Music for Creative Flow

More and more these days, I sit in silence as I write and create. It feels honest, and it improves the precision and pace of my focus. But sometimes I desire a muse, particularly when working on visual projects. On those days, I enjoy listening to a variety of instrumental musicians I’ve come to love over the years.

  1. Ludovico Einaudi. I first fell in love with pianist Ludovico Einaudi‘s minimalist compositions a decade ago when I was in college. His sound is at times reflective and others optimistic. Last summer, Ludovico collaborated with Greenpeace on a live performance of his song Elegy for the Arctic. The song itself is gorgeous, the video is awakening.
  2. Garth Stevenson. A number of years ago, I discovered double bassist Garth Stevenson in an issue of Yoga Journal. I was intrigued by how he performed and improvised live during yoga classes, and how his album Flying was designed to support the yogic experience. His music has an introspective and meditative quality that I appreciate.
  3. Helios. Last year, I asked Google for recommendations on “indie instrumental music,” and it gave me a Reddit feed that referenced Helios‘ album Eingya. His ambient, electronica sound was perfect for feeling focused and inspired while writing.
  4. Emancipator. It’s only been a week or so since I discovered Emancipator. His sound feels like a dreamy blend of Garth Stevenson and Helios, but there’s also something about it that reminds me of an instrumental Japanese album I bought at Epcot back in college.
  5. Takénobu. A friend recently shared the music of cellist Takénobu with me. His sound is both gentle and rich, sometimes even playful. I’m looking forward to exploring more of his albums.
  6. Zoë Keating. This same friend also shared the music of cellist Zoë Keating with me. Her sound is similar to that of Takénobu, but maybe a bit more dramatic and curious.
  7. Lindsey Stirling. Another friend introduced me to violinist Lindsey Stirling a couple years ago. Her unique blend of classical music with electronic dubstep beats makes for an invigorating and inspiring accompaniment to more visual projects.

Who are your favorite musicians to listen to while writing or creating?


  1. I will sometimes listen to calm music, but with lyrics if I listen to music while journaling. It has to be something familiar enough to me so that it’s background noise and not distracting. Today I listened to Jadon Lavik’s Roots Run Deep album while journaling. It is mostly old hymns that he modernized a little bit. He plays the guitar and sings. I have listened to it for years so it can either be background music or the main focus of my attention.
    Music is a huge part of my life. It can inspire me, remind me of memories and create feeling inside of me like nothing else.

    You don’t listen to Ricky Martin while writing/creating? 😜 All jokes aside, there is something to be said about the type of music that one can create to and other music that is not helpful.

    1. I understand what you mean by some lyrical music being so familiar that it can fade into the background when we need it to. Subconsciously, though, I think our mind is still drawn to the lyrics and even the instruments, which is why there are many times I opt for silence and only the music of nature. I’d encourage you to give instrumental music a go the next time you journal, see how it feels. Maybe listen to one of the artists I’ve shared here; I think you’d like them.

      As for Ricky Martin, I reserve him for creating movement with my body. 🙂

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