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Creativity Quick Tips for Musical Composition

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If you have got problems with your actual project or want to enhance the existing ones, it is time to think about some tactics. In this article I'll show you the steps you can use under the process. Feel free to choose what inspires you the best and then try the other ones as well.

The Formula of Creativity

Kirby Ferguson summarised in his series, called Everything is a Remix, the formula for creativity. 

The steps are:

  1. Copy
  2. Modify
  3. Combine
The Formula
Create your own framework / Unsplash / Bench Accounting

It is amazing that the most complex pieces and products can be reduced to these operations. If you haven’t seen his videos you can watch them at: everythingisaremix.info/watch-the-series/

Work With Others

Everybody thinks and works differently and this can be good through the phase of the music making process. If you collaborate with fellow musicians, you can look into how she or he works, thinks and what are  her or his values.

Inspiration Folder

Buy a notebook or a folder, or make a directory on the computer, into which to save some inspirational pieces like musics in several different genres, sound clips, loops or one-shots.

They can be only sound design related or complete musics or DJ mixes. They could have different sub-folders as well. You can create a basic naming convention for them.

Inspiration Folder
Inspiration folder in the real world / Unsplash / Duong Tran Quoc

Make Mistakes

When you're composing, there can be such ideas, concepts and implementations, that you think are false, but a bit later on you understand that it can be a good foundation in itself or with a bit of changes. 

Just embrace these little ideas and don’t judge them.

Use Templates

If you have an idea to note down quickly, without doing any mechanical or repeating interruptions or details, you can use a prepared project template in your digital audio workstation program—or DAW. 

You can load your favourite plugins, groups, sends and effect chains into it, or do colour coding. You can also do different templates based on your aim like:

  • Song Writing
  • Composition
  • Production
  • Sound design
  • Mixing
  • Mastering
Ableton Template
This is my Ableton starting template

You can also use templates based on stems like:

  • Drums
  • Bass
  • Mids
  • Vocal
  • Fx

Go Ahead

There are two options: either you have an initial idea, what you can work on, or if you haven’t got any mood for that, you can improvise. This means you can always make music, whatever happens. 

You just have to start.

Focus

From social websites to mobile phones and frequent notifications a lot of things can interrupt our work. It is highly recommended to remove these obstacles and enjoy a complete flow experience in making your music. 

The Pomodoro technique can help in this with providing a time framework for focusing and resting. One Pomodoro equals 25 minutes of focused work, then there is a 5 minutes of break. Then the cycle repeats. Check it out at pomodorotechnique.com

You can also search for Pomodoro timer on the Internet or on a mobile device. Ther's a selection of free and paid software for that.

Focus
Focus in practice / Unsplash / Mathieu Turle

Do Something New

This can be a new musical genre, subgenre, musical scale or tempo. In our everyday life you can apply this technique when walking somewhere in a different direction, a different route than the usual one.

Next time you are going somewhere, take a different route to the same place. Or if you are at a restaurant you could try a different meal, dessert or drink. You can come up with new ideas with this simple technique. 

This is also a good way to enrich your life with these small improvements.

Music for Picture

Choose a picture you like and make a new music for it. In a similar way you can do this with a videoclip as well. You can make a new soundtrack or soundscape or sound design.

Search for Youtube or Vimeo, do some research, or just check the latest featured footages.

Foods and Drinks

Green tea, dark chocolate—the more cocoa the better without sugar, different berries can be the healthier choices in this category. 

Many people are interested in the effects of alcohol and coffee. Alcohol can help in the idea and concept phase and coffee for the execution phase, but in both cases we should limit the quantity, because too much of these and you are in big trouble.

More berries
More berries more good / Unsplash / Jeremy Ricketts

Omega 3 has a good effect on brain functions and based on RD’s post, the best fishes for Omega 3 content are:

  • Mackerel
  • Trout
  • Herring
  • Tuna, and
  • Salmon

More information can be found at this article at PsychologyToday

Regarding the use of marijuana for creativity, there are not many controlled scientific experiments. 

On a biochemical level marijuana influences the operation of the brain’s frontal lobe. This doesn’t have anything contact with creativity, but it can enhance existing ideas. And this means that if you haven’t got any ideas, then THC won’t help you.

Conclusion

So these are my general routines and tips on creativity. You can use them whatever way you like. Good luck for your next piece.

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