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The power of melodic tunes to enhance focus and creativity during the essay writing process.

Essay writing music

When it comes to the realm of crafty penmanship, the significance of tune harmonizing with writing is often underestimated. However, by unlocking the potential of a melodious backdrop, authors can tap into a wholly different level of creativity. The amalgamation of mind-wandering melodies and thought-provoking words provides an unparalleled medium for unleashing one’s inner writer.

By marrying the artistry of music with the finesse of essay composition, a symphony of inspiration is born. As the rhythm flows from ear to mind, it ignites a fire within, setting ablaze the dormant embers of imagination. The harmonious duet of music and writing has the uncanny ability to transport us to seemingly distant realms, where ideas unfurl like unfathomable constellations, waiting to be explored.

Music has the incredible capability to influence our mood, thoughts, and emotions. With every beat, a gateway to new possibilities is unveiled. A propelling anthem can uplift the spirits and propel the writer forward on a wave of determination. Conversely, a gentle melody can provide solace and serenity, setting the stage for introspection and bringing forth the depths of one’s introspective musings.

The Science Behind the Connection: How Music Affects the Brain

Understanding how music affects the brain is a fascinating area of study that delves into the intricate workings of our minds. The connection between music and the brain has been explored by scientists for decades, revealing the profound impact that music can have on our emotions, cognitive abilities, and overall well-being.

When we listen to music, our brains are activated in various ways. Neurologists have discovered that different regions of the brain are engaged, depending on the type of music being listened to. For instance, upbeat and fast-paced music stimulates the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and motivation. This explains why listening to energetic music can make us feel more invigorated and motivated to take action.

Moreover, studies have shown that music has the power to evoke strong emotions and memories. Certain melodies or lyrics can trigger a flood of emotions, reminding us of past experiences or even transporting us to a different time and place. This emotional connection to music is facilitated by the limbic system, a part of the brain that controls emotions and memory. By activating this system, music has the ability to evoke powerful feelings and create lasting memories.

Additionally, music has a profound impact on our cognitive abilities. Research has demonstrated that listening to certain types of music can enhance our focus, concentration, and creativity. Classical music, in particular, has been found to stimulate brain activity and improve cognitive performance. This phenomenon, known as the “Mozart effect,” suggests that music can enhance our cognitive abilities, making us more alert and receptive to information.

Furthermore, the therapeutic benefits of music cannot be overlooked. Studies have shown that music therapy can be beneficial for individuals suffering from various mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression, and stress. Listening to calming and soothing music has been found to reduce stress hormones, lower blood pressure, and promote relaxation. The rhythmic and melodic elements of music have a profound effect on our physiological state, helping to regulate our emotions and promote overall well-being.

In conclusion, the science behind the connection between music and the brain is a captivating field of research that highlights the profound impact of music on our emotions, cognitive abilities, and overall well-being. By understanding how music affects the brain, we can harness its power to boost productivity and enhance our essay writing experience.

Finding the Right Genre for Focus and Creativity

Exploring different genres of music can be a powerful way to enhance focus and creativity while writing. By selecting the right genre, you can create an atmosphere that nurtures concentration and stimulates your cognitive processes. The right choice of genre can inspire imagination, boost productivity, and help you tap into your creative potential.

Genre for Focus:

When it comes to finding a genre that promotes focus, instrumental music often takes the lead. With its absence of lyrics, instrumental genres such as classical, ambient, or electronic music can provide a background that minimizes distractions. The soothing melodies and repetitive patterns can help you maintain concentration for extended periods, allowing you to immerse yourself in the writing process.

Alternatively, you might find that low-tempo genres, like downtempo or chill-hop, can also facilitate a focus-oriented mindset. The relaxed beats and atmospheric textures often associated with these genres can create a tranquil ambiance, fostering a sense of calmness and enabling you to concentrate on the task at hand.

Genre for Creativity:

If your goal is to enhance your creative thinking and encourage inspiration, exploring diverse genres can be beneficial. Upbeat and energetic music, like pop, rock, or hip-hop, can elicit strong emotions and make you feel more motivated and enthusiastic. This genre choice can help break through writer’s block and generate fresh ideas.

On the other hand, genres that focus on introspection and introspection, like folk, indie, or singer-songwriter, can evoke a sense of introspection and deep thought. The raw emotions and personal narratives found in these genres can lead to a reflective and introspective state of mind, allowing you to explore and express your thoughts and emotions in a more profound and meaningful way.

Experimenting with Different Genres:

Everyone’s preferences and writing processes are unique, so it’s essential to experiment with different genres to find what works best for you. Depending on the task at hand, you may find that a combination of genres or even genre-specific playlists can be more effective in enhancing your focus and creativity.

Remember, the aim is to find the right balance that helps you stay engaged, motivated, and inspired. By exploring a variety of genres, you can create a personalized soundtrack that harnesses the power of music to enhance your essay writing and boost productivity.

Using Music as a Motivational Tool: Creating a Playlist that Energizes

Using Music as a Motivational Tool: Creating a Playlist that Energizes

When it comes to finding the perfect playlist to boost motivation and productivity, music can be a powerful tool. The right selection of songs can energize and inspire, helping you to stay focused and motivated while writing your essay. However, creating a playlist that truly energizes and motivates is not as simple as adding a few upbeat tracks. It requires careful consideration of the tempo, lyrics, and overall mood of the music.

To start off, consider the tempo of the songs you choose for your playlist. Upbeat and fast-paced songs with a high tempo can help increase your energy levels and keep you engaged. Look for tracks with a strong rhythm and lively beat that will get your heart rate up and your feet tapping. These types of songs can help you maintain a steady pace while writing, preventing any potential lulls in your productivity.

Lyrics also play an important role in creating a motivational playlist. Look for songs with inspiring and positive lyrics that resonate with you personally. The right lyrics can help instill a sense of confidence and determination as you tackle your essay. Whether it’s motivational anthems or personal empowerment songs, find tracks that make you feel uplifted and ready to conquer any challenges that come your way.

In addition to the tempo and lyrics, consider the overall mood of the music. While fast-paced and upbeat songs can be beneficial for maintaining energy levels, it’s also important to include moments of relaxation and calm. Including a variety of musical genres and styles in your playlist can help create a balanced atmosphere that keeps you engaged without overwhelming your senses. From uplifting pop songs to soothing instrumental tracks, a mix of different moods can help you stay focused and motivated throughout your writing process.

Remember that creating a motivational playlist is a personal endeavor. Experiment with different songs and genres to find what works best for you. Pay attention to how certain songs make you feel and make adjustments as needed. The power of music lies in its ability to evoke emotions and enhance your mood, so choose songs that align with your personal preferences and goals.

In conclusion, music can serve as a powerful motivator when it comes to essay writing. By creating a playlist that energizes and inspires, you can boost your productivity and stay focused throughout the writing process. Consider the tempo, lyrics, and overall mood of the music to create a playlist that resonates with you personally. Harness the power of music and let it fuel your essay writing journey!

The Impact of Lyrics on Writing: Choosing Songs with Inspiring Words

The Impact of Lyrics on Writing: Choosing Songs with Inspiring Words

When it comes to the influence of music on our writing, we often think about melodies, rhythms, and harmonies. However, the impact of lyrics should not be underestimated. The words in a song can have a profound effect on our creative output and productivity. By carefully selecting songs with inspiring and meaningful lyrics, we can enhance our writing experience and tap into new ideas and perspectives.

Words have the power to evoke emotions, stimulate our imagination, and convey complex thoughts and ideas. When we listen to songs with lyrics that resonate with us, it can trigger a range of emotions that can fuel our writing process. Whether it’s a heartfelt ballad that touches our soul or an empowering anthem that fills us with motivation, the right lyrics can provide the emotional backdrop we need to dive deep into our writing and express ourselves fully.

In addition to emotional impact, lyrics can also influence the way we think and inspire us to explore different topics and themes in our writing. Songs with thought-provoking lyrics can challenge our perspectives and push us beyond our comfort zones. They can introduce us to new ideas and expand our horizons, allowing us to approach our writing from fresh and unique angles. By actively seeking out songs with inspiring words, we can invite a broader range of thoughts and concepts into our writing and enrich our overall message.

It’s important to note that the impact of lyrics on writing is a highly personal experience. What resonates with one writer may not have the same effect on another. It’s essential to be in tune with our own preferences and emotions when choosing the songs we write to. Some writers may find solace in introspective and introspective lyrics, while others may thrive on uplifting and motivational messages. By curating a personalized playlist of songs with lyrics that align with our writing intentions, we can create an atmosphere of inspiration and creativity that supports our unique style and voice.

In conclusion, lyrics play a significant role in the impact of music on our writing. By selecting songs with inspiring words, we can tap into the emotional, intellectual, and creative aspects of our writing process. The right lyrics have the power to fuel our imagination, challenge our thinking, and elevate our writing to new heights.

Creating a Distraction-Free Environment: Tips for Using Music Effectively

When it comes to essay writing, having a distraction-free environment is essential for focusing and improving productivity. Music can be a powerful tool in creating such an environment, helping to boost concentration and inspire creativity. By carefully selecting the right music and following a few key tips, you can maximize the benefits of using music while minimizing potential distractions.

  • Choose instrumental music: Instead of lyrics that may compete for your attention, opt for instrumental music. This type of music provides a soothing ambiance and eliminates the potential distraction of following along with lyrics.
  • Experiment with different genres: Various genres of music can evoke different emotions and moods. By exploring different genres, you can find the right music that complements your writing style and helps you get into the flow.
  • Create a playlist: Curating a playlist specifically for writing purposes can help set the tone and provide a consistent background noise. Start by selecting a few essential tracks that promote focus, and gradually expand your playlist based on what works best for you.
  • Use ambient sounds: In addition to music, ambient sounds can also be effective in creating a distraction-free environment. Rainfall, nature sounds, or white noise can help block out external noises and increase your concentration.
  • Adjust the volume: Finding the right volume is crucial for using music effectively. Too loud, and it can become distracting; too low, and it may not be effective in creating a productive environment. Experiment with different volumes to find the perfect balance.
  • Minimize interruptions: Ensure that your music setup doesn’t interrupt your writing process. Choose a music streaming platform or app that allows for seamless playback without ads or interruptions. This way, you can maintain focus without being interrupted by unrelated content.
  • Match the music to the task: Different writing tasks may require varying levels of focus and energy. Consider selecting music that aligns with the specific task at hand. For brainstorming or creative writing, choose upbeat or uplifting music, while for editing or proofreading, opt for more relaxed and calming tunes.

By following these tips, you can create a distraction-free environment that harnesses the power of music to enhance your essay writing experience. Experiment, adapt, and find the perfect music that helps you stay focused, motivated, and creative throughout the writing process.

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Reasons to look for inspiration in music essay sample, example.


The styles of music can vary greatly. It takes a discerning listener to classify a particular song, as it may have strains of several music trends. Besides trends, each culture produces its specific music. To me, music is more than just a way to relax and take a break. Music is my companion for life, my indicator of mood, my best adviser, and my own little world. I would never call music a hobby, as I cannot imagine my life without my favorite music. There is a playlist for when I am sad, for when I am happy, for when I am thoughtful, excited, angry, adventurous, or sleepy. Music helps me to cope with the emotions that I experience. Sometimes, music is a way to hide from everything and everyone. Other times, music is the best way to share my feelings with people I care about, or even with complete strangers. Music is the most inspirational phenomena I can think of for a multitude of reasons.

Music is a world of emotions and every time I hear a song I like, it shares some of these emotions with me. Music can bring up the most tender and anxious feelings. It can move you in time and space by bringing back special memories of which you were craving to relish. There were many cases when music sent shivers down my spine, so honest and strong were the tunes, so powerful the memories they awakened. I am sure it happened to everyone at least once, that a strong memory is somehow linked to a certain song or tune and whenever you hear it playing, you travel back to that situation in your thoughts, able to experience that it again (Connors 65). We sometimes forget how powerful music is and how inspirational its power can be.

In addition, music is able unite people like nothing else can (Poplars 45). Sports, mutual interests, and similar experiences can unite people in a substantial way. But what about those cases when people have nothing in common and are total strangers, yet they suddenly find themselves holding hands and singing along, dancing, or simply silently listening to captivating beats. Music is able to make complete strangers feel like they have connected to a kindred soul. If you have at least once been to a great live concert, you probably know what kind of inspiration I am talking about. It is difficult to describe this phenomenon with words, but is it not what proves again the power of music to inspire? You do not need to speak a foreign language to connect to somebody from a different background, using music instead of words. Music comes in handy in these cases. It inspired you to make new friends or learn more about a foreign culture.

