Every project is different. From genre, target audience and length to the inspiration behind the piece. I grew up loving music. To this day I find I concentrate better with music on in the background. At this point I’ve listened to pretty much everything in my iTunes catalog that I can tune out the lyrics and just listen while I work.
For me, having the right music while I write is imperative. If I’m not in the right mood or mindset, whatever I’m working on is likely to suffer. But with just the right playlist going, I have a better shot of producing something decent. I don’t like being in total quiet when I work (regardless of whether it is for school or pleasure). I find the complete silence distracting.
I have a handful of artists I listen to consistently. Still, not every project has the same playlist associated with it. It really depends on the feel of the story line and characters. One of the things I enjoy most about starting a new writing project is seeing what music is going to inspire me.