There is no one-size-fits-all solution to creative block, but fortunately, there are some strategies that can help you get out of a rut. In this article, we’ll explore 8 Tips for Making Music When You’re Not Feeling Creative.
Fiddling around is how most musicians create music; experimenting with different sounds can make a big difference. Try listening to music from a genre that doesn’t usually inspire you, like jazz or rock, and see what happens.
1. Take a Break
A short break from the music production process may be exactly what you need to refuel your creative energy. If you’re battling burnout, taking a few weeks or months away from your work can help you recharge and reset your creative focus.
When you return to your project, it’ll be with a fresh perspective and an ability to see things from new angles. Try not to judge your progress while on a break, but instead let it be an opportunity to work out any kinks in the project.
It’s also a good time to take the time to work on your other creative pursuits, such as drawing, painting, or learning a new skill. This will allow you to refuel your creativity and practice the discipline of creative focus, which can translate into your musical output. You may even discover inspiration for your next track! For example, if you’re struggling to make music from an image, consider trying to break down the elements of the image into the composition and sound design of your song.
2. Set a Timer
If you want to hone in on what it is that inspires your music production, then it can be useful to set some creative rules for yourself. It could be as simple as working on a track for 30 minutes or using only three specific plugins. These kinds of rules help you develop your composition and production skills while also pushing you out of your comfort zone.
It’s easy to get into the habit of fine-tuning as you produce, but this sabotages creativity and can prevent new ideas from coming in. One way to break this cycle is to write everything down. Channel your inner Chris Martin and record or write down every idea you have, even if it feels like a bad one. This process will allow you to separate the wheat from the chaff later and can really help you make progress with your song.
Another way to break out of your musical comfort zone is to produce a genre that you wouldn’t normally. If you’re usually a drum and bass producer, try making an ambient piece or if you’re a metal-head try experimenting with electronic music.
3. Take a Walk
Whether it’s nature or simply walking to work you can sometimes find inspiration by doing something different. Just the act of going somewhere new often helps break up a cycle of musical blockage.
You can also try to come up with different combinations of ideas that no one has ever thought of before. Creativity isn’t always about coming up with the most unique or original idea but rather fusing two random concepts together in ways that nobody else has done before.
Another great way to spark creative inspiration is by trying out a new producer skill. Adding new skills to your producer toolkit will open up a whole world of possibilities for you when it comes to creating music.
Meditation is a very powerful form of creative inspiration. It’s a great way to get your mind in the right state to produce music, and it’s a practice that many successful artists have adopted over time. It doesn’t have to be long either, even 20 or 30 minutes a day can make a huge difference.
4. Listen to Something Else
When you’re working on a new song, it can be helpful to play it to someone who doesn’t have any knowledge or background in music. This can help you get an objective opinion on whether your song is good or not. It can also inspire you to think about ways to improve your song by listening to Independent music artists.
Listening to other songs can also give you ideas for new melodies or production techniques. For example, you might hear a vocal melody from a song you love that sounds familiar in your own music. Try experimenting with different vocal styles or tempos to see what works best.
Another way to get inspiration is to listen to music that’s outside your normal taste. You might hear a Grime artist or folk singer and suddenly get an idea for a lyrics or chord progression.
You can also experiment with different instruments to find what feels right. For example, if you normally produce on keyboards, try switching to guitar or drums. This is a tried and true tactic that many musicians have used throughout their careers.
5. Try a New Technique
Trying new techniques is a great way to keep your creativity alive. For example, if you are a musician that primarily plays classical music, stepping outside of your comfort zone and playing jazz or pop might help you develop more creative ideas. This also applies to other fields such as art and writing. For example, if you usually draw digitally, trying a different medium such as watercolor or colored pencils might help to stimulate your creative ideas.
If you’re tired of watching cat videos, try reading a humorous article or book to give yourself a laugh. Humor is proven to enhance your creativity and can actually bring you closer to those moments of inspiration. Try this a few times and see how it works for you!
6. Try a New Instrument
Getting into the habit of playing something new is a great way to spark creativity. Play with a new instrument, add some effects or even just switch up your keyboard. You never know if you’ll find a new combination that inspires you to write.
Try listening to a genre that you typically don’t listen to and analyze it – the chord progressions, musical phrasing and beats might spark some ideas. It can also help to have a notebook on hand to write down things that catch your interest when you are listening.
Another good idea is to take a song that you’re familiar with and create your own version of it. For example, you could take a popular track and remove the vocal track so that all you have is the drums, bass and a few synths. This will give you an opportunity to create something completely original that hasn’t been heard before. By the end, you may even realize that it’s a better version of the original than what was originally written.
7. Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Few things are more frustrating than when you sit down to produce music and can’t seem to come up with anything. The worst thing you can do is beat yourself up over it, though. Not writing when you want to can be stressful enough, but adding guilt and disappointment into the mix is sure to kill any creativity that was already waning.
You may also be letting your expectations get the best of you. Setting an expectation that every song you produce will be flawless can rob your creative process of its spontaneity and make you more likely to self-edit your work as you go. Instead, focus on getting something on the record, even if it’s not perfect. Creating “bad” music can inspire you to approach your next project from a different angle.
Ultimately, the best way to beat writer’s block as a producer is to try new things and break out of your musical comfort zone. Trying a new instrument, listening to new music genres, or even just switching up your usual routine can spark creativity and get the juices flowing again.
8. Take a Break
Forcing creativity is a recipe for disaster. It robs you of your focus, frustrates you and halts the growth of your originality and likelihood to experiment – essential cornerstones of creativity.
Creative break tactics that involve meditation, exercise and attempting new experiences outside of the studio can help you overcome this stifling block and get back to producing. These activities encourage the flow of ideas, boost dopamine levels in the brain and give your prefrontal cortex a rest.
Taking a break is also an opportunity to develop other skills that can be applied to your music production. For example, learning how to play the piano or even just playing simple chords can give you a different perspective on your sound design. Alternatively, you could practice learning the basics of music theory. Though some artists may disagree, a solid understanding of harmony and scales can improve your musical creativity in the same way that an understanding of grammar and syntax helps improve the writing style of a journalist or author.