Music is multi-dimensional—you can never get bored of it. While I have a number of favorite artists and bands, I also never stop exploring the musical amplitude and discovering new performers every day. Music adds flavor to my life and this flavor is different depending on “what dish I am eating.” Music can be so much more than an accompaniment—it is a full-fledged spice that can accentuate, muffle, or supplement any experience. If I were to leave for a deserted island and could only take a few items, my player and a couple of solar-charging batteries would be my choice. That way, I could adjust to the environment around me and find inspiration where others might find devastation and frustration.

Though music is nothing new, the creation of new melodies, rhythms, and symphonics will be created every day. In fact, I believe music has been around us for as long as we have existed (Lung 24). When I say that music is everywhere, I first of all mean that music comes from nature—the sound of crackling straw in the field, rustling trees in a grove, or the murmur of a fast mountain stream. Music in all of its forms is around us and the task is only to notice it and learn to appreciate how it can be shared. Music can be a source of inspiration for almost anyone, since it can be a unique key to suite any lock, even the most complicated and tenacious. Music has the power to make us want to smile at every stranger walking by, simply because we are hearing a transcendent song.

Cannus, Brian. Zen of Music . Brighton: Old Owl Press, 2012. Print.

Connors, Latasha. Musical Memories . Manchester: Random House, 2011. Print.

Poplars, Anna. Unification through Vibrations . New York: Penguin, 2008. Print.

Lung, Nicholas. Origin of Humankind is Music . Dallas: Vibrato Press, 2003. Print.

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Home — Essay Samples — Psychology — Motivation — Music: the best tool for motivation


Music: The Best Tool for Motivation

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Published: Dec 5, 2018

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Best Music to Listen to While Writing a Paper

Pooja Kashyap

Music to Listen to While Writing

Writing a paper can be challenging, especially when facing a looming deadline or struggling to develop ideas. Fortunately, music can be a powerful tool to help you stay focused and motivated while writing. But what is the best music to listen to while writing, and what features should you look for in a writing playlist? That’s where this post comes in. We’ll explore the best types of music to listen to while writing and provide tips for creating a writing playlist to help you stay focused and productive. Stay with us and read along!

What is the best music to listen to while writing?

The best music to listen to while writing is instrumental or ambient music with no lyrics. You should avoid music with lyrics because they can be distractive, interfering with your line of thought and making it difficult to concentrate on your work. On the other hand, instrumental music can help you get into a flow state and stay focused on writing your paper. Therefore, if you need music to listen to while writing, this class should be on your list.

What type of compositions can we consider instrumental? Many different types of instrumental music can be effective for writing, including classical, electronic, and jazz. Let’s look at these genres and explore their benefits for writing.

1. Classical music

Classical music is the art music of the Western world. It improves cognitive function and helps to boost concentration whenever you need to focus on highly engaging work. Classical music is good to listen to when you need to relieve stress and cool yourself off anxiety, leading to better mental strength to handle massive writing projects. In addition, listening to music before undertaking a creative task can increase divergent thinking and help you generate new ideas. Therefore, if you are looking for the best music to listen to when writing an essay, classical music may be your best option. Some great classical composers to listen to while writing include Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, and Chopin. These composers have a timeless quality that can help to create a calming and focused atmosphere for writing.

2. Electronic music

Electronic music, such as ambient or downtempo, can create a relaxed and focused atmosphere. The search for technical resources and modes of expression characterizes it. They have repetitive beats and soothing sounds that help to block out distractions and create a sense of flow. Some great electronic artists to listen to while writing include Brian Eno, Aphex Twin, and Boards of Canada. These artists create ambient and atmospheric music that can stimulate creativity and focus.

3. Jazz music

Jazz music is an excellent choice for writers looking for something more upbeat and lively. The improvisational nature of jazz can stimulate imagination and break up the monotony of a long writing session. It is good music to listen to when you need to focus and build on your creativity. Some remarkable jazz artists to listen to while writing include Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Thelonious Monk. These artists are known for their innovative and dynamic compositions, which can help to keep you engaged and focused while writing.

Choosing the best music to listen to while writing a paper can be tricky when you are not a music major. It gets more challenging when you have several options, calling for needing expert opinion. Luckily, you can consult a paper writing service by CustomWritings to get a well-written descriptive custom essay on music to have a good reference for your choice. The company has experienced music writers and scholars who understand the different genres, their composition, and their impact on one’s emotions. As a result, they can help write quality description papers that cover the key characteristics of the specific music genres to help you make a decision. Consultations are free, and the cost of paper is cheap, so you don’t have to worry about spending much on the service.

Music to listen to while writing an essay: Top tips for making a good playlist

When choosing the best music to listen to while writing an essay, there are a few key features to look for. Here are some tips to help you create a writing playlist that will help you stay focused and productive:

Match the tone of your writing : One of the essential features of music to listen to while writing an essay is that it should match the tone and style of your writing. If you’re writing an article faster, such as a persuasive or argumentative essay, you may want to choose music with a more upbeat tempo. If you’re writing a reflective essay, you may want to select slower and more contemplative music. The choice of music ensures the environment is in sync with your thought process, leading to higher productivity.

Avoid distractions : When choosing music to listen to while writing an essay, avoiding anything that could be too distracting is essential. For instance, avoid music with lyrics, as the words could interfere with your thoughts and ideas. Instead, look for instrumental music or ambient sounds that can create a calming background for your writing. Such a choice will ensure that you get a bit of entertainment while at the same time having the chance to self-introspect and write well-thought-out essays.

Create a writing routine : Creating a writing routine can help you stay motivated and productive. One way to create a routine is to listen to the same music every time you write. This can help signal your brain that it’s time to focus and get to work. In addition, it enables you to train your brain to work within a given environment setup, saving you from having to endure chaos within your study space.

Use music as a reward : Another way to use music to enhance your writing is to use it as a reward. For example, you may want to listen to a favorite album or playlist after you’ve completed a certain amount of writing. This can motivate you to stay focused and productive, knowing you have a reward waiting for you when you finish. In addition, it helps you feel content with your work as you get the chance to reflect on the milestones covered.

Keep it simple : When it comes to music to listen to while writing an essay, it’s essential to keep it simple. Don’t spend too much time searching for the perfect playlist or the ideal album. Instead, choose music that you enjoy, and that helps you stay focused and productive. Writing becomes more pleasant, efficient, and effective with the right music.

Take a step to improve your writing experience

As a matter of fact, listening to music while writing is the best way to relax the brain and improve creativity. However, one must be careful when choosing the type of music to listen to at such crucial moments. This article has explored some pertinent issues relating to music and the writing world, including the best music genres to listen to while writing and some tips for developing a playlist. We hope this will be useful as you work toward writing quality papers.

Read Here: The Effects of Music on a Student’s Schoolwork

Pooja Kashyap

Written By:

Pooja Kashyap, a spirited wordsmith, avid reader, and music connoisseur, seamlessly blends her love for literature and melodies in a unique symphony of storytelling. As an intuitive writer, Pooja crafts literary compositions that transport readers into the enchanting world of musical tales, creating an immersive and harmonious experience. With a keen journalistic touch, she invites you to embark on an adventurous journey through her written narratives, promising a captivating fusion of words and melodies. Join Pooja Kashyap for a literary adventure where stories and music entwine, offering a harmonious escape for the soul.

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431 Music Essay Topics & Ideas

5 December 2023

last updated

Music essay topics explore diverse areas of music for academic or personal writing. This comprehensive collection of ideas encourages intellectual curiosity with topics ranging from historical musicology to contemporary pop culture. It also offers thematic ideas, like examining musical elements, understanding music’s societal influences, or analyzing distinct music genres. Aspiring musicologists, students, or avid music enthusiasts will find this article highly valuable for its broad spectrum and adaptable nature, suitable for various writing levels and interests. In this case, people delve deeper into music’s rich legacy, challenging them to form original perspectives and contribute to the larger discourse on music. Hence, this article on many music essay topics is a valid resource for unlocking the academic and artistic potential of music.

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Easy Music Essay Topics

  • Evolution of Pop Music Genre in the 21st Century
  • Impact of Technology on Music Production
  • Influence of Classical Music on Modern Genres
  • Societal Relevance of Protest Songs in History
  • Examining the Relationship Between Music and Emotion
  • Significance of Traditional Music in Cultural Identity
  • Rap Music’s Influence on Youth Culture
  • Beatles’ Effect on Rock ‘n’ Roll Development
  • Comparison Between Baroque and Renaissance Music
  • Exploration of Music Therapy and Its Benefits
  • Film Scores: Music’s Pivotal Role in Cinema
  • Interrelation between Dance and Rhythm in Music
  • Globalization’s Impact on World Music Genres
  • Cultural Representation in Broadway Musicals
  • Feminism in Pop Music: Empowering or Exploitative?
  • Genre Fusion: How Reggae Influenced Hip-Hop
  • Psychological Effects of Music on Human Behavior
  • Depiction of Love in Country Music Lyrics
  • Dissecting the Business Model of Streaming Services in the Music Industry

Interesting Music Essay Topics

  • Unraveling the Impact of Music on Cognitive Development
  • Globalization and Its Influence on Music Genres
  • History and Evolution of Jazz: A Cultural Perspective
  • Healing Powers of Music: Fact or Fiction?
  • Pop Culture’s Influence on Contemporary Music
  • The Role of Music in Social Movements
  • Analyzing the Cultural Significance of Hip-Hop
  • The Science Behind Music’s Effect on Mood
  • Exploring the Artistic Value of Album Cover Designs
  • Autotune and Digitization: Blessing or Curse for the Music Industry?
  • Representation of Gender and Sexuality in Pop Music
  • Ethical Implications of Music Streaming Services
  • The Connection Between Music and Emotions: A Psychological Analysis
  • Evolution of Music Production Techniques: A Technological Study
  • Indie Music Scene: A Study of Its Growth and Impact
  • Music Festivals: Economic and Cultural Implications
  • Music Education: Its Importance in Schools
  • Role of Music in Film and Television: A Comprehensive Analysis
  • The Phenomenon of K-Pop: Cultural Exchange and Globalization
  • Copyright Laws and Their Impact on the Music Industry

