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13 Brilliant Ways For Musicians To Reclaim Their Inspiration

Photo by Marc-Olivier Paquin on Unsplash

Hitting a creative brick wall when you’re right in the middle of the crucial points of composing music can be one of the most draining and demoralising points a musician can hit in his or her career, whatever level it might be at.

Below are 13 of the best and equally invaluable tips and strategies composed by leading experts and musicians for battling the sudden drop in inspiration, and how to reclaim it subsequently afterwards.

#1 Experience Life!

The best way to find inspiration is to experience as much life as possible!  Travel, take jobs, volunteer and talk to as many people as you can to understand other people’s emotions and perspectives on life. There are an infinite number of stories in the world waiting to be put to music..

Contributor: Sarah Ragsdale from @mzrags (Instagram) and @mzrags (Facebook)

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#2 Imagine Yourself As Someone Else

As a songwriter, I find it inspirational and liberating to imagine myself as someone else. Stories are not limited to the personal experience of the writer. I think about the Beatles pretending they were another band in Sgt.. Pepper, or Merle Haggard writing stories in music that he could not possibly have experienced in the first person sense. Putting yourself inside someone else's skin frees you to express yourself through someone else's experience.

Contributor: Mark Harvey (@UnclePinkyKC)

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#3 Tune Into Your Emotions

The number one way in which musicians can find inspiration is through the expression of their own emotions. Emotion is reflected in all that we hear in music, from love to loss, from happiness to sadness. When a musician is in tuned with their own emotions, the music they create is phenomenal and all that hear it can sense the power behind it. Music and emotion go hand in hand. Tapping into yours, will help you create beautiful music.

Contributor: David Hawkins from YourSongmaker.com

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#4 Love

Having written and published over 50 songs, I've found there's no better inspiration than the age-old theme of love. Whether it's the thrill and rush of a new romantic love or lamenting the loss of a soulmate, nothing's inspired musicians to pick up the guitar, piano or pen so much as this primal human emotion.

The trick is to perfect the art of metaphor and storytelling so that you're not regurgitating the same tired tropes song after song, album after album. So whether you're a metal band singing about ship-sinking sirens or an indie Americana crooner poetically espousing the electricity of a new flame -- to truly find inspiration one need merely rekindle that spark or candidly confess to the regret of its extinguishing.

Contributor: Jason Myers from icaruswitch.com 

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#5 Take A Break

Sometimes you're just tired, or stressed about something else, or you're just not mentally there. That's okay. Unless you're in the commercial jingle industry where you have tight deadlines, you can probably afford a day or two off. When you come at it with a fresh mind, you just might have a new idea or two.

Contributor: Mella Barnes from mellamusic.com 

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#6 Watch Some TV

You need to input as much information as you put out. All of the best writers recommend reading a lot in order to write well. The same applies to music, however listening to music might work against you. You don't want to get someone else's melody stuck in your head while trying to write your own, so try a non-musical form of media. Read a book or watch a movie. You'll find plenty of new story ideas or inspiration by consuming new information regularly.

Contributor: Mella Barnes from mellamusic.com 

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#7 Watch The World

I think musicians can find inspiration from all around. I think hopping on public transportation (bus, train) and just observing folks or just being in the middle of a large crowd or just sitting somewhere just looking at people you tend to get thoughts or ideas that can lead to inspiration. Just watching your own life unfold and events that have happened can be inspiration enough for a creative spark.

Contributor: Eric Knight from persistentmanagement.com

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#8 Sleep

Sleep - sounds too easy, right? But multiple studies have shown that sleeping around 8 hours a night (for adults) reduces negative feelings like stress or anxiety, and they can double the creative output for pros like painters, writers, and musicians.

Contributor: Adam Gingery from ErikaGingeryMusic.com

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#9 Different Forms Of Music

You probably listen to your favorite music everyday, but try listening to music that isn’t your favorite.. If you want to pursue new and exciting music, try incorporating sounds from other genres into the genre for which you’re passionate.

Contributor: Adam Gingery from ErikaGingeryMusic.com

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#10 Try Something New

Step away from your usual creative outlet and jump into something else. Exploring other instruments and other artistic forms outside of your medium can also get your creative juices going. Inspiration, by its very nature, comes at unexpected times and from unexpected sources. That being said, you need to put yourself in a position to be stricken by something new! It’s the same idea as “creating your own luck.” Create your own inspiration!

Contributor: Adam Gingery from ErikaGingeryMusic.com

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#11 Keep A Journal

Carry around a journal for song lyrics. When something pops in your head, jot it down. Months down the road, it could be the missing piece you need to a new song you're working on.

Contributor: Alissa Musto from alissamusto.com

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#12 Change

I've learned that change always brings inspiration. So for me, change is always good, because even inherently bad change forces you to adapt and learn. Even if change isn't enjoyable, it's still productive. If you need to find inspiration, find what needs to change.

Contributor: Case Wooton from casewooton.com

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#13 Look For Originality

When writing original music, you have to listen to as many different styles as you can and step out of your comfort zone. I'm not talking about blues, country, jazz, etc., but things like drumming patters from Angola or Celtic music from northern Portugal. Writers try to write the best song in a specific style, but the key is to go for the unusual and add something that might not be 'permitted' in that style, like adding some Basque rhythms to a blues composition. Experiment and be brave!

Contributor: David Villa of the Rumba Madre from rumbamadre.com

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Written by James Metcalfe

Twenty year old writer living life on the south coast, struggles to tie his own shoelaces. Believes Toad is the real hero of the Mario universe.

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