A question that writers and other artists get asked often, or will answer anyway even if they're not asked, is what type of music they work by.
I used to play some music - often classical, sometimes rock - when I was painting, but I almost never played music when I was writing.
One of the main reasons I don't listen to music when I write is that I love to sing. If I'm listening to rock, or other singable tunes (and I loooove me my Nat King Cole), I'm 99% certain to sing along. Even if I'm listening to classicals, I will end up whistling along....or, even worse, start conducting.
Singing or whistling or conducting isn't conducive or helpful to writing.
Recently, while doing laundry, a tune popped into my head and I began to whistle it. One minute, I'm my current pushing-50 self taking down laundry, next minute, I'm having teen spring fever, itching to get out of my horrible high school so I can attend university.
The song was Steve Winwood's While You See a Chance. It came out sometime in my junior or senior year. While it wasn't like I was a huge fan of the song, it transported me back to the time in my life when I heard it often. And there I was again, feeling all antsy and uncomfortable with myself as I did back when I was 17, 18.
That was when I realized that the other main reason why I can't listen to songs while writing: if I listen to songs I know, I can't stay inside my story. Heck, I can't even stay inside my present, very real, and very satisfying life. Music, like scents, for me, immediately transport me to a different place and time and, usually, a huge wave of homesickness washes over me, even if that place and time was not nearly as happy as my current state (such as the example above: I really hated my high school).
Does this happen to you or can you work well with music?
"There is no such thing in anyone's life as an unimportant day." – Alexander Woolcott