100 General Music Essay Topics

  • The Future of Music: Exploring AI and Machine Learning
  • Nurturing Music Education in Schools
  • Ethical Considerations in Music Piracy
  • Women in the Music Industry: Breaking Barriers and Empowering Change
  • Reggae’s Global Impact on Music Styles
  • Unveiling the Popularity of K-Pop
  • Music’s Impact on Cognitive Development
  • Music Censorship: Perspectives from Around the World
  • Cultural Identity Formation and the Power of Music
  • The Interplay of Music and Politics
  • The Cinematic Power of Music: Exploring Soundtracks
  • The Music Festival Business: Strategies and Successes
  • The Emergence of Indie Music: A New Era of Creativity
  • Latin Music’s Influence on Global Pop Culture
  • Music’s Role in Enhancing Physical Performance
  • The Science Behind Sound: An Introduction to Acoustics
  • Exploring the History of Electronic Music
  • The British Invasion’s Impact on American Music
  • Music’s Therapeutic Role: Healing and Transforming Lives
  • Boy Bands and Girl Groups: Cultural Phenomena in Music
  • Motown Records: Shaping Music and Culture
  • Country Music’s Influence on American Identity
  • The Sociology of Music: Exploring Fan Culture and Subcultures
  • Music’s Emotional Power: Understanding Mood and Emotion
  • The Evolution of Music Videos: From MTV to YouTube
  • Reviving Vinyl Records in the Digital Age
  • The Beatles’ Enduring Legacy in Modern Music
  • Streaming Services and the Changing Landscape of Music Consumption
  • Unraveling the Psychology of Musical Preferences
  • Music Globalization: Bridging Cultures and Connecting Hearts
  • Music’s Role in Spiritual and Religious Practices
  • The Fusion of Music and Visual Arts
  • Music and Mindfulness: Exploring Meditation and Sound
  • Blues Music: A Cultural Significance
  • Opera’s Influence on Modern Theatrical Music
  • Transforming Music Production in the Digital Era
  • Music’s Impact on Childhood Development
  • Rock and Roll: Revolutionizing Social Change
  • Ethnomusicology: Understanding Music in Cultural Context
  • The Complex Relationship Between Music and Violence
  • Music’s Role in Promoting Social Inclusion
  • Punk Music’s Impact on Youth Culture: Rebellion, Expression, and Identity
  • Copyright Laws in Music: Balancing Protection and Creativity
  • Harnessing the Power of Music in Advertising: Soundtracks, Emotions, and Branding
  • LGBTQ+ Representation in the Music Industry: Breaking Barriers and Amplifying Voices
  • The Influence of Gospel Music on the R&B and Soul Genres: Roots and Inspirations
  • Music’s Cultural Role in Indigenous Communities: Tradition, Identity, and Resilience
  • Music’s Impact on Workplace Productivity: Boosting Focus, Motivation, and Performance
  • Disco’s Influence on Dance Music: Rhythm, Groove, and Dancefloor Revolution
  • Music as a Voice of Protest: From Folk Anthems to Punk Anthems
  • Grunge Music: The Rise of Alternative Rock and Its Lasting Impact
  • Music Sampling: Artistic Innovation or Plagiarism Debate?
  • The Influence of Rap Music on Modern Poetry: Rhyme, Rhythm, and Social Commentary
  • Music Technology’s Impact on Live Performances: Innovation, Integration, and Audience Experience
  • Music’s Narration in Film: Enhancing Emotion, Atmosphere, and Storytelling
  • The Evolution of Music Genres: Shaping Sounds, Styles, and Cultural Trends
  • From Vinyl to Digital: Exploring the Art of DJing and Its Technological Transformations
  • Music’s Role in Language Learning: Enhancing Linguistic Skills and Cultural Understanding
  • Music’s Contribution to Raising Awareness of Sustainable Development Goals
  • Exploring the Frontier of Music in Virtual Reality: Immersive Experiences and Creative Possibilities
  • The Role of Music in Video Games: Immersion, Atmosphere, and Player Engagement
  • Evolving Children’s Music: From Traditional Rhymes to Educational Entertainment
  • The Impact of Online Channels and Social Media on Music Promotion: Reaching Audiences, Building Communities
  • Classical Music’s Influence on Cognitive Abilities: Memory, Focus, and Mental Development
  • Flamenco Music’s Cultural Significance: Expressing Passion, Heritage, and Identity
  • The Evolution and Impact of Music Television Channels: Shaping Popular Culture and Music Consumption
  • Folk Music’s Influence on Modern Singer-Songwriters: Traditions, Storytelling, and Contemporary Expressions
  • Music’s Therapeutic Role in Dementia and Alzheimer’s Treatment: Memory, Connection, and Quality of Life
  • Broadway Musicals’ Influence on Popular Culture: Theatrical Magic, Showmanship, and Entertainment
  • The #MeToo Movement’s Impact on the Music Industry: Addressing Abuse, Empowering Change
  • Music’s Role in Teenage Identity Formation: Expression, Belonging, and Self-Discovery
  • African American Music Evolution: From Spirituals to Hip-Hop
  • The History and Influence of Bollywood Music: Celebrating India’s Cinematic Melodies
  • Music Genres’ Effect on Exercise Performance: Rhythm, Tempo, and Motivation
  • Music’s Role in Climate Change Awareness: Advocacy, Inspiration, and Environmental Impact
  • Heavy Metal Music: Evolution, Subgenres, and Cultural Influence
  • Mariachi Music’s Cultural Significance: Tradition, Celebration, and Mexican Heritage
  • Technology’s Influence on Music Creation: Digital Tools, Production Techniques, and Creative Possibilities
  • Music’s Role in Autism Therapy: Communication, Expression, and Emotional Support
  • Music’s Impact on Stress and Anxiety Reduction: Relaxation, Mindfulness, and Wellness
  • The Influence of Music on Sleep Quality: Relaxation, Sleep Patterns, and Sleep Hygiene
  • Evolving Music Criticism in the Digital Age: From Print to Online Platforms
  • Music’s Role in Multicultural Education: Celebrating Diversity, Promoting Inclusion
  • The History and Influence of Salsa Music: Rhythm, Dance, and Cultural Fusion
  • Music’s Impact on Consumer Behavior in Retail: Atmosphere, Branding, and Purchase Decisions
  • Music’s Influence on Memory Recall: Soundtracks, Nostalgia, and Emotional Connections
  • Music’s Role in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment: Healing, Coping, and Resilience
  • The History and Influence of J-Pop Music: Pop Culture, Fashion, and Global Fanbase
  • The Impact of Music on Early Childhood Education: Development, Learning, and Creativity
  • Music’s Influence on the Perception of Time: Tempo, Rhythm, and Psychological Effects
  • Music’s Role in Community Development: Collaboration, Empowerment, and Social Change
  • Psychedelic Rock’s Influence on Contemporary Music: Innovation, Counterculture, and Sonic Exploration
  • Rehabilitation and Recovery: The Transformative Role of Music
  • Reggaeton Music: Cultural Origins, Influence, and Global Reach
  • Music’s Impact on Neuroplasticity: Brain Development, Learning, and Cognitive Abilities
  • Celtic Music’s Influence on Modern Folk Genres: Traditions, Melodies, and Cultural Connections
  • The Creative Spark: Music’s Role in Enhancing Creativity
  • Swing Music: The History, Style, and Enduring Appeal
  • The Role of Music in Pain Management: Soothing, Distraction, and Therapeutic Effects
  • Ambient Music’s Influence on Relaxation and Mindfulness: Creating Tranquil Soundscapes

Argumentative Music Essay Topics

  • Pop Music’s Influence on Youth: Impact or Exploitation?
  • The Appropriation vs. Appreciation Debate in Music
  • Evaluating the Effects of Digital Streaming on Artists’ Earnings
  • Autotune: Enhancing Music or Undermining Talent?
  • Exploitation in the Music Industry: A Reality Check
  • Does Music Genre Define Individual Personality Traits?
  • Impact of Explicit Content in Music: Artistic Freedom or Harmful Influence?
  • Music Censorship: Necessary Measure or Infringement of Rights?
  • Should Music Education Be Mandatory in Schools?
  • Influence of Western Music on Other Cultures: Cultural Exchange or Dominance?
  • The Commercialization of Indie Music: Evolution or Degradation?
  • Are Reality Music Shows Truly Beneficial for Aspiring Musicians?
  • Music Therapy: Genuine Healing Method or Placebo Effect?
  • Classical Music’s Relevance in the Modern Era: Declining or Evolving?
  • The Ethics of Sampling in Modern Music Production
  • Role of Music in Film: Essential Component or Marketing Tactic?
  • Is The Popularity of an Artist Reflective of Their Musical Talent?
  • Music Piracy: Fair Use or Unfair Practice?
  • Do Music Festivals Promote Cultural Integration or Commodification?
  • Boy Bands Phenomenon: Musical Skill or Mere Fan Frenzy?

Research Music Essay Topics

  • Analyzing the Evolution of Punk Rock Music
  • The Role of Folk Music in Preserving Cultural Heritage
  • Impacts of Technology on Music Production and Distribution
  • Understanding the Psychological Effects of Music Therapy
  • Classical Music: Its Influence on Modern Genres
  • Musical Improvisation: An Analysis of Jazz and Blues
  • The Impact of Social Issues on Hip-Hop Lyrics
  • Exploring the Economic Aspects of the Music Industry
  • Evolution of Music Videos: Artistic Expression or Commercial Endeavor?
  • The Effect of Digital Streaming on Independent Musicians
  • The Phenomenon of Boy Bands: Sociocultural Aspects
  • Censorship in Music: A Comparative Study Across Nations
  • Evaluating the Role of Soundtracks in Movies
  • Impact of Music Education on Child Development
  • The Relationship Between Dance and Music: A Cultural Exploration
  • Gender Representation in Music: A Critical Analysis
  • The Influence of Latin Music on Popular Culture
  • Ethnomusicology: Studying Music in Its Cultural Context
  • The Role of Music in Historical Events and Movements

World Music Essay Topics

  • African Music Traditions: Influence and Evolution
  • The Role of Music in Indigenous Cultures
  • Exploring the Diversity of Asian Music Genres
  • Flamenco: An Insight into Spanish Music and Dance
  • Celtic Music: Its Roots and Influence on Contemporary Genres
  • The Impact of Reggae on Global Music Culture
  • Analyzing the Musical Elements of Bollywood Film Scores
  • Samba: The Rhythmic Heartbeat of Brazil
  • Origins and Development of American Blues Music
  • Middle Eastern Music: Exploring Its Unique Characteristics
  • The Cultural Significance of Australian Aboriginal Music
  • Understanding the Evolution of European Classical Music
  • The Role of Music in Caribbean Festivals and Celebrations
  • The Influence of French Chanson on Popular Music
  • Traditional Music’s Role in Cultural Preservation: Case Study of Japanese Gagaku
  • The Impact of Greek Folk Music on Mediterranean Musical Traditions
  • The Intersection of Music and Religion in Indian Ragas
  • Exploring the Cultural Diversity in Mexican Music
  • The Historical Evolution of Russian Folk Music
  • Musical Instruments and Their Role in Defining Cultural Identity: The African Djembe as a Case Study

Hip-Hop Music Essay Topics

  • Hip-Hop: A Powerful Medium for Social Commentary
  • Examining the Influence of Hip-Hop on Fashion Trends
  • Roles of Sampling in the Artistic Identity of Hip-Hop
  • Exploring the Controversy: Does Hip-Hop Promote Violence?
  • The Cultural Significance of Beatboxing in Hip-Hop
  • Analyzing the Impact of Hip-Hop on Language and Slang
  • The Influence of Hip-Hop on Pop Culture
  • Feminism in Hip-Hop: Progress and Challenges
  • How Does Hip-Hop Music Address Racial Issues?
  • The Economics of the Hip-Hop Industry
  • Evolution of Dance Styles in Hip-Hop Culture
  • Hip-Hop’s Influence on Mental Health Discourse
  • East Coast vs. West Coast: The Hip-Hop Rivalry
  • The Impact of Digital Platforms on Hip-Hop Music Distribution
  • Analyzing the Role of DJs in Hip-Hop Culture
  • Hip-Hop and Its Influence on Global Music Genres
  • The Commercialization of Hip-Hop: Artistic Freedom or Selling Out?
  • Autobiographical Storytelling in Hip-Hop: A Tool for Empowerment

Pop Music Essay Topics

  • Gender Representation in the Pop Music Industry
  • The Global Impact of K-Pop: An Unstoppable Phenomenon
  • Influence of Pop Music on Teenagers’ Attitudes and Behaviors
  • Autotune: Enhancement or Detriment to Pop Music?
  • The Role of Music Videos in the Pop Culture Landscape
  • Analyzing the Success of Boy Bands in Pop Music
  • Cultural Appropriation Concerns in the Pop Music Industry
  • Power Dynamics: Examining the Business Behind Pop Music
  • How Social Media Transformed Pop Music Stardom
  • From Pop Divas to Feminist Icons: A Shift in Representation
  • Latin Pop’s Rising Influence on the Global Music Scene
  • Pop Music Lyrics: Reflection of Social Issues or Simple Entertainment?
  • Technology’s Role in Shaping the Sound of Modern Pop Music
  • Science of a Pop Hit: Factors that Influence Chart Success
  • Mental Health and Its Portrayal in Pop Music
  • Pop Music Collaborations: A Marketing Strategy or Artistic Choice?
  • The Influence of Western Pop Music in Non-Western Countries
  • Exploring the Relationship Between Pop Music and Dance
  • The Ethical Implications of Sampling in Pop Music

Rock Music Essay Topics

  • The Crossroads of Rock and Pop: Evolution of Pop Rock
  • Grunge Rock: Its Origins, Influence, and Decline
  • Influence of Rock Music on Fashion Trends Over the Decades
  • The Role of Rebellion Themes in Rock Music
  • Gender Representation and Dynamics in Rock Music
  • The Significance of Live Performances in the Rock Music Scene
  • The Fusion of Blues and Rock: A Historical Overview
  • How Technological Advances Shaped the Sound of Rock Music
  • Rock Music as a Tool for Social Activism and Change
  • Psychedelic Rock and Its Effect on the Music Industry
  • Heavy Metal: A Subgenre of Rock Music with Distinctive Features
  • How Has Punk Rock Challenged Mainstream Music Norms?
  • Rock Music in Movies: Enhancing Narrative and Emotion
  • Analyzing the Pioneers of Rock and Roll: Their Legacy and Influence
  • Cultural Impact of the British Invasion in the 1960s
  • The Evolution of Rock Music: From Roots to Contemporary Forms
  • Roles of Music Festivals in the Promotion of Rock Music
  • Examining the Lyrics of Rock Music: Sociopolitical Commentary
  • The Impact of Rock Music on Teenagers’ Behavioral Patterns
  • Exploring the Relationship Between Rock Music and Youth Culture

