Emotional. Intriguing. Relaxing.

These are a few words that came to mind as I was listening to violinist, Leoncarlo. The interns had the pleasure of hearing him perform at last week’s 1 Million Cups Fargo’s Random Acts of Art. As a musician myself, it is easy to see how he influences his audience with sound. It reminds me just how powerful sound and music really is. It affects emotions and will change the entire mood of a room.

Music can pull us to other times and places, or affect how we perceive a message. A major example of this is seen in horror and thriller movies. In the seconds leading up to a “scary” event, the tone and key of the music will shift dramatically, telling us that something scary is about to happen. If you want to try a fun experiment, watch a scary movie muted with subtitles, or without the music. While you might be startled a couple times, the strength of the scare is gone.


Another way that we can see the power of music is in commercials, especially for cars. Car advertisers will play a classical sonata or light rock to portray the elegance or refinement of a luxury vehicle. Country is reserved for hard working trucks, while indie music is often heard in commercials for vehicles designed for adventure.

Currently, my go to for coding music is the electro swing artist Parov Stelar. The changes in tone, beat, and vocals keep my mind engaged and focused on the intern’s project. When doing research I have a go to playlist of soundtracks by GuiguiF, but if I’m designing I prefer this list of laid back variety. Being perceptive about how music can affect perception or music acuity is a great skill to acquire. Just remember to take a mental break – feel the music, and yield to its emotion.

P.S. As Kelli mentioned in her last post we have been super busy lately, but I needed a little break from design and development. The last few weeks have been great. I have learned a ton about code, namely JavaScript and PHP. Being my own developer on our project, has increased my empathy for developers when they are presented with difficult designs – you guys rock!

Stay splendid,