The Role of Happiness in Creating Music
The way you feel can affect the way you act and create things. If you’re a painter and you’re angry, you’re most likely to paint the things that are making you mad and make aggressive splatters on the canvas. If you’re feeling miserable, you won’t feel like doing anything. If you’re a musician and you’re happy, you’ll probably end up creating some fun, upbeat music.
According to MTV, Dr. John Kounios, who also has a book coming out called “The Eureka Factor: Aha Moments, Creative Insight, and the Brain,” “Generally, there’s a lot of research over many years that shows that people are more creative when they’re in a positive mood.” He continues to say that “People are better at solving problems that require creativity; they’re better at artistic things.”
Most of the time, in order for an artist to create good music, they need that ‘A-ha’ or ‘Eureka’ moment – the very moment you have that good or bad experience and get inspired for a new song.
As Kounios continued talking to MTV, he pointed out a part of the brain that affects creativity. “The anterior cingulate is really active and it’s scanning the brain for ideas that conflict with each other. When it’s active it can sense all these non-obvious, unconscious ideas.”
So what this doctor is saying is that artists create better music when they are in a positive mood. For instance, when Pharrell was asked to create a song that was happy for the Despicable Me 2 movie, he said “They’re asking for something where Gru is in a good mood, and that’s when I realized that everything I needed was right there. I began to ask myself, ‘What does feeling like a good mood feel like?’ That’s where ‘Happy’ came from.”
However, many artists, like Sam Smith or Ed Sheeran, say they get inspired when they are sad. Sam Smith needs another bad breakup to make another album. Kounios explains that, “They don’t necessarily write when they’re at the bottom of their moods. “They use those bad experiences as fodder for their songwriting. But when you’re really in a bad mood you’re dysfunctional.”
You can still come up with ideas when you’re upset. If something happens, you are most likely to hold on to that idea, that feeling, and write about it. However, if you’re completely down and miserable, then there’s no way you can function.
You need that balance of positive and negative. You can get good creations out of both, especially positivity, but don’t let the negative things bring you down, you won’t get anywhere and you’ll just remain stumped.