Dance Music Essay Topics

  • Dance Music and Its Role in Promoting Physical Health
  • The Rise and Influence of Dubstep in Contemporary Dance Music
  • The Business of Dance Music: From Record Labels to Streaming Platforms
  • Role of Technology in the Development of Electronic Dance Music
  • The Influence of Cultural Diversity on Dance Music Genres
  • Dance Music in Film: Enhancing Narrative and Atmosphere
  • Understanding the DJ’s Role in Shaping Dance Music Culture
  • Tracing the Origins and Evolution of House Music
  • The Social Impact of Club Culture on Dance Music
  • Music Production Techniques in Modern Dance Genres
  • Choreography and Dance Music: An Inseparable Pair
  • The Impact of Dance Music on Pop Culture
  • How Does Dance Music Shape Fashion Trends?
  • Commercialization of Dance Music: Pros and Cons
  • Exploration of Gender Dynamics in the Dance Music Scene
  • Dance Music Festivals: Impact on Tourism and Local Economies
  • Analyzing the Global Appeal of K-Pop Dance Music
  • The Relationship Between Dance Music and Youth Culture
  • Evolution of Dance Music: From Disco to Electronic

Relax Music Essay Topics

  • Science Behind Relaxing Music: How Does It Affect Our Brain?
  • Evolution of Relaxing Music: From Classical to New Age
  • The Role of Music in Yoga and Meditation Practices
  • Analyzing the Impact of Relaxing Music on Sleep Quality
  • Soundscapes in Relaxation Music: From Nature Sounds to White Noise
  • Relaxing Music and Its Influence on Stress and Anxiety Levels
  • The Significance of Tempo and Rhythm in Relaxing Music
  • The Use of Relaxing Music in Therapeutic Settings
  • Understanding the Cultural Differences in Relaxation Music
  • Relaxing Music in the Classroom: Does It Enhance Learning?
  • Impacts of Relaxing Music on Heart Rate and Blood Pressure
  • Roles of Relaxing Music in Improving Concentration and Focus
  • Relaxing Music and Its Effects on Post-Workout Recovery
  • Use of Relaxation Music in Maternity Wards and Its Effect on Newborns
  • Harmonic Structures Commonly Found in Relaxing Music
  • The Influence of Ambient Music on Mental Well-being
  • Roles of Music Therapy in Reducing Anxiety and Pain in Patients
  • Can Relaxing Music Enhance the Quality of Meditation?
  • Binaural Beats and Isochronic Tones: Do They Help in Relaxation?
  • Relaxing Music in Workplaces: Impact on Productivity and Employee Satisfaction

Indie Music Essay Topics

  • An Examination of the Business Strategies Employed in the Indie Music Scene
  • The Progressive Influence of Technology on Indie Music’s Growth
  • Decoding the Artistic Liberty Inherent in Indie Music Creation
  • Cultural Connotations and Impacts Linked to Indie Music: An Analysis
  • Indie Music’s Contributions to Fashion and Contemporary Lifestyle Phenomena
  • The Part Indie Music Plays in Challenging Dominant Pop Culture
  • Tracing the Evolution and Influence of Indie Music Within the Music Industry
  • A Comparative Study on the Unique Aesthetics Found in Indie Music
  • The Rise of DIY Practices in Indie Music Culture: An Ethnographic Perspective
  • The Correlation Between Indie Music and Socio-Political Discourse Advocacy
  • Indie Music Festivals: An Analysis of Their Distinctive Features and Attraction
  • Roles and Impacts of Internet Technology and Social Media in Advancing the Popularity of Indie Music
  • How Indie Music Affects Identity Development: A Psychological View?
  • Understanding the Intersection of Indie Music and Independent Cinema
  • Investigating Gender Depictions within the Indie Music Scene: A Thematic Study
  • The Challenges and Prospects Faced by Indie Artists in Today’s Digital Era
  • A Deep Dive into the Shifting Soundscapes in Indie Music Over Time
  • The Influence of Indie Music on Modern Youth Culture from a Sociological Angle
  • Indie Music as a Tool for Artistic and Cultural Dissent

Training Music Essay Topics

  • The Science Behind Music and Its Impact on Athletic Performance
  • Rhythmic Influence: How Music Affects Training Patterns
  • Understanding the Psychology of Training Music: A Detailed Analysis
  • Evaluating the Role of Music in Enhancing Concentration During Training
  • The Impact of Music Tempo on Training Intensity
  • Role of Training Music in Stress Reduction and Relaxation
  • The Use of Music in Rehabilitation Training: A Therapeutic Perspective
  • Music Preferences Among Athletes: An Ethnographic Study
  • How Training Music Facilitates Flow State in Athletes
  • Exploring the Relationship Between Music Genres and Training Types
  • Music’s Influence on Physical Endurance and Stamina
  • The Art of Curating Effective Training Music Playlists
  • Roles of Music in Reducing Perceived Exertion During Workouts
  • Harmonizing Heart Rate and Beat: Music’s Role in Cardio Training
  • Psychological Benefits of Incorporating Music into Fitness Training
  • Music and Mindfulness in Training: A New Approach
  • The Impact of Lyrics in Training Music on Athlete Motivation
  • The Interplay of Music and Training in Dance and Choreography
  • Sonic Branding: The Use of Music in Athletic Training Brands
  • Historical Development of Music Usage in Training Environments

Love Music Essay Topics

  • The Power of Love Ballads: Analyzing Their Emotional Impact on Listeners
  • Unveiling the Romantic Themes in Pop Music: A Comparative Analysis
  • Exploring the Evolution of Love Songs: From Classic to Contemporary
  • Melodies of Passion: Examining the Role of Music in Expressing Love and Desire
  • The Language of Love: Understanding Symbolism in Romantic Music Lyrics
  • Captivating Melodies, Enduring Love: A Study on Timeless Love Songs
  • Rhythm of the Heart: Analyzing the Role of Music in Strengthening Romantic Connections
  • Love in Every Note: Exploring the Intertwining of Music and Romantic Relationships
  • Harmonic Love Stories: Examining Musical Narratives of Love and Heartbreak
  • The Influence of Love Songs on Romantic Expectations and Perceptions of Love
  • The Soundtrack of Love: Investigating the Impact of Music on Relationship Satisfaction
  • Love Across Genres: Comparing the Expression of Love in Different Musical Styles
  • Musical Chemistry: Exploring the Role of Shared Music Preferences in Romantic Bonds
  • Unforgettable Duets: The Magic of Collaborative Love Songs
  • Musical Love Letters: Examining the Role of Music in Long-Distance Relationships
  • Love and Lyrical Evolution: Tracing the Changes in Romantic Themes in Music History
  • The Healing Power of Love Songs: Analyzing Their Therapeutic Effects on Emotional Well-Being
  • The Intersection of Love and Social Commentary in Music: Examining Love as a Catalyst for Change
  • Love in the Digital Age: Investigating the Influence of Streaming Platforms on Love Music Consumption

Metal Music Essay Topics

  • Tracing the Evolution of Metal Music: Unraveling Its Origins and Diverse Subgenres
  • Identity Formation and Subcultural Affiliation in Metal Music: Examining Its Influential Impacts
  • Shattering Gender Norms in Metal Music: Defying Stereotypes and Empowering Voices
  • Mental Health and Catharsis in Metal Music: Unleashing Its Profound Impact on Well-Being
  • Decoding the Themes and Symbolism in Metal Music Lyrics: Unveiling Perspectives and Social Commentary
  • The Political Potency of Metal Music: Galvanizing Activism and Fueling Protest Movements
  • Innovations and Controversies in Metal Music Production: Embracing Technological Advancements and Provocations
  • Globalization and Metal Music: Cross-Cultural Exchange and the Fusion of Sonic Landscapes
  • Aesthetics and Visual Imagery in Metal Music: Embodying Power through Striking Album Art and Electrifying Stage Performances
  • Spirituality, Religion, and Metal Music: Exploring Intersections and Controversial Explorations
  • Metal Music as a Catalyst for Subversion: Igniting Rebellion Through Its Countercultural Essence
  • Pop Culture Impact: Illuminating the Profound Influence of Metal Music on Fashion, Media, and Widespread Popularity
  • Language and Expression in Metal Music: Analyzing Lyrics and Communication within Vibrant Subcultural Communities
  • Historical and Cultural Contexts of Metal Music: Forging Identity, Revolting, and Carrying Cultural Significance
  • Metal Music Communities: Forging Unbreakable Bonds through Online Spaces, Fan Clubs, and Transformative Rituals
  • The Influence of Metal Music on Music Education: Navigating Challenges and Unleashing Transformative Possibilities in Pedagogy
  • Ethnic Identity and Metal Music: Representing, Appropriating, and Enriching Cultural Heritage
  • The Economic, Social, and Cultural Impacts of Metal Music Festivals in the Live Music Industry
  • Metal Music in the Digital Age: Navigating Digital Platforms, Streaming, and Thriving Online Communities
  • Empowerment, Catharsis, and Resilience: Unleashing the Transformative Potential of Metal Music on Health and Well-Being

Jazz Music Essay Topics

  • Unveiling the Influence and Significance: Exploring Jazz as a Catalyst for Cultural Revolution
  • The Art of Improvisation: Unraveling the Creative Process in Jazz Music
  • Examining the Contributions of Pioneering Musicians: The Innovators Who Shaped Jazz
  • Blending Genres and Pushing Musical Boundaries: The Fusion of Jazz with Other Styles
  • The Intersection of Music and Social Change: Jazz’s Role in the Civil Rights Movement
  • Analyzing the Elements that Define the Genre: The Aesthetics of Jazz Music
  • Nurturing the Next Generation of Jazz Musicians: The Importance of Jazz Education
  • Celebrating Black American Artistic Expression: Jazz and the Harlem Renaissance
  • Exploring Cultural Adaptations and Influences: Jazz in a Global Context
  • Unlocking the Secrets of Jazz Harmony and Structure: Composition and Arranging in Jazz Music
  • Celebrating Female Jazz Musicians and Their Contributions: The Role of Women in Jazz
  • Bridging Cultures through Rhythms and Sounds: Jazz and Its Fusion with Latin Music
  • Pushing the Boundaries of Musical Expression: Jazz and the Avant-Garde Movement
  • Tracing the Roots of the Genre: Jazz and Its Influences from African Rhythms
  • Examining the Unique Style and Artistry of Jazz Singers: Vocalists in Jazz Music
  • From Duke Ellington to Count Basie and Beyond: Exploring the Jazz Big Band Tradition
  • Embracing Technology while Preserving Tradition: Jazz in the Digital Age
  • Understanding the Essential Groove of the Genre: Jazz and the Concept of Swing
  • Preserving Jazz’s Worldwide Appeal and Adaptation: Jazz as a Global Language

Classical Music Essay Topics

  • The Influence of Musical Structure on Emotional Responses in Classical Compositions Explored
  • Gender Representation in Classical Music: A Comparative Study
  • Relationship Between Tempo and Perceived Expressiveness in Beethoven’s Symphonies Examined
  • Musical Devices Depicting Nature in Classical Orchestral Works Analyzed
  • Historical Context of Classical Music and Its Connection to Social Movements Explored
  • Instrumentation’s Role in Interpreting Baroque Music Investigated
  • Melodic Patterns in Mozart and Bach’s Piano Sonatas: A Comparative Study
  • Symbolism of Key Signatures in Classical Music Compositions Explored
  • Influence of Cultural Background on Classical Music Preferences Examined
  • Harmony’s Role in Classical Chamber Music Analyzed
  • Musical Techniques Creating Narrative Structures in Classical Operas Explored
  • Rhythm and Meter in Classical Symphonies: A Comparative Analysis
  • Connection Between Classical Music and Spatial Perception Explored
  • Representation of Mythological Themes in Classical Music Compositions Examined
  • Dynamics and Articulation’s Effect on Interpretation of Romantic Era Piano Music Explored
  • Role of Improvisation in Classical Music Performances Investigated
  • Connection Between Classical Music and Memory Retrieval Explored
  • Influence of National Identity on Classical Music Composers of the 19th Century Examined
  • Evolution of Orchestration Techniques in Classical Music Explored
  • Contrapuntal Techniques in Fugues by Classical Composers Examined

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Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing.

storm moving across a field

10 Ideas For Inspiring Your Writing with Music

by Ellen Buikema

motivational music essay

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” – Plato

Music, the art of sound through the use of rhythm, harmonies, and melodies, is food for the soul—divine, effective, mathematical – the science of sound. Its language is universal.

