Painting in my own studio without some great music to jam to is just unthinkable.
I feel very strongly about having a rotation of interesting music for my students to work along with. Sometimes I'll choose it myself, sometimes I'll let the students pick. They are a super informed group due to the performing arts program here, so my students are often very specific, citing a genre or era they're in the mood to hear. Choosing the style of studio music can also be a great reward for a student who needs an extra boost. Studio music is also a great way to bond with a tough group of older students if you can find a playlist that speaks to them.
I use songza most frequently because it allows me to play music from my iphone, ipad or computer, find more unique choices curated by a diverse group of music lovers, save my favorite stations, and best of all, there are no annoying audio advertisements!
Some lessons certainly call for specific types of music, especially when presenting the artwork of certain cultures or of a specific era, but these are my go-to stations for lively, focused work:
Classic Bollywood - great mellow grooves with lilting melodies that effectively creates a serene environment. This is a surprise sleeper hit among all my students- they go crazy for Bollywood!
Big Band Swing - my younger students really love this (k-2) and it gets them bopping along with a nice productive energy.
60's Surf Rock - a favorite of my older students, many of these melodies are somewhat familiar to them, and they perk up each time they recognize a song.
Vintage Rock Instrumentals- similar to the Surf Rock, but with a wider range of styles.
If It Weren't for Bad Luck, I'd Have No Luck at All- the blues, excellent for those angsty days. don't fight it, just ride it out.
Wake up Smiling- a nice contrast to the blues, happy, sunny positive tunes from the 60's and 70's.
The World of LCD Soundsystem- great energetic electronic grooves for older students with subtle lyrics that won't distract focus... too much. (you might have a dance party on your hands if you play this too loud- which isn't necessarily a bad thing)
60's Soul Explosion- hip-shaking, toe-tapping music that will keep students working productively and feeling goooood.