17 Jan 5 Tips On Overcoming Musicians Creative Block
So you’re struggling to write songs, you’ve done it in the past but just can’t seem to get the magic happening again? Don’t worry, I’m right there with you. While there’s no formulas for song writing there are ways you can help get that creative spark back. Here are 5 of my best song writing tips.
1. Open Your Mind!
I have been guilty of this far too many times… Putting yourself in the box of a genre and shying away from influences outside of it can REALLY crush your songwriting workflow. Just because you’re not writing a section with a genre specific cliche, doesn’t mean it won’t work in the song. That’s not how you make interesting and original music! I write a lot of metalcore music, but that doesn’t mean to say I’m not pulling influence from other places. You can channel vibes and ideas from any sound you listen to, mold them to make them work within your song.
2. Try A New Approach
Do you write guitar riffs first? Don’t! Write a drum pattern or a synth line first. While you’re doing this, you’re creating and creating is important. Half the battle with being stuck in a song writing rut is that you feel like you’re not moving forward. Starting with a drum pattern, you’re building the skeleton for you song right away. Struggling to write a section? Write the bass and drums first, move the chords and melodies around it. If you’ve already got the basics down, try playing a guitar part a little different with inversions, effects or dynamics. You’ll be surprised at how much a part can change when you mess with it. It’s ALL about stepping out of your comfort zone and inventing.
Extra Tip! If you have access to a Bass guitar VST or plugin, try writing the bass part with that to start with, you’ll hit it with a different approach than actually playing it. This helps break out of your comfort zone going to frets you know work.
3. Listen & Learn
Take a listen to a handful of your favorite bands in different genres. What do you love about their song writing? How do they approach transitions, use layers and effects? For example you’ve got a solid, hard hitting intro hook going and you want to transition it into a softer verse, grab some songs you know have that structure and pick apart how they did it.
4. Be Inspired Be Creative
You’ve heard the phrase “It’s not the gear it’s the ear” right? Well that’s absolutely true, but not in times of creative drought. If you’re anything like me, you like to have a basic idea of how your demo is going to sound once you hit the studio and have it produced. Find a guitar tone that really inspires you to play, mess with effects and have fun with it. Get some drum samples that really make the song groove to your ears. You need to use tools that work alongside you and motivate you to write something you’re fired up about.
5. Get A Buzz From What You Do
Are you buzzing about this new demo you’re putting together? Do you keep replaying it because it’s just so damn good? If not, there’s your problem. You need to love it, music is about creativity and expression, we all do this because we get a feeling we can’t get anywhere else. Some songs take a bit of working to get to where you like them, and others come right out of the chute sounding great. We’ve all written something we absolutely loved, remember that feeling whenever you get down to putting demos to tape.
So there you have it, 5 of my go to practises when I’m writing for my band Saint[the]Sinner, or ghost writing parts or songs for artists. It all comes down to writing a great song and there are no formulas for that, it’s just trial and error every time but, hopefully these tips will help get you back on track!
Got a killer songwriting tip you think could help? Email it through to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll post it up!