A tuneful writing exercise

Music has the ability to spark our imaginations. Here’s how to channel that muse into inspiration for your writing. Turn on a tune that you love and listen carefully.

  • Where does the music take you?
  • What memory does the music send you to?
  • How does the music make you feel?
  • Now use that song to envision a character or setting.
  • Then take a few minutes and write what the song inspired in you.

Music to get us motivated

For those weeks full of Mondays when nothing is going right, turn on a get-moving playlist to drag yourself to your writing space.

I’m a fan of “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. This song always brings a smile to my face and makes me feel peppier. One writer and filmmaker recommends “In One Ear” by Cage the Elephant, a very high energy, edgy sound. Here are 52 motivational songs to get you pumped.

Score your novel

Many writers choose music based on the mood of the scene they’re developing. While listening to Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries,” conjure writing scenes of slicing through the waves via tall ships or helicopters soaring through clouds on the way to battle. I’ve tried this but it doesn’t work for me. I always hear Elmer Fudd singing, “Kill the wabbit …” when I listen to this piece of the opera Die Walküre . I guess I watched too many Warner Brothers Cartoons growing up.

For romance, light classical music works well. “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls, used in the movie City of Angels , is a fine example. Here are 24 lovely examples in a one hour set to help with the mood.

Soundtracks swell as they maneuver your protagonist through a crime scene. Check out this crime thriller background music .

Australian science fiction author A.C. Flory uses music that fits the mood of what she’s writing. Every once in a while she shares the music she’s found that fits the mood of the piece perfectly. Here’s a recent example .

Music can transport you just about anywhere. I can remember slow dancing (okay, it was that eighth grade hug-and-waddle) to “Knights in White Satin” by the Moody Blues. If I need to return to the emotions of that time all I have to do is hear the tune and it all comes flying back to me. Not that I really want to revisit adolescence and all that teen angst.   Ew . But if I need to make my way there, music is a fast ride back.

Songs from long ago or far away

If your setting is in a foreign land, music from that nation will help you get a feel for your characters and scenes. Let’s say that you are writing a scene that takes place in the American Southwest. An easy way to travel there is to listen to Native American music , deep and hauntingly calm.

If your setting is Spain, the Spanish guitar may lend inspiration. I chose Andrés Segovia for an example as I have seen him in concert and he was marvelous.

For scenes in the Australian outback listen to the drone of the didgeridoo . Lewis Burns, an ambassador of the Aboriginal Tradition, uses circular breathing for continuous sound. I can’t imagine how difficult this is to do.

Should we write while listening to music?

Neuroscientist will answer a resounding “No.” According to these scientists when we try to multitask, like write while listening to a song, or texting a friend and listening to a family member, our brain burns glucose at a faster rate and releases cortisol because our brain tries to give equal attention to all the incoming stimuli. They posit that writing while listening to music induces stress. That said, this does not seem to be the case.

Classical music played at a low volume may increase concentration. Low level ambient sound may improve creativity.

A friend grew up near an opera house in New York City. She did her homework while listening to the loud music emanating from the stage and orchestra pit. She prefers to write while listening to classical music set at a high volume. Experiences differ.

Music with or without lyrics

Instrumentals like jazz and classical can allow the world to slip away. Music with lyrics seems to be the problem child as songs with lyrics cause some writers distraction. There is always the possibility of the lyrics finding their way into dialogue.

An odd music related aside

According to one study published in 2012, people who ate at low-lit restaurants where soft music was played consumed 18% less food than those who ate in other restaurants. Not so good for the restaurant, but I wonder if writing in a low-lit writing cave while listening to soft sounds will cause less snacking.

Whatever you decide, the music you play while writing must inspire you and your book.

Do you listen to music while you write? Which comes first, the tune or the tale? How does music affect your work?  Do you use music local to the story to help you get in the mood for writing those scenes?

* * * * * *

About Ellen

motivational music essay

Author, speaker, and former teacher, Ellen L. Buikema has written non-fiction for parents and a series of chapter books for children with stories encouraging the development of empathy—sprinkling humor wherever possible. Her Works In Progress are,  The Hobo Code , YA historical fiction and Crystal Memories , YA fantasy.

Find her at  or on  Amazon .

Top Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

23 comments on “10 Ideas For Inspiring Your Writing with Music”

Interesting post, and some good ideas. I listen to classical radio all day, and I'd find it hard to write in silence - or distracted by the sounds of the neighbourhood.

I am right there with you regarding neighborhood noise. That can really be jarring. When we lived in Mazatlan we were exposed to the blaring of various radios from open-air taxis and live bands traveling along the beach all afternoon and much of the night. Impossible music to write to, at least for me.

I can only write in two kinds of noise - absolute silence, to the tune of noise-canceling headphones, or the cacophony of a bar or coffeeshop. Bar noise is the best, because I worked in bars in college and I'm used to reading and studying in that environment. But that at-home peaceful quiet of an empty house is pretty awesome too. 🙂

Silence is blissful! I keep threatening to buy some noise-canceling headphones.

You make a good point regarding working in an enviroment that you are used to. That makes a lot of sense.

Like Jenny, I'm an absolute silence writer, too. Even on the most beautiful summer day, I can't write outdoors for long, as the damn cars and birds and flies are too distracting. (Cue eyeroll.) BUT, Ellen, you've inspired me to make a writing playlist that I can use to get the gears turning, and turn off when necessary.

Ooh! Send us your playlist when you have one.

I've tried writing outdoors but fall prey to the "Look! There's a squirrel" syndrome. I'm easily distracted.

I used to have a one-hour playlist. Mostly mood music, but a few with lyrics. It became so familiar I didn't "hear" it anymore, but it was part of the writing. Then, more recently when I was writing Remaking Morgan, which revolved around a classical pianist, I asked Alexa to play classical piano. What I discovered was the dog came in to listen, and I've been playing classical music in my office ever since. She seems to enjoy it.

So your playlist became white noise for you. Interesting! Do you keep the classical music at a low level while writing?

How wonderful that your pup enjoys the music, too.

Not exactly white noise, because the moods were still there. I keep the volume moderate--background. After all, dogs have excellent hearing! 🙂

I became a believer in the power of music to influence the content of writing when teaching English class to sophomores in high school. On a day when the minds of my students were rushing to summer vacation, I played three pieces of classical music (unfamiliar to most of them). Two of those pieces--Ravel's "Bolero" and Offenbach's "Gaite Parisienne" had pens pushing on paper! And my students finding they had something to say.

How awesome is that!

I know a fourth grade teacher who dims the lights, turns on a long stream of tiny orange lights, and plays spooky music during writing time just before Halloween. She calls it Spooky Writing. The students love it and write some interesting stories.

Did you use Ravel's "Bolero" before or after Blake Edwards' movie '10' ?

Ellen, this is a good one! In my case i like quiet while I'm actually writing, but I have developed a lengthy (over 6 hours) playlist of oldies -- Doors, Stones, Beachboys, and, yes, the Monkees' underrated "I'm Not Your Stepping Stone" -- that I listen to while I'm editing. So it depends on what stage the WIP is at. Thanks for a cool essay!

Thank you, James!

I love the Monkees and have endured lots of teasing because of it, at which I smile. My taste in music is eclectic.

I find it interesting that you listen to different tunes depending upon the writing stage.

Hi, Ellen. Yes, when I'm actually putting new words on paper I can't use the playlist (I agree with the neuroscientists you mention in the essay), but it seems to help when I'm revising. Maybe I can edit longer, waiting for "one more song." And I've taken my share of teasing for Monkees music, too. Great to find another fan!

I wrote 52 short stories in 52 weeks with music from This is OCB Study and Relax Music (mostly piano).

This is lovely, Cheryl. Thank you for sharing.

Yes, I find I do more of my best work with music playing. Somehow it helps me focus, rather than causing a multi-task issue in my experience. I also use music to fit the approximate decade of my fiction and that really helps. I know some writers say it's better not to listen to songs with lyrics, but that doesn't bother me at all. There is something settling about music for me, and keeps me focused and in the chair. Without music in the background, I pop up out of the chair more often for all sorts of distractions like snacks, drinks, small chores that suddenly need attention etc. So I was happy to see this article. Music might not be good for everyone's concentration, but it is the best thing for me. Thanks for posting it.

We are all so different. You have to use what works best for you.

A good friend listens to punk rock when he is writing a rant. I like to listen to music with lyrics when I'm painting, but not while writing.

I'm happy that you've enjoyed the post!

Thank you, Ellen, I have a music score in my ALBINO WOMAN Story. Right now, I'm immersed in listening to poetry readings on You Tube. I intend to write a unique poem between each section of TOXIC TIMES.

Hi Elizabeth! I remember your Albino Woman story from critique group. You are so good with dark and gritty. I look forward to reading your next works.

I listen to music while I write. It serves several purposes: if I'm actually paying attention to the song, it may inspire a scene, it drowns out other noises in the background, and as part of TRT, it provides a neutral noise to drown out tinnitus.

Glad you've brought up the use of background noise to drown out tinnitus. Excellent point. Thank you Denise!

I suppose I am different to most here. I like listening to music, softly, in the background whilst I am writing. It does not affect me but it does infect me, the cadence, style and lyrics play with what I am writing. If I listen to "the cowboy Junkies" (just an example) the tale becomes more folksey, clever, homegrown. "KIng Crimson" and it grows esoteric and fulfilling, the poetry of Pete Sinfield, pumping up my lyricism. The huge crescendos bring words unused for years from me, only to be forgotten again when written, at times Bach and Tchaikovsky illicit similar verbose literacy. Yet the truly best for me (all will have their own choices) to encourage what I wish to write are Mike Oldfield and Tangerine Dream.

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11 Pieces of Inspiring Music for Writing

11 Pieces of Inspiring Music for Writing

Inspiring music to help you start writing.

I love inspiring music that compels me to start writing. Music is a lot like a story: It has a beginning, crescendo, and an ending. Whether instrumental or with lyrics, music has been a lifeline of mine for years. A good song can lighten my chest or tear my heart out, and I love both feelings. 

If you enjoy inspiring music for motivation, inspiration, pleasant background for writing, or simply to relish in good songs, I’ve curated a few pieces you may like.

So, here are some of my memorable songs, what they mean to me, and why you may like them.

Song 1: All I Have by NF

During the writing of my first novel draft for The New Dawn (working title), I listened to this song probably everyday for over a month. In the lyrics, NF talks about his raw desire to be a rapper, and why it’s so important to him. 

This song helped me realize how powerfully I felt about writing my stories, and gave me validation that I was not crazy to put my effort into something creative. 

When I felt my drive wavering, I loved listening to this song. To this day, it is one of my favorite listens. You may find it inspiring as well. 

I am a huge fan of NF. If you liked All I Have, I encourage you to try his later albums as well. They are emotional, real, and clever. 

Visit NF’s website here.

Song 2: Audiomachine  

For some symphonic and electric scores to listen to while writing, you should try Audiomachine. They have a whole lot of albums, and many different moods of music. 

Their scores can be beautiful, eerie, light, or dark. Highly recommend you give them a listen on YouTube , Spotify , or your music service of choice. I’ve linked to one of their YouTube playlists below to get you started.

Audiomachine is a also great starting place to find similar orchestral and cinematic artists. 

Visit Audiomachine’s website.

Song 3: Eschaton by Tony Anderson and Chris Coleman

I have been listening to Eschaton on repeat for a few of the scenes I’m writing for my novel The New Dawn (working title). 

It’s an instrumental song with a breathtaking crescendo—the strings just wash over me while I write. This piece puts me in a perfect mood for crafting emotionally charged scenes, and may do the same for you.   

