Start composing your own music—here's how
Would you like to tackle a new musical project and get into the creative flow? Are you looking for exercises that will awaken the artist in you? With the help of these creativity techniques you will no longer be able to save yourself from good ideas!
For this first creativity exercise, you need a piece of paper, a pen, a music system or good headphones and an album of your choice. The album may already be familiar to you or it may be completely new. The best thing to do is to choose a genre that you find interesting and that you may not necessarily hear on a daily basis. Plan an approximate period of 60 to 90 minutes and make sure that nothing and nobody can bother you. When all the preparations have been made, you can start.
To do this, sit down comfortably, put a piece of paper and pen near you and turn up the selected music loudly. While you are now listening to the sounds, watch what the music triggers in you. To do this, you can close your eyes and see whether - keyword head cinema - inner images develop in you. These can be scenes with other people or alone, in nature, in the city or in places where you have never been before. Fantasy trips, abstract shapes, colors, movements and much more are also possible.
It is important that you allow yourself to daydream and let your thoughts wander. Just try to get fully involved in what you are hearing and let your inner being - your thoughts and feelings - "drift" with the music. In this way you give your imagination space and time to develop images and stories from your unconscious. Develop an attitude of receiving - and see what happens.
Whenever your unconscious surprises you with exciting images, observations, thoughts and stories, pick up paper and pen - and write down whatever exciting ideas you have. You can then use this hodgepodge of inspiration to turn your musical project into something very special.
Sufficient writing paper and a pen are required for the second creativity exercise. You should also put a cell phone to your side and turn on airplane mode to make sure nobody can disturb you. Then set a timer for 10 or 20 minutes and begin the exercise.
It's actually quite simple: keep writing down everything that comes to mind without putting the pen down or taking it off. The only rule is really just keep writing and - as long as the timer is running - don't stop. It doesn't matter what you're writing about - the content can, but doesn't have to, be related to your musical project.
If you can't think of anything else, write that down. You can complain in writing that you don't seem to have good ideas. You can make up fantasy words, pour out your heart or tell about the day - just watch what goes through your head and let it out with your pen. Don't stop typing until the timer goes off.
The point of this creativity technique is - to put it simply - on the one hand to empty and clear your head. At the same time you come into the mode of creating because you are constantly busy finding words for your thoughts - and writing them down. In addition, the exercise forces you not to always put every idea on the gold scales, but simply to take what is currently there - and make something out of it.
After doing this exercise, you will notice that you can work much more freely and creatively than before. You can also turn the morning pages into a daily or artistic ritual - as Julia Cameron, the inventor of this creativity technique, recommends in her book "The Artist's Way".
By the way, you don't even need to read through the morning pages afterwards, but you can - if you want to and maybe even contain some useful thoughts - collect and keep them. It's entirely up to you.
With the help of the third technique you can learn to bring about the state of creativity in a targeted, fast and effective way. An effective mental technique called "anchoring" is used for this. "Anchors" are specific, constructed sensory stimuli that result in a certain reaction - for example the experience of creativity.
There are basically two ways to anchor creativity. Either you let yourself be put into a state of pure creativity with the help of a coach. You can learn how to anchor this state and use your anchor at any time. Or you can use existing creative moments to link them to specific sensory stimuli (= anchors). Don't worry, this may sound more complicated than it actually is.
Let's imagine you're really creative at the moment. Maybe you like to play the guitar and also like to jam around freely improvising on it from time to time. With the time of jamming you get more and more into a flow in which creative work is very easy for you. Now imagine that when you jam, you prefer to sit on a very specific, brown-colored armchair. That the room smells of a mixture of sandalwood and pine needles. That while jamming you always prefer to take a look at an abstract, neon-colored picture on the wall. And that you always prefer to play the guitar barefoot.
All of these factors - the softness of the armchair, the scent of sandalwood and pine needles, the neon-colored image, being barefoot - are sensual anchors that are increasingly linked to your creativity with each repetition. At some point it may be that just looking at the picture - or even just thinking about the picture - is enough to immediately get into the creative state. You can create such anchors yourself by setting them yourself - whenever you are in a creative state.
Basically, you can anchor on all of your sensory channels (sight, hearing, feeling, smelling and tasting). Visual anchors can be real objects such as pictures, places, the sight of a flickering candle or a tree in front of the window. An auditory anchor can be a specific song that you listen to before or during your work. Kinesthetic anchors can be touch or movement, olfactory (= perceptible through the nose) anchors can be used as smells in the form of scented oils, candles, flowers or the like. Gustatory (= flavorful) anchors are also possible.
So the next time you want to work creatively, take some time beforehand and think about how you want to anchor your creativity. Make sure that your anchors (for example, the smell of sandalwood, a specific piece of music) are unique and that you don't use them elsewhere in your everyday life - otherwise their effect could be diluted. The anchors can be used throughout the creative process - or simply specifically in those moments when you feel particularly creative. The more regularly and intensively you use your anchors, the stronger they will be linked to your creativity as such. Then you can also use it to devote yourself to other tasks that also require your creativity.
I wish you a lot of fun and success in trying out the creativity techniques!
If you'd also like to know how to create an artist routine, you can find an article here. If you feel that your creativity is blocked in any way, take a look at this article. And if you feel like making music together with others, you can network here with us on mukken.
Originally published on July 20, 2021, updated on May 6, 2022
Main topic: The 10 most valuable songwriting tips