Whatever anybody says, most musicians don’t live the “dream life”.
A musician is, after all, human, and therefore needs to eat, sleep and all the rest of it, just like everybody else in this world.
So how can creativity manifest itself when life just isn’t offering up the inspiration required to produce something really great?
When careers, relationships and other demanding commitments seem to take up every moment of your time, it can seem like finding inspiration is just one thing too many on your “to do” list.
It’s a question that has been plaguing me personally recently. If only it were possible to bottle inspiration… Paul McCartney has said that the famous Beatles’ track, Yesterday, came to him in a dream – if only we could all be so lucky!
Fortunately, in the absence of that magical muse moment, there are some practical steps you can take to spark your own musical creativity…
How to discover (or recover) your musical creativity
Here are six suggestions for discovering or recovering your creativity in your musical life and breaking writer’s (or is that “player’s”?) block as a musician:
1. Stop stressing
I think that the most important thing you can do is to stop stressing about it. That’s easier said than done, I know! Try to remember why it is that you enjoy writing music in the first place.
2. Go see some live music
Secondly, if you are spending time with friends, boyfriends or families, try doing something different for a change. Turn off the TV, leave the house and go and see some live music!
There’s nothing quite like the inspiration gained from seeing other people perform. I never want to get on with my music more than after I have seen someone else’s inspiring performance.
3. Find creativity outside of music
Other art forms are also well worth considering. Many popular musicians or bands write songs based on books and films, or even name themselves directly after them. Maybe a theme from one of them will inspire you – or perhaps it will just give your brain the break it needs to let your creative fire start burning again.
4. Make something out of nothing
Going back to the Beatles again, in “I’m only Sleeping”, they show how it is possible to even write a song about being bored, tired and half asleep.
If it’s possible to write a song about this, it must be possible to write about something that’s actually going on, right?
5. Change your scene
If you are in the city, go to the country. If you’re all alone, try surrounding yourself with musicians. If you live in the classical music world, try stepping into pop. And of course, vice-versa for each of these.
Whatever it is that is making your musical life feel mundane, spend some time doing something completely different, even if it’s just for an hour.
6. “Borrow” ideas from other people’s music
(… without outright stealing!)
A chord progression. A particular bass line. Some music is directly inspired by other songs. It’s not “stealing” to listen more carefully to music and find inspiration.
Sometimes musicians even do this explicitly, by direct sampling. For example, Alicia Keys sampled James Brown’s “It’s A Man’s World” in her track “Falling”. If you look at this online list, it seems a lot of her music samples something else.
Give it a try it out with your music.
It’s all up to you – and that’s a good thing
Every musician is different, and where you find inspiration will be different from other musicians, and even from your past self.
Continually seek new ways to nurture your creative spirit and provoke new musical ideas, and you’ll never be short of inspiration.
Don’t wait for inspiration to come to you. Actively seek it for a change. After all, if you just sit and waiting, you might be waiting for a long time!
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