I was originally going to talk about this in a Facebook post, but it turned into something a little more personal. :] So, just briefly:
Last night at work I was talking to a coworker (also a fellow artist) about daydreaming and how creative people are able to so thoroughly retreat within their own minds and indulge in imagination even when others find themselves bored and unproductive. He mentioned how music helps, but said he finds that it aids more in isolation of the mind rather than inspiration.
I had to disagree.
What I said after that made me realize that I've never really explained exactly how music inspires me before, so I felt like sharing:
Our minds have been trained throughout our lives to respond emotionally to different types of music (via movie scores, lyrics, etc). And it's emotion which usually drives my most intense spurts of creativity. So, when I draw/create I intentionally choose a specific kind of music to listen to so that I'm able to channel the emotions I receive from it into whatever I'm creating (be it illustration, design, writing, etc) and make it as successful a piece as possible.
I once had an art instructor who ardently refused to let us listen to music during class while other professors didn't have a problem with it simply because we were supposed to be "creating art on our own without outside influences."
I'm being respectfully honest when I call that a load of bull. I understand our own creativity is important...but where does that come from if not the world around us? Where do we get our ideas and our inspiration? Perhaps some select individuals are born for great purpose and with supernatural mental abilities. But most human beings get their incredible ideas and inspiration by combining all the wonders the universe has to offer (hence...my quote). As long as we're not replicating anything and making sure to use said influences in ways unique to our own imagination...I'd say embracing outside influences such as music should be encouraged - along with anything else we find inspirational.
|^ from my college graduation announcement|