Song 4: Tommee Profitt, Artist and Producer

Tommee Profitt produces amazing cinematic music. I probably listen to at least one of his songs everyday, and am always inspired. Highly recommend giving his music a listen.

Below is the Cinematic Songs (Vol. 1) playlist to get you started.

Visit Tommee Profitt’s website.

Song 5: Chillstep and Epic Music Mixes

When I first started a writing habit, I listened to chillstep music mixes on Youtube while I wrote. I still go back to these mixes from time to time, because they are simply great. 

I also recommend epic instrumental music mixes on YouTube. You can find both uplifting, dark, and emotional moods in these mixes. Just type what you’re looking for into YouTube’s search bar. 

To get you started, I’ll link to a couple mixes I have enjoyed. 

Song 6: Movie Soundtracks

When I stumble across a movie or TV show with a similar vibe to my own stories, I’ll look up the soundtrack and use it for inspiration. 

However, sometimes soundtracks to my favorite movies and TV shows are never officially released. Or, they use songs from various artists and I don’t have time to track all that music down. When this happens, I’ll do a quick search on Spotify or YouTube, and if I’m lucky someone has made a playlist for me with those songs I want to find. 

So give listening to a soundtrack of your favorite a shot. 

Song 7: This Mountain by Faouzia

I love songs about overcoming obstacles, and This Mountain by Faouzia is a great one. As soon as I heard it I hit the like button on Spotify. 

If you need a little courage to face your writing session, play this song. 

Visit Faouzia’s website.

Song 8: Ruelle

I love Ruelle. Whether I’m searching for dark or light music, she has a unique, dramatic feel I enjoy. Whether for writing or listening throughout the day, Ruelle is a great option. Below is her Earth Glow playlist to get you started.

And again, she is a great place to start when searching for similar artists.

Visit Ruelle’s website.

Song 9: Got It In You by BANNERS

When you begin to seriously doubt your ability to write, or you feel like your effort isn’t paying off, listen to Got It In You by BANNERS and remember that you are capable of overcoming your struggle. 

You are stronger than you think you are. Despite what you may feel sometimes, you have it in you to be a writer. 

Also, check out BANNERS’s album Where The Shadow Ends —it’s an uplifting and inspiring one. 

Visit BANNERS website.

Song 10: Toxic Thoughts by Faith Marie

Maybe it’s the typewriter sound in the background, but this song seems the perfect fit for a writer, especially one struggling with doubts, anxiety, or perfectionism. 

Toxic Thoughts poetically carries you through a journey of struggling to write, and to having hope in overcoming the obstacles your mind presents. Plus, the music is beautiful. 

Song 11: Lunatic by Andy Grammer

This is a fun song about writing—songwriting, but I think it can be adapted to fiction writing. I love this songs cause it gives us permission to be our creative selves, and to not worry about how other people may judge our life to be a bit weird. 

Have faith in your dreams, and go for it. 

Andy Grammer’s album Naive is another of my absolute favorite listens. Give it a try! 

Visit Andy Grammer’s website.

I hope you find some pleasure and inspiration in my above selections. Inspiring music can be such a powerful tool for us, whether to lift our spirits or transport us into the world of our stories for writing.  

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motivational music essay

Sarah Siedenburg is a blogger, author, freelance proofreader, and copy editor with a passion for stories and helping beginner writers finish novels. In her past life she was hired as Editor for a start-up interior design magazine, although she knew very little about the world of luxury interior design when she began. 

Her blog talks about all things creative writing, and she is the creator of the guidebooks  Character Presentation: The Advanced Guide to Character Description and  Before the First Draft: The Plantster’s Guide to Pre-Writing , as well as the online course “How to Write a Novel: An Email Course for Writers.” Sarah lives amongst the noble evergreens in the northwest corner of Washington state.

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11 Pieces of Inspiring Music for Writing

Table of Contents

Mood Music with English Lyrics

Music in a foreign language, music without lyrics.

  • Game & Movie Scores without Lyrics

Electronic Music

Ambient noise, the best music for writing: 32 playlists for inspiration & focus.

motivational music essay

Music can set the tone when you’re writing a book . Or, it can help you avoid writer’s block by motivating you through the hard, boring work of sitting in your chair.

But it has to be the right music for you (and your book).

Some people can write to anything. Heavy metal, construction noises, or catchy pop tunes, nothing derails their focus.

I am not one of those. I need the music to match my mood or the mood I’m writing in. How am I supposed to write about the most challenging moments in my life while upbeat kids’ music is pounding in my headphones?

Some people can only write to music if there are no lyrics or if it’s in a foreign language they can’t understand. There’s no right answer for the “best” or “perfect” playlist. It’s just whatever works best for you.

You need something that will motivate you to write quickly and write well so you can get your published book into the world.

It may take some trial-and-error to figure it out. But here’s a list of options that have worked for me and other members of the Scribe Crew . I’ve broken our top recommendations down into categories, so you can try them out yourself.

32 Best Music Playlists & Songs to Listen to While You Write

Whether you need to psych yourself up to write or just want to match the tone of your book, here are some of our favorite options for a range of moods.

1. Morning Rhythm

This is upbeat but gentle music to ease you into the writing groove. There’s a little bit of everything here, from funk to soul to jazz.

Every song has a beat, so this list will motivate you without fading into the background.

2. Shoegaze Classics

Shoegaze was initially called “dream pop” when it emerged in the UK in the 1980s. It features ethereal, shimmery vocals, distorted guitars, and a lot of distortion.

Shoegaze is brooding music that somehow manages to be upbeat and depressing at the same time.

3. Have a Great Day!

You can probably guess from the name—this list is full of happy songs to brighten your day.

You’ll find tracks from Fleetwood Mac, Elton John, Steely Dan, Blondie, and Stevie Wonder.

If you’re stuck, it might help to get a dose of energy with familiar, fun music.

4. Chill + Atmospheric

Do you prefer melancholy music?

Do you like songs with haunting melodies?

Do you like the idea of writing on a rainy day?

If the answer to any of those questions is yes, give this playlist a shot.

5. Melantronic

Spotify describes this playlist as “beautiful electronic music for melancholy moments.”

There’s definitely some sadness here. But don’t expect a playlist that’s going to kill your spirit. These songs have solid beats.

Think Thom Yorke, Caribou, and Aphex Twin.

I’ve found that sometimes I like to write to music in a foreign language. The music is interesting enough to keep me motivated, but I don’t get distracted by the lyrics.

Here are some playlists we liked from around the world.

6. French Indie Pop

This playlist is full of dreamy, mellow French indie pop.

It’s heavy on electronic music and sparkly beats. Think more “low-key Paris” vibe than club-hopping.

7. Japanese City Pop

In the late 1970s and 1980s, the term “City Pop” described a type of music popular in Japan.

City pop borrowed heavily from Western music and had elements of jazz, soft rock, and funk.

If you like yacht rock or need some peppy music, give city pop a try.

8. Soweto Beat/Township Jive

Soweto is a township in South Africa that’s well known for music.

This playlist features mbaqanga music, a style of South African music with Zulu roots that originated in the early 1960s.

It’s upbeat and rhythmic, so it’s great for energetic bursts of writing.

9. Bhangra Bangers

If you like upbeat music that makes you nod your head, this is it.

Bhangra originated in the British Punjabi community during the late 20th century.

It’s got a little bit of traditional Indian folk music, a little bit of hip hop, and a lot of percussion.

10. Spanish Tapas Bar

Only listen to this if you’re looking for a jolt of energy.

This playlist features traditional flamenco and Spanish folk tunes with a quick tempo.

11. Korean Indie/Chill/R&B

This is the longest mix of Korean RnB, pop, ballads, and lo-fi songs on Spotify.

Clocking in at 54 hours, there’s a little bit of everything, from uplifting to downtempo.

If you get easily distracted by lyrics, you still have plenty of musical options.

Classical music, hip hop beats, instrumental versions of your favorite songs, and modern composers can help you find your focus.

12. Japanese Lofi HipHop

This is one of my favorite writing playlists. It’s a collection of lyric-less, Asian-inspired hip hop beats. It’s chill, but upbeat enough that it won’t put you to sleep. I write to this about 50% of the time.

13. Classical Music for Reading

If it’s good for reading, chances are it’s good for writing.

This 2.5-hour playlist features a sampling of pieces from Mozart, Chopin, Debussy, and other famous classical composers.

14. Minimalism

Minimalist compositions are perfect for writing.

They usually have repetitive patterns or pulses or steady drones. They’re easy to get sucked into (without giving them too much attention).

This mix features some of the most iconic minimalist composers: Philip Glass, Michael Nyman, and John Adams.

15. Instrumental Pop Covers

Try this if you like top-40 radio and pop classics but don’t want to lose your focus.

It’s got everything from basic guitar covers to full orchestral versions of songs you probably already know.

16. Composer Weekly: Ryuichi Sakamoto

Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakamoto has played many different styles of music over the course of his career.

Lately, he’s been recognized for his movie soundtracks and piano compositions.

This playlist is a 30-track introduction to his instrumental music. It’s sparse, dark, and contemplative.

17. Relaxing Spanish Guitar

Don’t underestimate the power of Spanish guitar.

It’s full of emotion, quick riffs, and rhythm. It may put some zest in your typing.

18. Ludovico Einaudi Complete Playlist

Ludovico Einaudi is an Italian pianist and composer.

He’s well known for his film and television scores, but this playlist features his solo releases, including a seven-part series called Seven Days Walking , which he released last year.

Game & Movie Scores without Lyrics

Some of the best composers in the world write for movies and video games.

Unless you’re using a specific movie or game to purposely set a mood, I recommend choosing one you’re not very familiar with. That way, the music won’t distract you.

19. DirecTV’s Movie Score Channel (Channel 822)

If you have DirectTV, make the most of your TV’s speakers and tune into the DirectTV Movie Score Channel.

Their non-stop instrumental music is the perfect soundtrack for writing your book.

20. Soundtracks for Studying

This playlist covers everything from Downton Abbey and Braveheart to Ratatouille and Sherlock .

Movie-wise, that’s a big range. But musically, all these songs strike the perfect balance between epic and lowkey so you can focus.

21. Minecraft Soundtrack

Minecraft is the bestselling video game of all time.

There are many reasons people love it, but 1 big reason is the music. It’s the kind of music that makes you feel happy without even realizing it.

It’s “barely there” but still optimistic and motivational.

22. Studio Ghibli Summer Night Piano Collection with Nature Sounds

Studio Ghibli is a famous Japanese animation studio. This 7-hour Youtube collection features piano performances of some of their gentlest music, overlaid with cricket noises.

If you’re looking for something soft and soothing, this is it.

There are many styles of electronic music: electronica, house, techno, drum and bass, jungle, garage, trance, IDM, etc.

If you’re already a fan of electronic music, you might have a favorite type.

While some people can write to rave tunes, most can’t. So, I’ve added some energetic playlists that aren’t too dancy or aggressive.

23. Brain Food

This is subtle, hypnotic electronic music that promotes focus or relaxation.

There aren’t any lyrics, which makes this a good option for people who are easily distracted.

24. Yoga Electronica

This playlist features downtempo deep house. That means it’s a perfect dose of energy without making you want to get up and dance.

You can latch onto the beats, but it’s repetitive enough to help you stay in the writing zone.

25. Mother Earth’s Plantasia

This is a cult classic electronic album by Mort Garson. It was first released to a limited audience in 1976, but it gained wider circulation when it was re-released in 2019.

The album features “warm Earth music” designed to help plants grow. It’s sweet, hopeful, and spacey.

If you like Moog synthesizers and fantasy, you’ll love Plantasia .

26. Women of Electronic

This list features women who make innovative electronic music. Most of the tracks have lyrics.

This playlist offers a wide range of styles. For example, Yaeji is a Korean-American artist who sings over house beats in a quiet, mellow voice.

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith uses synthesizers to create layered, elaborate songs.

And Charlotte De Witte is a Belgian DJ known for her “dark and stripped-back” techno.

When we asked the Scribe Crew for playlist recommendations, this was by far the category that got the most responses.

Ambient noise is a great option if you hate working in total quiet but also get easily distracted by music.

It’s also a helpful workaround if you like working in coffee shops or coworking spaces but can’t right now because of the pandemic.

Ambient sounds can give you the impression that you’re out of the house even if you’re still sitting at your desk.

