Studio Tunes

Hey all, Studio tunes are incredibly important to my working process.
They can jolly me out of a bad mood, help me hunker down and focus,
motivate me and help me pick up the pace when I am doing production
work. I was thrilled when my accountant told me they were tax
deductible. This has me wondering what you all like to listen to when
you work (one of my motives is to learn of some international
favorites from this amazingly diverse community. Here is what has been
playing at Wolf Designs lately. General work tunes: Damien Rice ‘O’,
Kathleen Edwards ‘Failer’, Ryan Adams ‘Heartbreaker’, Whiskeytown
’Stranger’s Almanac’, Al Petteway & Amy White ‘Racing Hearts’, Etta
James ‘Sweetest Peaches’, my buddy Dwain when he drops by with his
guitar. Design work: anything by Sarah McLaughlin, Rueben Gonzales
’Introducing Rueben Gonzales’ Production work: Ottmar Leibert ‘Nouveau
Flamenco’ Studio Clean up: U2 ‘Achtung Baby’, Pearl Jam ‘Vs.’ So! What
do you like to listen to when you work? Best Regards, Kate Wolf in
Portland, Maine hosting workshops by the bay.

Hi Kate;

I do Orchid to the wonderful tunes of Nawang Khechog (Tibetan Music).

My secret remedy for brain constipation and mouth diarrhea. :-))


First of all, my son’s CD’s: Clambake 2000 Sean T. Birdman Gould
(recently won #1 Guitarist in So. FL). Stevie Ray Vaughan, anything
with Vaughan Bros. Dharma Bomb, Boxelder, James Brown, Mussorgsky,
Tchiekovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Grieg, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and The
Traveling Wilbury’s Tina Turner, Jeff Healey…boy does that
date me :o) Dinah in nice cool western NY.

depends on where I am and my mood. At the store I work in, we have
2 choices, a mainstream ‘new country’ station and a mainstream
’classic rock’ station. Country is on mostly, and it isn’t really by
my own choice. Like it OK, but would like more variety. Not
practical to use a personal headset or even a 2nd radio, either, as
they would conflict. In my own studio space (which I don’t even have
right now), I might play anything from classic rock to oldies to
blues to bluegrass to country to folk. Depends on the mood. Even
some purely instrumental soft background stuff. Sometimes I need to
destress and calm down, sometimes I need to pick up the pace. One
MAJOR complaint I have with commercial radio is not only too much
commercial time, but also limited songlist and too much jabbering,
especially with the morning ‘tag team’ shows.

Kate, this is going to be fun! For regular work there is Carl Orff’s
Carmina Burana, any Rachmaninov piano concerto, any Dvorak or Liszt,
especially the Hungarian Rhapsodies. Strunz & Farah come through for
design time. French organ music on historic French organs! Celtic,
mustn’t forget the Celtic. When I am down, Harry Belafonte and Roger
Whittaker. I suppose I have dated myself…

The trick to working with Celtic music is to get BOTH hands moving
in sync with the music.

Tax deductible? This must be looked into!

Thanks for a great jump start for the morning.

Hi Kate – what a great thread! The answer depends on what type of
work I’m doing.

When I need to hunker down and get TONS done I almost always end up
putting on Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti as well as some fast celtic
instrumentals – in both cases, the pace of the music and its
mechanically inspired intricacy just keeps me moving along without
even being aware that I’ve picked up the pace.

When I’m working (fabrication) at a more normal pace, I like
up-tempo music that I can sing along with – things like Judith Owen,
Indigo Girls, Catie Curtis.

When I’m designing, however, I’m much more meditative. At that
point, I don’t like vocals “getting in the way” of my thought
process, and I don’t want to be distracted and find myself singing
along instead of sketching and concentrating (yes, it happens). At
that point, I go for the Wyndham Hill Guitar recordings, piano/cello
instrumentals, and similar instrumentals that fit the “mood” of the
pieces I’m working on.

Particularly for high-emotion commissioned pieces, I find that the
music I choose to design them by has a strong attachment to the
finished piece. Sometimes, it’s an intense enough attachment that I
can look at that finished piece and hear the “background music” that
accompanies it. As a great example, I did a piece for a client a
while back who wanted a memento she could wear to comemmorate her
father, who had died. I used a favorite piece of her music when
designing the brooch, and I think it helped me capture some of the
“tone” she wanted in the piece.

