If you have been creating music for a while, you may feel like you’ve hit a brick wall with your writing. This could be the case for writers in all stages of their careers. Embracing risk and curiosity in your process can help shift your mindset when it comes to creation. Here are three new approaches to help get you in a groove and out of your creative rut!
Write multiple versions and choose what you like best
Sometimes the best way out of a rut is to work through it. Instead of settling on the first iteration of an idea, try digging deeper to see if you can interpret it in multiple ways. Could you create a couple more demo versions of the same song? How about jotting down different ways of expressing yourself through your lyrics? Rather than doing something radically new, this approach is about refinement and uncovering the most compelling version of an idea.
Start small with a single note or a non-pitched instrument
More is not always better in music, especially when it comes to notes. It’s easy for songs to get weighed down by notes that don’t add anything to the music. A helpful approach to try out is to experiment singing over a single-pitched instrument like a bass guitar, or a non-pitched instrument, like an electronic drum kit.
It’s easier to start minimally and add chords in if you want, as opposed to starting with a full arrangement and stripping things down. Bear in mind nothing is keeping you from developing your original idea if you like! This approach is great for narrowing down your musical skills and harnessing your creativity in direct, impactful ways. You might not like or use what you write when doing this, but the aim is to put you in a place of curiosity and unguarded musical engagement.
Experiment with musical extremes
In conventional songwriting, we usually avoid extremes such as lightning-fast tempos or harmonic dissonance. However, embracing at least one extreme might be a good starting point if you’re looking for a new approach. Working with ideas you’re not used to is one way to find new musical inspiration. Use it as a launching point to develop loads of rich, innovative ideas!
As songwriters, we can choose between exploring something that feels new or to sticking to approaches and ideas we’ve used before. While it’s comfortable and safe to travel down the same roads, it’s unlikely you’ll create anything new and special that way.