Next to writing, music is the most important non-human or non-spiritual aspect of my life. If writing is the heart of everything I do, music is my soul.
This doesn't surprise the people who know me and have endured endless tales of my singing adventures.
Music is not just background noise for me. It defines a mood or a situation. Like, for me, much as I enjoy guitar music, I can't tolerate guitars in church. I can't pay attention to the service because the music becomes too overpowering. It rattles through me, making even my teeth hurt.
So, it is no surprise that to work, I need music. I listen to classical music throughout the day, as I do tasks like marketing or interviews. It is a pleasant background. But I can't write to it.
I write to piano music usually. But even that will change. Sometimes any piano music will do. Other times I'll put on one artist, but I'll find that his music isn't working on that day, so I'll flip to another until I find the right soundtrack.
On snowy or rainy days, though, piano music is too bright, so then I turn to guitar music. It fits the mood much better. The tone is darker; it mimics the weather outside.
Vocals are never good. The last thing I need is someone else's voice in my ears.
If I'm really struggling to concentrate, I will put on headphones. It is amazing what headphones do for me. I can shut out everything else around me. I don't even really hear the music so much as it fills me and seems to flow in my bloodstream to my finger tips to get the writing going.
Do you have a soundtrack to your writing?