As with any creative endeavor, simply getting started can be one of the most difficult parts of writing music. We’ve all had times when we’re staring at a blank page. Here are a few things Sean and I try to kick start the creative process a bit.
- If I’m dead in the water, with no ideas whatsoever, one of the best things I can do is take a walk. A change of scenery triggers subtle memories or thoughts that won’t otherwise occur.
- Assuming I already have a tiny idea floating around in my head, I find that playing those chords or melody with different instruments can help tremendously. What seems bland and tired on a piano might sound fantastic on the right synth.
- If I’m stuck on the melody, I’ll switch gears and think about chords. Or vice versa.
- I like to think in four parts: Bass, Tenor, Alto and Soprano. The Soprano part harbors the melody while the other three move in stepwise manner. If possible, I like to incorporate Common Practice Period methods and then break from those methods to tailor my project.
- Priority for me is having a strong bass with an established chord progression. Most of the time the melody comes last.
- I like to work in small chunks. If I do think of a melody first, I’ll come up with a motif or a musical idea that comprises as little as a few notes, and expand upon it later.
Let us know what you find helpful when you’re starting a piece of music!