We are all writers here at Levitate, but most of us also have ties to other forms of art and self-expression. Personally, I have a fondness of music, both as a performer and a fan, and I noticed that music somehow blends its way into any piece I write, be it prose or poetry. I listen to music when I write, I write about listening to music, I write music- all of it loops together. And when I talk to other writers, and other fans of music, they say the same thing. But I did realize that not everyone listens to music when they write because it can be too distracting, or they don’t know what to listen to. I decided to formulate a list that would give people some insight into what I listen to, and give suggestions to other for what to listen to when writing. So, without further ado, here are some artists and albums to listen to when writing.
- Philip Glass
If you are looking for a calming, classical pieces to take you into the enchanted forest of your own words, this artist is for you. Philip Glass is a composer famous for his work on film scores and symphonies as well as solo piano projects. A majority of his music is good for writers who like a bit of noise, but nothing with lyrics to distract them. Glass’ writing also often gives off a whimsical, magical vibe, so I highly suggest listening to some of his work if you are writing bits of fantasy, magical realism, or building a world from your own imagination. In my opinion, classical music allows for a wandering mind to write those magical stories with fantastical ideas.
- Live/Dead – The Grateful Dead
With a band this iconic, it’s hard to pick just one album, but Live/Dead by The Grateful Dead is an album filled with both beautiful melodies and lyrics, while still being spacey enough that the listener isn’t fully absorbed and distracted by what they’re listening to. The first track, Dark Star, is one of the best songs for focusing yourself on writing, because it has that spacey quality. Twenty-three minutes of the Dead using music to make space is the perfect soundtrack for writing if you want something that rocks more than Philip Glass would. I would suggest listening to this album when writing longer pieces, or pieces that you feel like you are connected to. The flow of these songs feels similar to the flow you can have when writing a piece you enjoy, so I think that these really go hand in hand.
With their surprisingly complex instrumentals, their soulful vocals, and catchy progressions, Vulfpeck more than qualifies as music to write to. Their discography is jam-packed with instrumentals that allow for focusing more on what you are doing then what you are hearing, as well as songs with vibey falsetto vocals if you need something more than just funky instrumentals. Vulfpeck is good for writers who don’t want to get bored when they’re writing. Their music carries a certain excitement that makes you want to tap your foot along to the groove, while still having a relaxed sound. From their EPs to their latest singles, Vulfpeck’s music goes above and beyond pleasing the listener, and I think their music is excellent for really honing in on your latest short story, poem, or longer prose piece.
After looking over this brief list, I hope you can gain inspiration for both your writing, and what you can listen to from your own music library. In the future, look to music as fuel for new writing projects, instead of as a distraction. From classical to funk, there is something out there for everyone, and that might just inspire your next short story or poem.
Gillian Koptik currently attends The Chicago High School for the Arts, and is studying Creative Writing there. Other than writing, she finds joy in music and performing, as well as the little things in life.