Curing writer’s block is a common theme for musicians, authors, artists and creative people in general. I am going to provide some unusual means of getting some inspiration back for musicians specifically.
As a creative individual from time to time there will be difficulties in keeping the creative juices flowing from a music perspective. In many instances, music is inspired from feelings and the conveyance of that emotion. This is not just restricted to vocal music as instrumental pieces are also often born of a musicians’ head space with the intended goal of evoking similar sensations in the listener.
It makes sense to ensure you have means of refreshing your existential experience in order to have a ground for the expression of new ideas, sounds, arrangements and melody which are capable of proliferating your feelings through the music you compose.
Here are some ideas on how to refresh your musical head space.
1) I find that getting out into the countryside is a great way to clear the mind and get a temporary sense of dislocation from daily life. In some instances just a few hours in a place of great natural beauty can bring fresh perspective and evoke feelings that can be of great inspiration. Personally I find hills and elevated land with exceptional views having the greatest effect in allowing me to reflect on my position in life. In the modern urban world it can be rare to see a sunrise or sunset or even a horizon that is not obscured by concrete. If you are usually a very social person why not go alone which can also boost the feeling of ‘blowing away some cobwebs’ in the mind. Getting down to the coast is another way to very swiftly shift perspective if you are lucky enough to have a coastal area within travelling distance. There is a lot of natural inspiration out there - put it to your advantage.
2) Visit another town that’s at least 100 miles away from where you live. New roads, new people, buildings, open spaces and culture can change your view and refresh perspectives. It can give you a renewed feeling about your own home town and leave you invigorated for a week or two. Such an easy thing to do yet the results are quite profound on providing a new thought pattern about where you are positioned within the greater whole in which you dwell. This provides ripe ground for inspiration and a fresh mind.
3) If practical, switch your musical working hours. If you work on music in the day, try a night time session and see if the twilight provokes new feelings that can translate into musical inspiration. Often a lack of sleep can in itself shift consciouness in a way that allows some ‘out of the box’ headspace. When we are tired the brain releases a new set of natural chemicals which could well be a trigger for some new approaches. This has been used to great effect by a well known experimental electronic producer.
4) Produce a track in a completely different genre that you ususally do. If you produce guitar inspired music leave this behind for a track and focus on an experimental ambient music piece for example. This can open creative doorways by allowing the experiences gained to feed into your more familiar working genre. Different production techniques will need to be absorbed and studied and this allows you to take from a wider pool of experience which can add interest to music through unexpected melodic directions and arrangements.
5) Take a complete break for a week. You could try this at home, but if possible try to have a holiday: a complete break. We all need time to unwind, recharge and as a creative person it is all too easy to neglect this. Often time pressured, unpaid when not working and having the cost of the holiday itself means is it all too easy to neglect the basic annual rest most people afford themselves. It is all too easy to think of the money aspect, but, in life. money whilst important must surely be secondary to good mental and physical well being. It’s one of the more obvious ways to adjust your mind but it is very easy to forget that intensely refreshed sensation one has after being on holiday and experiencing new cultures and people. This is a sure fire way of recharging your creative batteries and a great benefit to most aspects of life overall.
Barry Gardner operates SafeandSound Mastering, a high quality, low cost online mastering studio based in London, UK.