27. My Noise

This is, hands down, the coolest ambient noise and white noise generator.

It’s run by an engineer and sound designer who collects recordings from around the world.

It has everything from Tibetan bells and waterfalls to street recordings and gardens.

28. Coffitivity

Many writers love to write in coffee shops, but you may not have that option if you have a l imited time frame (or if you’re still under COVID lockdown).

Streaming background noise on Coffitivity can give you the feeling that you’re in a coffee shop even when you aren’t.

You can also choose between different levels of activity. For example, “Morning Murmur” is less hectic than “Lunchtime Lounge.”

29. Rain Sounds

I LOVE the Spotify playlist that features rain sounds. I like to curl up on a rainy day and just chill, and the rain sounds create that mood. It’s a gentle and soothing way I use to get into writing, and it helps keep me in my flow state once I get there.

30. 8 Hours of Ocean Sounds

These calming wave sounds were recorded at Playa de Piticabo in the Dominican Republic.

With 8 hours of recordings, you could literally listen to them all day if you want some soothing background noise while you write.

31. OM Chanting @ 417 Hz

These Om chants are repetitive and positive. They can help you tune out the outside world and get into a meditative pattern.

32. Binaural Beats: Focus

When you hear a slightly different tone in each ear, it creates a binaural beat. Your brain falls into sync with the difference between the tones’ frequencies and creates an auditory illusion.

Binaural beats can lower stress, promote creativity, and encourage relaxation. This playlist is designed to enhance your focus.

The Scribe Crew

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The Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology (2nd edn)

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30 Motivation to Learn

Susan Hallam is emerita professor of education and music psychology at the UCL Institute of Education. She was awarded an MBE in the 2015 honours list. She pursued careers as both a professional musician and a music educator before joining the Institute of Education, University of London in 1991. She joined Oxford Brookes as Professor of Education in January 2000 returning to the Institute of Education in January 2001. She has received research funding from the ESRC, DfE, the Scottish Executive, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Nuffield Foundation, Performing Rights Society, the Christian Initiative Trust, CfBT, the Ministry of Defence, 4Children, EMI Sound Foundation, the Institute of Physics, SkillForce, and several Local Authorities for a range of projects relating to attendance at school, exclusion from school, behavior improvement, school-home links, ability grouping in primary and secondary schools, formative feedback in learning, instrumental music services, and the evaluation of various educational initiatives. In addition she has undertaken research in relation to pedagogy in secondary and higher education, text understanding and conceptions of argument of post-graduate students, homework, learning in music, and the effects of music on behavior and studying.

  • Published: 02 October 2014
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Recent research has recognized the complexity of musical motivation and several models have been developed which take account of that complexity. This chapter sets out a model which integrates the various theoretical approaches to understanding motivation embedded within a broadly systemic approach. In addition, the model recognizes the importance of cognitive factors and self-determination in behavior, while also taking account of the power of the emotions. The evidence relating to the various elements of the model is considered. The chapter also sets out the need for research which explores issues of motivation in different learning contexts, informal and formal, for learners of different ages, across different types of music, for those whose engagement with music is through listening and why music plays no part in the lives of some people.

The Historical Perspective

Human motivation is extremely complex. Historically, numerous theories have been developed in attempts to explain it. These, to varying degrees, emphasize motivation as deriving from within the individual, within the environment or as a complex interaction between the two mediated by cognition. The most recent theories emphasize the way that our perceptions of events are determined by our construction of them, these interpretations subsequently influencing our self-esteem, self-efficacy and motivation. They acknowledge the capacity of individuals to determine their own behavior, whilst also recognizing the role of the environment in rewarding or punishing particular behaviors influencing subsequent cognitions and later actions. There has also been increasing recognition that motivation operates at different levels and across different timescales (for more detail of generic theories of motivation and earlier reviews of motivation in relation to music see Asmus, 1994 ; Austin, Renwick and McPherson, 2006 ; Hallam 2002 , 2009 ; O’Neill and McPherson, 2002 ).

Much of the early research on motivation in music was not embedded within any specific motivational research paradigm or theoretical position, although expectancy-value models which have been proposed to explain motivation for particular tasks in education have provided a framework for some work. The research has also focused almost exclusively on motivation for school music or to learn and continue to play an instrument. There has been little interest in motivation to listen to music, compose or engage in other musical activities.

A Framework for Understanding Motivation in Music

Recent research has recognized the complexity of musical motivation and several models have been developed which take account of that complexity (see Hallam, 2002 , 2009 ; MacIntyre, Potter and Burns, 2012 ; Sichivitsa, 2007 ). One such model is set out in this chapter. The model integrates the various theoretical approaches to understanding motivation embedded within a broadly systemic approach as set out in Gaunt and Hallam, Chapter 29, this volume which suggests that the process of human development depends on mutual accommodation which occurs throughout the life course between an individual and the various systems which they or others close to them encounter in their environment.

Interactions between individual and environmental factors in determining musical motivation.

Figure 30.1 sets out the framework which illustrates the complex interactions which occur over time in relation to motivation. Certain aspects of our individuality are predetermined, for instance, our biological temperament, our sex and our age. These are shaped through interaction with the environment to develop our personality, gender identity, cognitive processes and our self-perceptions. We are motivated because we desire social approval, particularly from those we admire and respect. Such praise from others is internalized, raises self-esteem, and enhances confidence. Some environmental influences are internalized to such an extent that they come to affect the individual’s functioning over time in a fairly consistent way. Individuals set themselves goals which determine their behavior. These goals are influenced by individual and self-perception characteristics as well as environmental factors. Where the environment satisfies individual needs and facilitates personal goals, motivation is likely to be enhanced. Where the environment presents obstacles, the individual may give up or be spurred on to greater efforts to overcome them, perhaps by finding a more conducive environment. Behavior is the end link in the chain but at the time of enactment it too can be influenced and changed by environmental factors. There is interaction between the environment and the individual at every level and in the long and short term. Individuals can act upon the environment to change it, or seek out new environments more conducive to their needs (see Gaunt and Hallam, Chapter 29, this volume ). The model recognizes the importance of cognitive factors and self-determination in behavior, while also taking account of the power of our emotions. While we have needs and desires we are aware that we need to consider the consequences of our actions before we attempt to satisfy them. Cognition plays a role in the ways in which we attempt to enhance our self-esteem leading us to attribute our success or failure to causes which will allow us to maintain a consistent view of ourselves. When a learner has completed a learning task successfully this has a positive emotional impact and, subsequently, impacts on self-esteem and motivation which will be carried forward to subsequent learning tasks. Conversely, when learning outcomes are negative, motivation may be impaired. In the following sections I provide a more detailed account of what we know about each of the elements outlined in the model as they relate to motivation in music.

Individual Characteristics

Enduring individual characteristics: physical, gender and personality factors.

Gaunt and Hallam in Chapter 29, this volume consider many elements of individuality which may influence the nature of engagement with music including physical, gender and personality characteristics. These are not discussed further here. The focus in this section is the complex and multifaceted nature of motivation to become actively involved in music-making which includes the way that it intrinsically acts to meet needs which vary between individuals in relation to their personality characteristics. For instance, Nagel (1987) stressed the need for personal fulfilment met by the emotion-inducing quality of music, satisfaction of a positive social response within performance settings, exploration of aggressive drives through the exploitation of the motor skills entailed in musical performance and some voyeuristic and exhibitionist desires. Persson, Pratt and Robson (1996) studying pianists also emphasized the importance of hedonic drive, while acknowledging the role of social and achievement motives, and Makris and Mullet (2009) exploring motives for becoming a conductor found that those most strongly evoked were linked with emotion and emotional needs. Musicians, it seems, experience considerable personal fulfilment and emotional benefits from the act of making music, in addition to the social rewards that it offers. The balance between these motives may change over time as individuals progress through their musical careers and may contribute to determining individual career trajectories (see Hallam, 2015 ). The diversity of individual motivation has been explored in relation to amateur musicians in addition to professionals. Some amateurs view music as personal amusement while for others it constitutes serious leisure and they invest huge energy and time in it ( Pitts, 2005 ). Their amateur status suggests that they find their musical activities intrinsically motivating although social interaction can also be an important motivator particularly for older people ( Creech, Hallam, McQueen and Varvarigou, 2014 ).

Malleable Aspects of the Personality and Self-Concept

An individual’s identity or self-concept represents the way s/he thinks about him/herself and his/her relationships with others (see Hargreaves, MacDonald and Miell, Chapter 46 , this volume) and plays a crucial role in motivation. Behavior is influenced by the individual’s interpretation of situations and events, their expectations and the goals that they have set for themselves related to their identity. Music self-concept has been shown to be linked to motivation, interest and participation in school and out-of-school musical activities ( Austin, 1991 ) and develops early as quite young children are able to assess how well they can complete particular musical tasks ( Greenberg, 1970 ). However, being good at something does not necessarily transfer to interest in it. Asmus and Harrison (1990) working with nonmusic major college students found no relationship between music motivation and aptitude. They argued that engagement with music stems from love of it.

Children’s self-concept in relation to classroom music and the value that they place on music appear to decline as they get older ( McPherson and O’Neill, 2010 ; Mota, 1999 ; Wigfield et al., 1997 ), although those actively engaged in music-making through playing an instrument have higher levels of musical self-belief ( Ivaldi and O’Neill, 2010 ; Ritchie and Williamon, 2011 ) which continues to be enhanced as musical expertise develops ( Hallam, 2013b ). Transitions between educational environments, for instance, to higher education, or into the music profession may lead to temporary lowering of self-beliefs as comparisons are made with high-attaining others. This process is influenced by whether the context is supportive or critical ( Creech et al., 2008 ; Long, 2013 ).

Self-efficacy beliefs based on evaluations of the likelihood of success in relation to particular tasks or areas of work also play a part in determining whether particular goals will be pursued and subsequently achieved. Unsurprisingly, self-efficacy has been found to be the most important predictor of examination success ( McPherson and McCormick, 2006 ) as it depends on feedback from teachers and family, comparisons with peers and self-assessment of progress in completing a task ( Hendricks, 2013 ). Bandura (1989) suggested that motivation for an activity is at its peak when a person feels competent but challenged. However, for intrinsic motivation to flourish, feelings of self-determination are also necessary. Evidence of the links between intrinsic motivation, self-determination and the use of self-regulating practicing strategies support this ( Austin et al., 2006 ). When children can choose the repertoire that they learn, they practice with heightened attention, persistence and enhanced strategy use ( Renwick and McPherson, 2002 ).

Goals and Aims

The goals and aims that individuals strive to attain are related to their identity, self-concept, self-efficacy and what they believe is possible for them. These take account of both context and cognition. If an individual perceives him- or herself as successful and attributes this success to high ability they may come to include in their self-concept a “positive possible future self” in that domain ( Markus and Ruvolo, 1989 ). Schnare, MacIntyre and Doucette (2012) studied 204 musicians at varying levels of expertise aged from 18–69 and found that their “hoped-for possible selves” were related to improvement, social connection, success and enjoyment, while “feared selves” focused on being a poor musician, injury/illness, financial difficulty, lack of knowledge and lack of connection/recognition.

Possible selves can be powerful motivators providing long-term goals and encouraging the setting up of interim goals which need to be achieved en route. If an individual does not have a positive possible self as a musician (professional, amateur or listener) in the long, medium, or short term they are unlikely to maintain their interest in music. Such musical identities can develop at any time, during the school years ( Hallam, 2013a ; MacNamara, Holmes and Collins, 2006 ) through to later life ( Creech et al., 2014 ), although for some they never develop ( McPherson and McCormick, 2000 ). Different musical aspirations including wanting to be a professional musician, an amateur or seeing active engagement with music as contributing to other career aspirations ( Hallam, 2013a ) can emerge early in life ( McPherson and Lehmann, 2012 ). Strong aspirations to become a professional musician are reflected in dedication, commitment, determination and a willingness to make sacrifices with self-belief becoming increasingly important as more critical appraisal and greater competition is experienced ( MacNamara et al., 2006 ). However, goals can sometimes conflict with each other and their fulfilment can be disrupted by others ( Harnischmacher, 1997 ). Individuals may have to make trade-offs between goals at different levels and undertake some activities to attain a particular goal which they may not find particularly enjoyable, for instance, most young people do not enjoy practicing but recognize that it is necessary to attain high levels of musical expertise ( Hallam et al., 2012 ).

