September 26, 2019

Studio Soundtrack

I'll be writing a post or two before long on several small and a couple of large new projects that have been occupying me in the last month or so, but in the meantime, here's a post about music for the studio.  Some years back, I took a workshop with Katie Pasquini Masopust, who suggested that having music playing in the studio could be a help in generating a creative flow, so long as it was music without words. I don't have music on all the time, but I do find it helpful in the way she suggested. I like using Pandora for this background music, as I can select a "station" based on a particular musician, and then get a stream of that musician plus others who are similar. My favorite stations, in approximate order of how often I choose them are: Keith Jarrett, Eric Satie, Bill Evans, Tord Gustavsen Trio, Federico Mompou, Ken Bonfield, Sandy Bull, Dave Bruebeck, Leo Kottke, Taylor Eigsti (a new find, through one of my jazz stations on Pandora). There are other times in the studio where I'm doing something mindless (repetitive cutting of pieces, simple straight stitching or machine quilting); at these times I like to listen to popular music with lyrics. My most frequently chosen stations for this are Carole King (great variety included in this station), Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, and sometimes Willie Nelson.

Earlier this week, I was sewing at a friend's apartment (I keep a small machine there, so it's easy for us to work together), and I realized that she would enjoy using Pandora instead of the old boom box with cassettes that she has. I showed her how to get it set up and how to choose stations. For one of the stations, she chose "50s Rock 'n' Roll Radio," and we started listening to it. We were amazed--the soundtrack of our youth, every song familiar. (We both graduated from high school in 1965.)  I listened to it again today for about 20 minutes, while finishing up some quilting.  I could sing the chorus on every song that came up--Twist and Shout, At the Hop, Earth Angel, Do the Locomotion, Big Girls Don't Cry, Blue Moon, Splish Splash, Under the Boardwalk, Rock around the Clock, etc.  Long-term memory is really quite amazing.


  1. All great songs! I've forwarded this post to Don because maybe he could try Pandora using his phone on his cross-country drives instead of (or for a change of pace from) the CDs that he has his son Drew make for him of individual songs.

  2. Love Keith Jarrett and Bill Evans. Would recommend Stan Getz as well if you like sax. I actually listen to audiobooks when I am doing repetitive work. I think I have listened to several novels and a few biographies while cutting and doing strip piecing, and binding.

  3. Those songs bring back memories. I graduated in '66. Funny you should mention Katie PM. I took a class from her (or started to) and she put on music from cirque du soleil and it was so annoying and distracting, I packed up my stuff and walked out. It was an expensive workshop too. I think asking if people minded might have been nice.