Stimulating Your Innate Creativity

Creativity is Built-in

     Some people may say that they are not the creative type or that they are not “feeling it” or are “uninspired”. But what we have to come to terms with is that we are all creative. We use it in our everyday lives in some way or another to do some sort of problem solving. So, it is not right to assume that some people are born creative while others are not. Human beings are all inherently creative, regardless of their activities or day job.

     That is not to say that it can’t be honed. It is a muscle that you should keep flexing and you can only do that by actually putting yourself into situations that require your inventiveness and put your skills and knowledge to the test. This is where the process of music-making comes in.

The Process

     There isn’t a single process that I can tell you about that can encompass the way that every mind works and thrives. And that is why my goal is to guide and assist you by giving you insights for that journey. The actual process of finding yourself is quite the journey, actually. What you must develop is the ability to reflect and put your knowledge and skills in the service of your intentions in a way that makes sense to you.

     When I mention “knowledge” or “skills”, I’m not only referring to music. Everything that you study, your interests and life experiences, somehow inform the way that you actually think and compose music or do any other thing, for that matter. Because you are unique, the process of making music that you end up developing will also end up being a very personal one.

     So, the big question is, what do you need to do to discover your process of making music?

     Remember when I said that we are all a creative bunch? You will also have to be creative in your approaches. But you don’t have to do it alone. Here are some ideas that you can try:

  • Improvising, as a way of letting ideas flow. Some composers or songwriters just hit record, let the music flow and then later decide what materials they wish to keep and develop
  • Quick recording of ideas; some people use their smartphones to write or record a part by singing it and then come back to those ideas using a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) or a notation program.
  • Work on a step-by-step approach; creating small fragments of music that are developed through composition techniques and as a way of generating new ideas

     None of these methods are better or worse than another as they are only a means to flesh out the music in you. So, the best method is the one that works for you!

What if You Feel Uninspired?

     As I mentioned, creativity is built-in but sometimes you have to poke it. I also said that everything you are and do is a consequence of your interests, likes and dislikes, etc. So, to stir your creativity, what you have to do is go to your sources of inspiration.

     That can be listening to the music that you like or music that you wouldn’t normally listen to; study music theory and try new composition techniques; read a book; going to a museum; anything goes. Just remember that the goal is to actually make music and that at some point you will have to sit down and actually record or write it down! Sometimes music inspiration comes after you have started to work on something… anything!

     The fact is that everybody is inspired by something. It’s up to you to get exposed to what it is that inspires you. But above all, don’t be afraid to experiment. The first things you end up doing might not be your best, but they are your stepping stones for something better.

     If you feel that the problem is that music isn’t flowing the way you would like it to, I wrote a post that you can read where I make some suggestions for those occasions – Creative Tips For Starting to Compose Music

Working on Someone Else’s Ideas

     This is something that everyone does, at some level, and more or less consciously. So, it is nothing to be ashamed of as it is rooted in the way our brains operate. We are able to conceive of new ideas and scenarios but it is always based on something that already exists. That can be more or less familiar to us but we have already experienced it at some level. That said, the artistic decisions we make are a reflection of how we choose to express ourselves, our vision of how things should be, based on the knowledge and experiences we that have acquired.

     I am not advocating plagiarism but instead, taking someone else’s ideas and re-state them in your own unique way. Find out the inner workings of your inspiration source and bring it to your world. If you are honest about it, you will end up with something that is yours because you are expressing it by using your own words, so to speak.

Writer’s Block is a Myth

     With all this said, I think we can safely say that writer’s block doesn’t exist. Sometimes we may feel like we are stuck but there are lots of ways of stimulating your creativity and those may come from musicians but they also abound from all sorts of sources. Find out what inspires you and dive into those. You are a work of art and art is just another form of communication! The medium is of your choice.

     What inspires you? Leave you comments below.

Happy Composing!

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