I’m currently working on a new work for a friend whose husband just
died. This needs to be a reliquary for a lock of his hair, but needs
to also have deep significance for their relationship. He had been
involved as a producer for a jazz musician by the name of Nate Tiffe
– a really talented guy. I’m using Nate’s music from the album Gary
produced as background during the design process for her piece.

Maybe I’m weird in this way, but I do find that the music turns on a
particular part of my brain and gets me into the “zone” for
creating/designing. I can’t work effectively without it for very

Karen Goeller
Handcrafted and Unique Artisan Jewelry

Very nice Hanuman, thanks for the link. I also enjoy listening to
Tibetan music, as well as Gandharva. I have many Vedic chants I
listen to while creating Jyotish rings. I will upload a Tibetan style
ring I just made, a crossed dorje and vajra. My favorites however,
are all acoustic finger style guitar, probably because I play… :slight_smile:
Some of the artists are Jesse Cook, Laurence Juber, Acoustic
Alchemy, Al Di Meola, Alex de Grassi, Govi, Eric Johnson, Michael
Hedges, Oscar Lopez, Pierre Bensusan, Preston Reed, Duck Baker, Peter
Finger, etc etc etc… :slight_smile:


OK… OK… OK… a bit of shameless promotion here! I’m in the
mostly-acoustic Celtic Folk/Alt Spiritual band Emerald Rose- we
perform everything from rousing battle songs to luv songs to music
based on ancient Celtic Mythology and just about everything in
between. We get a lot of play in the New Age stores and have been at
the top of the charts for almost 4 years with Alternative
Spiritual tunes to the Divine Feminine aspect. There are different
tunes to play in the storefront, and others to share with your
employees and favorite clients- check the band out at - there are also links to for
free music from Emerald Rose. This is what I do when I’m not
wrestling with stones!

Clyde, who is off to Dragon*Con 2003!
Greenwood Studio

So! What do you like to listen to when you work? 

Replying when I SHOULD be working. I prefer to listen to interesting,
mystical stuff like the works of Abbess Hildegard von Bingen
(1098-1179). And also other oldies–Renaissance music, baroque
classical, and “classic rock”.

I was thrilled when my accountant told me they were tax

Please tell us how you managed this! I’d love to be able to write
off even part of the CD collection I’ve accumulated specifically for
the shop. (Please copy your reply to me privately–I just set my
account to ‘no-mail’ so I can get some work done here!)

–Kathy Johnson
Feathered Gems Pet Motif Jewelry

Joe Cannon’s Jug Stompers, anything by Bach,Bix Biderbeche,
Mozart,Andres Segovia, Danjo Reinhardt,Verdi,Puccini,Any Barrocco
Composer,All Jazz from 1918 to1937,plus infinitely more . .all taped
off 78s and vinyl 33s–Bill

If tunes are deductible if you listen while working, then I wonder
if my satellite tv is, since that is what I listen to while working?
What a hoot!

Beth in SC

Hey Kate, Great thread…I could use suggestions for new music.

Here's a list of our current favorites: 

	"Till the Night is Gone: A Tribute to Doc Pomus" (Emmylou Harris'
      	rendition of "Viva Las Vegas" is great)
	Bruce Cockburn: "Charity of Night," "Breakfast in New Orleans," "You've
		Never Seen Everything"
	Greg Brown: "Dream Cafe"
	Niya Yesh: "Axiom of Choice"
	Allman Brothers Band: "Concert for the International Retts Syndrom
		Foundation" (acoustic set)
	Linda Ronstadt & Emmylou Harris:  "Tucson Sessions"
	Patti Scialfa: "Rumble Doll"
	Allison Kraus:  "Forget About It"
	Leonard Cohen: "Ten New Songs"
	Patti Griffin: "10,000 Kisses"
	Daniel Lanois: "Acadie"
	Pieta Brown: "Pieta Brown"
	Lucinda Williams: "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road"

For moments of CONCENTRATION, I like: 

	el-Hadra: "The Mystic Dance"
	Master Charles: "OM: The Reverberation of Source"
	Shaman's Dream: "Breathing"
	Nawang Khechog: "Ryhthms of Peace"

When I want to be left alone: 

	Nirvana: "Nevermind" HIGH volume  :)

Douglas Zaruba

Afro-Cuban Jazz, Salsa, anything Latin, anything by the Drifters,
anything that is 60s folk, 60s rock, Mozart, Dylan (notice I paired
them up), anything left of centre, rabble rousing workers’ songs,
Fado, but NEVER BUT NEVER, (sorry for shouting) rap. I’d rather play
a game of golf than listen to rap.