Cognition: Individual Characteristics and Processes

All modern theories of motivation take account of cognition—an acceptance that much of our behavior is mediated by our thoughts about and perceptions of events. This process is influenced, in part, by locus of control: the extent to which the individual perceives that s/he has control over situations ( Rotter, 1966 ). While prior knowledge and skills in a domain are powerful determinants of performance in that domain our beliefs about our current capabilities also play a part. Also important are our beliefs about the nature of learning. A distinction has been made between performance and learning goals, the former concerned with gaining positive judgments of competence as compared with others and avoiding negative ones, the latter with increasing mastery, reflecting the desire to learn new skills, master new tasks or understand new things ( Elliott and Dweck, 1988 ).

Typically, children who are successful in learning an instrument, where it is necessary to sustain motivation to practice, adopt mastery goals as their dominant approach to learning ( Miksza, 2011 ; O’Neill, 1997 ). Schmidt (2005) found that instrumental students defined their success in relation to mastery and cooperative orientations placing less emphasis on competitive and ego orientations, although the context of learning, particularly teacher behavior, played a part in the type of goals adopted ( Sandene, 1998 ). Studying advanced students and professional musicians, Bonneville-Roussy, Lavigne and Vallerand (2011) found that mastery learning was related to what they described as “harmonious passion” for music, while “obsessive passion” tended to be related to the adoption of performance goals.

Research in other domains has shown a relationship between students’ theories of intelligence and their goal choices. Where students hold an entity theory of intelligence (fixed and immutable) they are more likely to adopt performance goals while those holding an incremental view of intelligence are more likely to choose a learning goal ( Dweck and Leggett, 1988 ). In music, there is some support for this. Nielsen (2012) found that advanced music students who believed that ability was fixed were less likely to adopt metacognitive strategies and effort regulation strategies in practice, although the relationships were weak.

Individuals are motivated to establish, maintain and promote a consistent and usually positive self-image, so they develop a variety of coping strategies to maintain self-worth some of which may be self-defeating, for instance, reducing effort. How individuals attribute successes and failures is important in maintaining self-esteem. The causes of success or failure can be seen as stable or unstable, controllable or uncontrollable, and internal or external. Overall, five major attribution categories have been found in music: effort, musical background, classroom environment, musical ability and affect for music ( Asmus, 1986a ), although findings specifically related to performance in an examination also included effort in preparation, effort in the examination, nervousness, luck and task difficulty ( McPherson and McCormick, 2000 ). Musical ability and effort are the most frequently cited attributions by music students. Highly motivated music students tend to make effort attributions, while students with low motivation cite ability (e.g., Austin and Vispoel, 1998 ). These findings seem to be broadly consistent across grade levels ( Asmus, 1986b ; McPherson and McCormick, 2000 ), school settings and music populations, although there is some evidence that ability attributions become more frequent as children get older ( Asmus, 1986b ). Considering the effect of attributing success or failure to the use of particular learning strategies, Vispoel and Austin (1993) found that explaining failure in terms of the adoption of less than optimal learning strategies was effective in improving these and increasing effort.

Metacognition (the term given to our knowledge of our own learning) is relevant for motivation insofar as it indicates our awareness of our own strengths and weaknesses and the ways in which we learn best, and may be implicated in the way that we manage our attributions. Metacognitive strategies are concerned with the planning, monitoring and evaluation of learning and performance (see Jørgensen and Hallam, Chapter 28, this volume ). For most musicians life is dominated by public performance and preparation for it. As practice is not always intrinsically motivating, developing strategies for managing motivation is crucial. Preparing for public performance necessitates giving priority to practice, mobilizing arousal specifically for performance and managing anxiety (see Altenmüller and Furuya, Chapter 33 and Kenny and Ackermann, Chapter 39, this volume ). These all depend on the development of appropriate metacognitive skills.

The Environment

The environment is crucial in determining the opportunities that individuals have to engage with music and the extent to which they will be supported while doing so. Music is not valued equally in all cultures. In some it is viewed as decadent and is forbidden. In others it is highly valued and those involved in its composition or execution are highly revered members of society. Economic, demographic and political factors can have a major impact on musical engagement particularly as they impact on opportunity ( Driscoll, 2009 ; Hallam and Rogers, 2010 ) with children from stable families with higher socioeconomic status more likely to have instrumental tuition ( Kinney, 2010 ). Over time, the value placed on music can change and within any particular culture different types of music may be valued by specific subgroups. We know relatively little about how these cultural and societal factors mediate motivation to engage with music or the type of activity selected, although in the Western world, children’s musical role models tend to be pop stars, typically vocalists. Emulating them is an aspiration held by many young people ( Ivaldi and O’Neill, 2010 ).

At the institutional level, environment has been demonstrated to impact on musical motivation. Studies in Spain at primary level ( Sanz and Orbea, 2013 ) and in Australia at secondary level ( McEwan, 2013 ) have shown that school cultures influence active participation in music, with class teachers playing an important role in motivating students. An ideal school environment for encouraging engagement with music is one where there are plentiful performing opportunities, teachers are inspiring, and at primary level where there are opportunities for singing ( Pitts, 2009 ). The quality of specific musical activities is also important ( Sichivitsa, 2007 ), while at conservatoire level, a dominating value system focused on musical performance can influence practice even for those students enrolled on other programs ( Jorgensen, 1997 ).

Teachers, particularly instrumental teachers, play a crucial role in motivating students ( Creech and Hallam, 2011 ; Pitts, 2009 ). Where school teachers motivate pupils to engage with music, identities as musicians develop leading to more positive attitudes toward school music ( Lamont, 2002 ). In adolescence the peer group is very powerful and can exert positive or negative pressure in relation to musical activities ( Driscoll, 2009 ; Hallam, 2013b ). To withstand negative pressure in adolescence musical identities need to be well developed. The influence of early teachers, who are viewed as warm and sympathetic, seems to be particularly important in encouraging the initial development of a positive musical identity ( Sloboda and Howe, 1991 ) with inspiring teachers, who act as role models, increasingly important as expertise develops ( Pitts, 2009 ).

Parents have a critical influence on children’s motivation for involvement with music and the acquisition of musical skill (see Creech, Chapter 31, this volume ). In the early years the family is likely to be the main source of musical stimulation. The age at which children first sing is related to the number of musical behaviors initiated by parents ( Howe, Davidson, Moore and Sloboda, 1995 ) and the development of perfect pitch occurs with particularly systematic exposure to music in early childhood ( Bahr, Christensen and Bahr, 2005 ). The influence of parents can also contribute to the choice of instrument to be played (see Gaunt and Hallam, Chapter 29, this volume ) and their ongoing support plays a crucial role in whether children persist and commit to musical engagement in the long term. They can act as role models through their enjoyment of listening to and playing music in addition to providing financial and moral support for lessons and practice ( Pitts, 2009 ).

Recognizing the complexity of motivation, recent research has explored the interactions between different environmental influences. Pitts (2009) in a retrospective study of musical experiences identified some individuals whose primary influence was the home, others where the school was the dominant element and some where it was both. The common element to all environments was an inspiring instrumental teacher. Creech and Hallam (2011) in a survey of 337 violin students studied the relationships between children, parents and teachers. Interpersonal dynamics in pupil–parent and pupil–teacher dyads represented a powerful influence in pupils’ experiences of learning. Enjoyment of playing was well predicted by pupil–teacher rapport and receptiveness to parental support, while the latter made the strongest unique contribution to explaining variation in motivation. Parental support is most important for those beginning to play, declining in perceived importance as expertise develops ( Creech and Hallam, 2011 ; Hallam, 2013b ). As children become more expert their musical identity is strengthened and support and social affirmation from others is perceived as less important, while a musical social life, enjoyment of a wide range of musical activities (listening to music, attending concerts), increases as does enjoyment of playing, lessons and performing ( Hallam, 2013b ). Despite the evidence indicating the importance of having a highly supportive and encouraging home background, it is clearly not essential for the development of high levels of musical expertise. Highly effective individuals in a range of domains have been found to have histories marked by severe frustration, deprivation and traumatic experiences ( MacKinnon, 1965 ).

Direct Influences of Rewards and Punishments from the Environment

Intrinsic motivation is a crucial aspect of developing an identity as a musician. A key element of this is enjoyment of making music, through playing alone for pleasure but also playing and engaging in group activities, listening to music and attending concerts ( Driscoll, 2009 ). Beginner instrumentalists who remain enthusiastic about continuing to play focus on the instrument and the repertoire, while less motivated children refer to participation in a band, or the opinions of their parents and friends as shaping their own attitudes ( Pitts, Davidson and McPherson, 2000 ). The satisfaction, confidence and sense of achievement derived from instrumental playing is motivating as is being successful in external examinations as this provides an indication of progress. For some students lessons are the least enjoyable aspects of playing an instrument ( Driscoll, 2009 ) while even advanced students may not enjoy individual practice ( Hallam et al., 2012 ).

Musical tasks are intrinsically motivating when they are set at a level which is challenging and in balance with a person’s current skills, creating the experience of a state of flow. If the task is too easy the person becomes bored, too difficult and anxiety is created ( Csikszentmihalyi, Rathunde and Whalen, 1993 ). Custodero (1999) observed 4- and 5-year-old children in a music classroom over 8 weeks and flow experience was associated with high self-concept or skill, perceived challenge and active engagement.

Lack of Motivation

For a full understanding of musical motivation it is important to study those who do not engage with music or commence tuition but then drop out. Some children are unable to engage with musical activities because of lack of opportunity, financial constraints or negative parental attitudes. Others choose not to engage because of lack of interest, competing interests, dislike of lessons or teachers, or perceived lack of musical ability ( Driscoll, 2009 ). In relation to drop outs, no single explanatory factor has emerged. Those who drop out may have commenced lessons for nonmusical reasons, for instance, because of pressure from friends or parents ( Pitts et al., 2000 ). Lower levels of practice are related to dropping out (e.g., Driscoll, 2009 ; Hallam, 1998 ) as are boring lessons, lack of progress, dislike of taking examinations, poor relationships with teachers and social factors such as lack of musical friendships or opportunities for group activities ( Driscoll, 2009 ). Costa-Giomi (2005) showed that those dropping out early missed more lessons, practiced less, completed less homework and achieved less in the first 6 weeks of instruction than their more persistent peers. Observations of those who continued into a second year and then dropped out showed that they more frequently sought approval from the teacher, received less positive affirmation and had lower levels of attainment than their peers. Educational transitions can also impact on drop out with children often dropping out following transition to secondary school ( Driscoll, 2009 ). Much of this research has focused on participation in formal music tuition in the Western classical tradition. Different factors may apply to those dropping out of other musical activities.

Future Research Directions

Increasingly, there has been recognition in research that motivation to be involved in active music-making is determined by complex interactions between the individual and the environment within which they find themselves along with a love of music and the satisfaction derived from it ( Hallam 2002 , 2013a , 2013b ; MacIntyre et al., 2012 ; Sichivitsa, 2007 ). Some of the environmental effects, in particular those relating to early musical experiences, learning outcomes, self-efficacy and subsequently self-esteem are internalized by the individual in such a way that they become part of that individual’s identity rendering it both impossible and pointless to disentangle them. Once internalized, they impact on motivation to continue to be involved in music. The individual’s commitment to and involvement in music-making can also affect their environment and the people in it. Families may make changes to support their musical offspring, friends may be influenced to participate in making music. The transaction is bidirectional. The nature of the music profession, which is extremely competitive, means that only the highly motivated will have sufficient determination to succeed, although many more may become highly skilled amateurs, some of whom may ultimately leave a previous nonmusical career to become part of the wider music profession ( Taylor and Hallam, 2011 ).

Increasingly, research has begun to explore issues of motivation in different learning contexts, informal and formal, and for learners of different ages and across different types of music (see Gaunt and Hallam, Chapter 29, this volume ), although the main focus continues to be within formal educational environments. We know little about drop out at higher levels of expertise than have so far been considered, for instance, those who study music in higher education, who do not then go on to make their living from musical activities, or indeed those who become professional musicians and then leave the profession early. In addition, most of the research has focused on motivation to become a musician. Listening to music plays an important part in the daily lives of most people in the Western world but there is little research relating to those individuals for whom listening to music is a passion, who have extensive collections of recorded music and are extremely knowledgeable about music without necessarily actively participating in making it. There is also a need to explore why music plays no part in the lives of some people.

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