May 2006 Jen said:
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For me it's Indie Pop or my 9 hours of 80s music. I find at work that if I really want to concentrate (and part of that concentration is being left alone) I slap on the old headphones and work away. Seems people tend to talk to you less when you wear headphones. Sometimes I just wear them and don't have anything playing to stave people off.

But to answer your question, yeah, I find music can help with the creativity. As far as coming up with ideas, I don't have a formula for it.
On 26th May 2006 Mendez said:
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For me its Jack Johnson. Put my headphones on (or out loud if no one else is around) and just get stuff done. I aggree though, music does help me to concentrate.
On 26th May 2006 Steve Tucker said:
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@Jen - I know exactly what you mean about earphones staving off people. Just hope my wife isnt reading this.
On 26th May 2006 Elessar said:
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I dont know what it is, but listening to Nirvana is both intense and calming at the same time. Basically, i just get pumped up listening to them, and my work seems to get done [faster].
On 26th May 2006 P.J. Onori said:
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I would suggest that it is not a particular genre of music but rather how the music relates to the person. I think every person is going to feel inspired by different types of music. I definitely have my own "work" music that I feel helps me produce better work.

Very interesting subject matter. Nice article. :)
On 27th May 2006 Steve Tucker said:
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@PJ: reckon you hit the nail on the head there. Think I perhaps fell into a bit of a groove and should have been writin about music vs work in general rather than focusing on my personal preference.
On 16th March 2007 Ram said:
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When I eventually get to bed, I then spend the rest of the night "staring at the ceiling" and and quite often that Urika moment happens in bed and suddenly know the answer to the day's problems.... then its the case of shall I shall I not get out of bed to make it all happen...

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