Doug… I don’t recall ANY music in your shop! Have I just been
overwhelmed by the jewelry so significantly that all other senses are
numbed? :slight_smile:


Hi Kate,

Blues are my preference for work music. I am a big blues fan. I
prefer newer, guitar-picking blues to the really old stuff, but some
of that is good also. Some of my favorites aRe: Stevie Ray Vaughan

  • Texas Flood, Savoy Brown - Little Red Rooster, Johnny Winter -
    Sweet Papa John and You Say That You’re Leaving, Roomful of Blues -
    I Smell Trouble, Luther Allison, Otis Rush, Eric Clapton, Jimmy
    Witherspoon, Robben Ford, Kenny Wayne Sheppard, Tab Benoit, Jimmy
    Thackery, Corey Stevens and many more. I’m always on the lookout for
    more good blues. I collect them and burn my own compilations on a
    CD which I can take to my studio.

Blues soothes the soul!

Great thread!

Thinking about it, I mostly listen to the air handling unit cycle

on and off. Guess I really should put speakers in my space so I
could hear the music :-). Radio is tuned to a classical NPR
station, but I have some great CDs of natural sounds combined with
music of American Indian and southwestern influences. Got them at
the Smithsonian. Love to hear the crickets, tree frogs, coyotes,
etc. voicing against water trickling or a thunderstorm.

Judy in Kansas

I have a iMac in my studio with Apples iTunes on it. I have loaded
most of my CD collection onto it. It acts like a juke box playing a
random selection of tunes. Mostly 60’s and 70’s rock, jazz, blues
and bluegrass. It is great lots of music and no commercials. Last
winter tried one of the Satellite radio systems. The music selection
was great but as the trees grew back their leaves I no longer had a
clear view of the southern sky and could no longer receive the
signal so I gave up on that. But if I did have a good clear view of
the satellite I would use that as well because the selection of
music was awesome.


… hopping on the band wagon, so to speak…:slight_smile: when I have a pure
production day, I tend to throw five CDs into the changer on
"shuffle" . This is a habit I adopted, when I lived in Oakland in a
warehouse with another crafter. the reasons for this are as follows:
not enough of one artist to get boring, if youre working with someone else in the same shop the music choices are democratic (more or less) and its a good measure of time (about 3.5-4 hours) so by
the time the music is over, its time for a break. Plus, you dont
have to take time out to futz with the machine while your hands are
covered in buffing grease. I try to combine very different styles of
music for this.

ok, now, for specific tasks I like different types of music as well.
when I`m designing and drawing I like something quiet, like Clannad
or Noirin ni Rain, Enya or Cymballennium.

When Im forging Im going for Scorpions, Meatloaf, Einstuerzende
Neubauten, Queen and such for fabricating I require light music, that
I don`t have to pay much attention to, like the grateful dead, or
Ella F, or various soundtracks

I used to listen to Salon Orchstra style light classical, classical
Hungarian and gypsy type things, along with some masters of
Accordion playing, but right now, I cant get myself to it, since every other piece, I sit there and go...I wonder if Ill ever be able
to play this way again, if my hands ever heal…etc. pure self
torture, so I don`t listen to it. Sparrow

Retail store tunes: Dylan, Dead, William Topley, Wallflowers,
Lucinda Williams, Van Morrison, Dido, Tom Petty, Counting Crows,
Rolling Stones, Tracy Chapman, Bonnie Raitt, Neil Young, Shawn
Colvin, Nora Jones, Etta James, Robert Johnson, Beatles, David Gray,
Patty Griffin, Keb Mo

Richard Hart

    I was thrilled when my accountant told me they were tax
deductible. Please tell us how you managed this! 

Hi Kathy, My accountant says that in the US, this is considered as an
office/studio expense. The music collection is in my business
(separate from my home). I imagine that if you are working out of the
home it may be trickier to take this deduction.

Best Regards, Kate Wolf if Portland, Maine hosting workshops by the