Tuesday Wisdom: Eight Ways To Compose Music More Effectively

Suffering from writers block can be one of the most frustrating aspects of composing music, especially when you are working towards a deadline. This article contains a few suggestions on how to compose music more effectively.

Ultimate Guitar

We've all been there.

Struggling to come up with a melody or working out that perfect ending for your song.

This is one of the most frustrating aspects of composing music, especially when you are working towards a deadline. This article contains a few suggestions on how to compose more effectively.

1. Don't Disregard Your Ideas Too Quickly

This happens all too often with composers and songwriters, who do not persevere with their ideas for long enough. If you start over too often, you will go round on circles and not get anywhere. This quote by one of the most famous inventors of all time is certainly very true when it comes to composing music.

"Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration"- Thomas Edison

Obviously there are occasions when you should start again, but only do this after exploring all the different ways of developing your ideas.

2. Write Something Every Day

This follows on from the previous point in displaying perseverance as a songwriter. Unfortunately, you cannot assume you will write X number of bars each day. Composition does not work that way as you will have more productive days than others.

However, by doing just something each day, no matter how little, you will feel a sense of progress that will keep you motivated to finish your composition.

3. Go For a Walk Before You Start Composing

Rather than dive straight into your music making at the crack of dawn, go for a walk first. The extra oxygen from all the fresh air helps you focus better when you compose and you may come up with some interesting musical ideas or lyrics from just being inspired by nature and your surroundings.

4. Listen To Your Music With Fresh Ears

Take regular breaks when you compose as your ears get tired listening to the same repeated loops and musical ideas. Have you ever wondered why you create some music one day, and the next morning you sometimes feel deflated with what you hear? If you work for too long on the same passage of music, your ears learn to accept what they are hearing. This is especially true for mixing your tracks using music software.

5. Write Out A Structure

Planning a composition in advance really works wonders in certain situations. If you are writing some film music, it is essential to have a structure in mind in order for your music to fit the scene. However, it could be argued that planning too much can stifle true creativity. You should try composing both ways and see what works for you, but it generally helps to have a rough plan in mind when you write music.

6. Seek The Advice Of Other Musicians And Friends

Often you need a second opinion on your work. If you hit a dead end with your composition, ask your friends to hear your music and ask their advice on what to do next. Even people you regard as non-musicians can often surprise you with their suggestions. Ensure you take any criticism constructively and ask what they like or don't like about your music.

7. Write In A Style You Have Never Done Before

This can really help to improve you as a musician and develop a real interest in composing. If you write hip-hop music, have a go at writing a jazz composition. If you compose film music, try your hand at creating a dubstep track. This may seem a bit off the wall, but it keeps you fresh as a composer and exposes you to new and interesting styles of music. Just spend time listening to new genres of music and go for it!

8. Learn From Other Composers, Songwriters And Producers

Figure out how your favourite musicians develop their ideas, as it will certainly help you create ideas yourself. You could visit their websites to see if they offer any advice on composing or producing.

Would you like some great tips on how to write a song and compose music in any style? Download a FREE 10-page guide on "5 Essential Elements On How To Improve Your Music Making In Any Style" at http://make-music.net.

By makemusicnet

26 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Great article... Wish One Direction looked at this list before ripping off that clash riff.....
    Haha like One Direction write they're own music, you're funny.
    Welcome to Ultimate Guitar, where the top voted comment on an article is completely irrelevant and more than likely a derogatory comment directed toward a mainstream pop act.
    Haha, like One Direction can actually be called music, you're also funny...
    Words cannot describe how mad I got when I heard that sped-up copy. UGH hate those guys...
    Really good advice. I've been implementing all these ideas for a while, but in doing so I've improved more than I can put into words.
    Wait a minute... This article... IT IS ACTUALLY HELPFULL! BUT... HOW IS THAT... POSSIBLE... HOW... WHY... I... -headsplosion-
    I have to say the fresh ears one works amazing. I wish this article was around before I figured it out. Start working on one song idea and develop a new riff or whatever and then move to a new song.
    Great article. There were a lot great tips I haven't seen before. A lot different from all the "Copy another song" 'tips.'
    good thing i read this an hour before i have to have my senior class song done.. oh well.. ill just rip out some tenacious d and they'll love it.
    Going for a walk works for me. It clears up your head and gives a fresh start.
    + Don't listen to your music on a headphone set. If you're done with recording/mixing/post processing...go for a walk and when back home play the tracks on a simple stereo system. If it's ok?...that's a keeper.
    "One Direction were forced to release the video for 'Live While We're Young' early after it was leaked online. The band, who were recently reported to have made 100 million between themselves in the last two years, release their second album 'Take Me Home' on November 12." - and they say it is piracy destroying music. pff