Emerging: From Behind the Studio Door – Week 19

What music do you listen to? 

That is a question I get asked frequently when someone inquires about my studio practice. I am pretty introverted by nature, so I am comfortable with silence, but having background music creates a certain energy that crowds out distracting thoughts and external noises. My concentration is enhanced, plus it just makes me feel better.

When I was young, pop music wasn’t a big deal to me – I never could remember the song titles or the artists, outside of the big names of the time. When I was in college Folk was the music of the day, and I then discovered Jazz and, in particular, Dave Brubeck. From then on I was a jazz fan and, to this day, that is my go-to music when I’m in the studio.

What appeals to me about traditional jazz, not the “cool” variety, is it’s eclectic nature – there’s a basic melody, but then everything else is a riff off of that determined by the particular artist and instrument being played – I love the surprises the style generates. Over time I realized that surprises are precisely what I look for when I work. I like a certain amount of unpredictability. It is the unexpected result in the combination of materials and/or tools and I’m working with that keep me engaged and on my toes, so to speak. Listening to jazz sets the stage.

My music choices have branched out over the years, of course. My playlist looks something like this:

Dave Brubeck, of course, and now his sons: Brubeck Bros.

Other jazz greats


Jazz24 (internet radio)

Bobby McFarrin

Nina Simon

Leonard Cohen

Joan Armatrading

Jacques Brel

Paul McCartney

Paul Simon

Pink Martini

Edith Piaf, and a couple of other French artists of that genre

Gretchen Parlato

Cecelia Bartoli (classical)

The Cuban All Star Band

And several cds that highlight an eclectic group of regional folk music and artists 

While I tend to play music more often for background sound, there is almost always at least one piece I listen to that is great to dance to. So, yes, I will dance (usually the Electric Slide) at least once during the day in my studio – it’s great, no one is watching 😉


Thanks for reading!


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