I relish silence and many times, when everyone's out of the house, I'll turn off as many sources of noise as possible. No TV, no radio, no streaming, no podcasts. Just silence, which actually doesn't happen either. Sit and listen to all the ambient sounds around - right now I hear birds, a plane coming in for a landing (different sound to one taking off), cars driving past, and some unidentified rapid beeping that must be coming from the garage below.
But when I'm working in my studio, I don't usually choose silence. While these days I can tune in to podcasts, I mostly listen to music when I paint. I have a variety of playlists I choose from depending on my mood and the piece I may be working on. For the past several months, I've been working on a floral abstract series, so I find myself browsing the classical mood playlists - the ones labeled "peaceful" or "chill" or at times, when I think I need it, "motivation."
Music enhances my concentration. I am suddenly present only to the edges of my painting. Noises and other distractions are less likely to grab my attention when I'm in this state.
Some pieces I consistently go back to:
Bedrich Smetana: Ma Vlast (My Homeland)
Beethoven: Symphony No 4 in B flat major
Erik Satie: Six gnossiennes: No 1 (Lent)
Antonin Dvorak: Rusalka: Song to the Moon (Act 1)
Ross Edwards: Dawn Mantras
And sometimes on repeat: Arvo Part: Spiegel im Spiegel violin and piano.