Thursday, April 22, 2010

music for inspiration

One of the great necessities of writing is inspiration. Without inspiration, there is nothing to write about. One of the curiosities of inspiration is that it comes from just about everywhere. You can be inspired by something that's happened to you, or maybe be a picture you've seen. One of my favorite, and most frequent things to be inspired by is music. Every night before I nod off to sleep, I put on my headphones and put my Zune on shuffle. For some reason, I get my best ideas just before I drift into my slumber. It is a constant rabble of hit and miss, but I've come to find that certain music stirs my imagination better than the rest.

Let's take a look at ten general guidelines to inspiring music. These aren't rules, just guidelines and there are always exceptions. Remember: inspiration comes from everywhere.

1.Find music that you like. You aren't going to do anything other than annoy yourself by listening to music you dislike. For myself, I really don't like pop music and I'm not going to be thinking anything amazing with Britney Spears or Miley Cyrus as accompaniment.

2.Listen to new music. Branch out and try something new. You might find something you really like and then that feeling of newness and exploration in the sound will give you creative motivation.

3.Find music that is musically complex. Simple songs generally don't have much to them, but if you find a song that you need to break down its parts in order to appreciate it, you'll probably find yourself inspired by it. Think about what images or feelings each part gives you and take inspiration from that.

4.Listen to instrumentals. There are plenty of artists that write songs without words and while some don't appreciate this, there is a certain advantage to not having lyrics. What is that advantage? It enables you to create your own imagery based on what the music makes you feel. Perhaps that imagery could be your next story?

5.Find music with good, thoughtful lyrics. You can't always only listen to instrumentals, there has to be some kind of balance. So, if you're going to listen to lyrics, why not listen to something that provokes thought? Find lyrics that promote imagery or thought about a particular topic. Thinking is always good for writing.

6.Find unpopular music. What are your friends listening to and talking about? Okay, don't listen to that so much. Why? It's popular and you're likely to derive ideas that they've already thought of. When you listen to music that no one else really listens to, you kind of make it your own. There's definitely something to that sense of belonging that makes you feel you.

7.Find unique music. There are a lot of budding artists out there who are exploring music in new ways. Their sound is very different and likely to affect you in a completely different way. Different is great for getting inspired.

8.Find artists to be passionate about. Alright, so you've found a great band and they've inspired you. Now, get passionate about them. Go to Youtube and watch the artists give interviews, especially about what inspires them. Chances are, you've just found some great creative minds to get advice and inspiration from. Talk about your music too. Share it with people.

9.You've heard this a thousand times, but here it is again: Classical music. It really is the best for any of the reasons above. It has a wide range of sounds, tones, and source material. There is something out there you can find that you like.

10.Vary what you listen to. Even the deepest well eventually runs dry. Make sure you take from different places periodically and never stop looking for new stuff. Listen to a lot of genres, a lot of artists, and a lot of styles.

--WA Julian

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