You’ve likely had that lazy weekend-long feeling or the Sunday-post-hangover feels — the kind that lets you go to work but in autopilot mode as you face your tasks, completely spacing out as you stare blankly at your synthesizer thinking of what kind of music to produce now or how to finish that mix you’ve been working on. No matter how much you love music production and writing song lyrics, there can always come a time where you will just feel stuck. So what do you do? The wrong thing to do is to sit on your ass and watch the clock go “tick-tock, tick-tock”— you have to find inspiration.
Finding inspiration will make you more motivated, making it easier for you to get new track ideas. No matter what field of job you are in, inspiration is a must. It is the stimulus that results in efficient work. If music pays for your living, you cannot afford to waste time. Push yourself and let inspiration find you.
Here are 9 ways that you might finding inspiration to get new ideas for the tracks you are working on:
To produce music, you have to be inspired by it. You can start by listening to your favorite musicians and make remixes of existing songs. As you go on with the process of remixing, you would most likely find yourself thinking of how the original musician could have made this sound and that effect. These are not just simple editing; you could use these corrections as ideas to get you started with a new track.
Listening to music is a great way to find inspiration, not just in music-making but to a lot of things. When you are feeling lazy or sleepy, play something lively. Next thing you know, you’re on your feet dancing to your favorite producer and bustling with ideas for a new track.
When you’ve been working for long hours, it is almost normal to be cut off by your own mind. Give yourself a break. Go outside, have a cup of tea or coffee and just breathe. You’ll be surprised how many ideas will come into your mind after you have given yourself a well-deserved break, even if it’s just for a couple of minutes. It’s easier to get new track ideas when your mind is capable and not feeble.
Always find time to hang out with your music buddies. This doesn’t mean that you have to ditch friends from different fields. This only means that you should try to spend at least a couple of hours meeting up with your musician friends. Talking to someone who share the same passion with you can do wonders. If you want to get ideas for a new track, having a meaningful music conversation can trigger your creative juices and have them flowing in no time.
Take the opportunity to ask for advice, or perhaps even feedback on music you are working on. Fellow producers can provide plenty of useful tips and inspiration you wouldn’t otherwise get.
Let your ears do the work. Hear every beat that surrounds you, listen carefully from the slightest sound that comes off from a dripping faucet to the busy streets outside. New track ideas could be floating in the air. You just have to capture it with your ears.
Some artists have sampled sounds from their surroundings and transformed them into beautiful electronic music. While you do not have to go that far, finding inspiration from urban noise and the world that you live in can be the perfect way to get going on a track you may be stuck on.
Get new track ideas by trying something different. Diversify and gather contrasting audio materials and randomly mix them or insert them to your existing project. You might just like the sound of it. You know how a cent could complete a dollar? A random clip might just get you started or finish your new track.
Remember our previous article where we covered on how to create more time to produce more music? One of the tips given was to never let an idea get away: when you’re working on a current project and an unrelated idea pops up, write it down on your notebook or mobile notes. This comes in handy at times like these. When your ideas run dry, take out your little book of ideas or open your mobile notes. Check on your prior premature concepts and start from there. What’s a better way to get new track ideas than from your own ingenious mind?
Ever heard of Sir Isaac Newton’s famous anecdote? It was said that Sir Isaac Newton sat under the apple tree to think in solitude when an apple fell on his head, and from there the theory of gravity was born. It is safe to assume that Sir Newton was fond of sitting under the apple tree to gather new ideas. You therefore have to know what habits trigger your creative juices, ergo it will be effortless to get new track ideas.
Everyone is different, and being in specific surroundings or doing certain activities can trigger different parts of your creativeness. It is entirely up to you to identify what gets your mind racing with ideas.
If you have time to spare, traveling is one of the best ways to get inspired. A change of scenery can cure even the dullest of minds. Immerse yourself in nature, climb mountains, or walk along the beach. There is nothing an excursion can’t cure. You don’t have to go far either, find a park or go urban exploring in an area of your city that you do not normally visit. See new things and hearing new sounds will trigger new ideas for your music productions.
If there’s a music festival in town or a few miles away, go and rave. Attend a local show, keep your ears open for new hits and be inspired. It shouldn’t intimidate you as a producer, it should rather influence you to explore new avenues you may have otherwise not had in front of you. Music festivals and local shows are excellent ways to get inspiration, to get up to date with recent hits and get new track ideas.
Consider it work and fun altogether!
Do not pressure yourself. If you are a producer that earns his living solely on music production, it is undeniably stressful and infuriating to gawk at your digital audio workstation and not come up with anything. It’s like squeezing more juice from a dry lemon; it will only upset you. Don’t think of your deadlines — clean up your space, play around with your gears, mix different music, and always remember why you started producing.
Sometimes the burden that comes with “work” makes us forget why we chose our jobs in the first place. The minute you let tension go and start having fun again is the exact instant new track ideas will come flooding in. Work but love what you do. You belong in one of the most awesome and enjoyable industries to be in — don’t ever forget that.
Every musician needs inspiration to produce amazing new music, and this can come for all sorts of unexpected sources. We all individually find encouragement and insight to be artistic in different ways. What work for others may not work for you but if you don’t try new ways of getting inspiration, you will never find out what triggers work for you. Sometimes, it just takes a whole lot of willpower, so keep in mind that what you plant now you will harvest later. Be consistent with what you do and produce music daily. Don’t be a producer only when you feel like it. You will soon realize that the more consistent you become, the more effortless it is to get new track ideas.
As the saying goes, “Motivation gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”
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