Inspiration very often occurs when you’re not in your studio, being outdoors and doing something else. This doesn’t mean inspiration wouldn’t strike you in the studio as well. The most important thing is to be ready in both situations. In this article, I’ll show you various ways on how to work with inspiration when you find yourself struck by one, wherever you are.
Inspiration can occur anywhere and at any time. Having an inspiration is such a natural, creative process which needs to be taken full advantage of and satisfied. Inspiration could strike when listening to music that you like, doing sports and exercising, traveling the world or simply taking a walk outside.
Emotional issues such as relationships are a great source of inspiration as well. The important thing is to listen to yourself and feel your inner emotions, and let them guide you musically.
No one can ever predict how and when and inspiration will strike. All you have to do is be prepared for it, because if you are, you’ll get something out of it and it won’t be for nothing.
Inspiration arrives in many forms. The usual are:
- A strong will to create music, in any form
- A melody or chord progression appearing in your head
- Lyrics or parts of them appearing in your head
- The need to create music representing a certain emotion
Out of the Studio, What To Do?
Everyone’s got a smart phone these days, which makes the whole process of capturing natural inspiration so much easier. In our cell phones, we’ve got the ability to record sound and write down our notes for later use. If you don’t have one, at least carry a small notepad with you.
Should a great melody start playing in your head, the best you can do is to try to sing it out loud and record it with your iPhone, smart phone or equivalent.
In my experience, melodies don’t stay in our heads for too long, so the vital thing to do here is act as quick as possible. Sing it and listen to it over again to memorize it.
Sometimes you might create a drum pattern by beatboxing it, so it’s important to capture this groove by recording as well. Don’t worry about how “primitive” it might sound – it’s all about saving the idea for later so you can replicate it in the studio with proper sounds.
In the end, great music and musical ideas come from us when in a very humane state, meaning not trying to force the music out of ourselves.
In order to write down lyrics quickly, use the notepad application in your phone or an actual notepad and pen, for more intuitive action. Just like with melodies, lyrics can be easily forgotten.
In my experience, just by thinking over daily matters, situations or relationships, a lot of information goes around in our heads which can be translated to song lyrics.
Capturing chord progressions can be trickier, especially if you don’t have much experience with chords and scale degrees. But if you do know your chords and what they sound like in your head, you can easily write them down.
For example, I find the key of C the easiest to visualize in my head (probably because of the white keys on the piano), which is why I always use those scales as starting points when thinking about chord progressions. When I have a progression written down, it can always be transposed to other keys.
To practice chords and scale degrees, learn all the chords that belong to a certain scale, like the C major scale.
In the Studio – Bring It On
If your studio is in your bedroom, home or in an actual studio building, and should an inspiration strike, stop all else you would be doing and get rid of any distraction. It’s go time.
Pick up your favorite instrument, real or software, or any of your favorite musical tools used to create music. This one’s extremely important: make sure you record everything. Then just go on an jam!
To reduce any roadblocks, create an “Inspiration” template in your DAW which has your favorite instruments and effect pre-loaded and ready to record, so you’re always ready to go.
The goal here is to capture that musical feeling or idea that runs through you. When genuinely inspired, it can evolve into a state of flow, in which you pour out anything you feel the need to express, into physical form. If you’ve experienced flow before, you know it feels like flying.
Nothing lasts forever though, and inspired moments of flow usually arrive as momentary rushes, lasting from minutes to even hours. So you need to focus on the task at hand and stay efficient and quick. Think of this as a gift from the universe – do not waste it.
Great, you’ve done it!
Sometimes when you don’t have a chance to capture the fruits of your inspired moments, you’ll have to learn to save the inspiration for later use. This demands determination and strong faith.
You know, from time to time it could be only healthy to analyze matters further and dig deeper into the core of your inspiration. It will grow within you – if you let it and don’t touch it right away.
Take this lesson as one of the important ones in your musical life. The greats know what to do when struck by an inspiration, and so can you. Don’t overlook it – grab it by both hands.
Real music is about honesty, and honesty is inspiration.
When did you last have an artistic inspiration? What was it about? What kind of emotions did you feel – powerful, sadness, energetic?
Don’t forget to drop your comments below and I’ll be more than happy to get back to you.