Seven ways to find Inspiration to Compose Music
Every musician has times when their muse appears to have taken a holiday, or being thoroughly worn out has decide to go on strike until it gets a couple of days rest.
Unfortunately in this fast paced world, looming deadlines or the need to earn a living from composing means that we just have to get on with it. So how do you find inspiration to compose music?
Below are a few tips for stimulating your inner artist if the three cups of coffee that morning have had no effect other than making your vision go a bit funny.
Watch some TV
Not in the ‘eat pizza and dribble down your t-shirt’ sense of course. Switch on a TV and scan the TV shows and adverts for musical ideas. This has the dual benefit of triggering your creative side and you can also be safe in the knowledge that the type of music you hear (and therefore are likely to compose) is commercially viable for production uses.
Flip your Workflow
When you begin a track do you have a preferred way of working? Do you start with the chord progression first, the melody, the percussion? If you do, next time try the opposite way. This simple switch can be enough to fire up your enthusiasm.
Score a Movie
One of the trickiest problems when coming up with production music ideas is trying to come up with the initial theme. A way around this is to find a scene in a movie or TV show and compose some music to it. The final track will naturally have its own mood and style relative to the scene you scored.
Listen to Music
Simple really. Sit on iTunes and start previewing tracks to your hearts content. It won’t take long before you hear something that grabs your attention and you either want to compose something similar or figure out how it was put together.
There is a lot of discussion about the use of pre-recorded loops in music (musical phrases rather than drum loops) and whether it is ‘cheating’ to use them or not. Personally I find loop based libraries immensely useful for kick starting a new track when my mind is temporarily devoid of ideas. By the time the track is completed I’ve usually removed the loop, so it ultimately acts as a useful starting point.
Ask your Assistant for Help
Okay, so maybe you’re not a composer who can bark orders for coffee on a whim, but you may have a virtual assistant sitting in your DAW. Cubase for example has the Chord Track, a handy little tool that can suggest chord progressions as you go along. I don’t use it often, but when I do I like it for the way it can break me out of my own composing habits.
Run for the Hills
Composing full time can be a solitary business, with many hours spent staring wide-eyed into a glowing computer screen and working late into the night. It is very important to get out of your studio and interact with the real world. Take a day off, go somewhere new, meet some old friends, or even just sit in a coffee shop with a book. It might be a very hard thing to do if composing is your only source of income, but believe me, after a couple of hours away from your normal routine your mind and body will start to relax. Which is much better for your productivity in the long term and will only refresh your creative juices.