How to get inspiration for electronic music production.
Find yourself lacking that drive to produce?
Here are 63 amazing tips to boost your creativity and keep you inspired.
1. Write a story. One of my favorite ideas is writing a very short story and then using that as a guideline for a series of songs. As in most stories, you have your characters, scene, themes, twists and turns. All these elements can be used in individual songs.
2. Tap into the power of emotions. Harness what makes us human. Find the emotion that you want to convey and develop your next hit with it as a central point in your musical message.
3. Visualize your music. It can be a great way to generate fresh new ideas. Find an image or piece of art that you love and interpret it into an auditory expression.
4. Remember why you got into music. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of what got us into music in order to reinvigorate that inspirational drive.
5. Speed challenge. This can be a fun activity. The goal is to complete a song creation task in a specified period of time. When you do this a few times, you might have a song worthy of spending some extra time to polish. If not, you will have at least improved your overall workflow, so it’s a win-win.
6. Listen to your favorite tunes. One of the reasons I got into producing was from hearing awesome music and wanting to make more for others to experience the wonder I feel when I hear a really great song.
7. Try out a new sample pack. All it takes is one sample to generate a flurry of ideas for the next song. As a bonus, it can inspire sound design ideas too. Get over 60 thousand free samples at Sample Radar.
8. Sample from real sources. Take sound clips of the most daily activities like water dripping, closing a door, tapping silverware off the counter, anything really. This can generate some amazing results and spark new thoughts for the next song.
9. Remix a song you enjoy. There is real value in doing remixes. One of them is that you are exposed to new techniques and methods that you may have never thought of. Then you can apply those to your newest project.
10. Explore the world of sound design. Creating instruments and soundscapes from scratch can lead to another level of inspiration and creativity. Design an awesome new pad or lead, then build a song around it.
11. Work with others. Choose your partners wisely, but don’t be afraid to get out there and work with someone else who loves producing. You will learn a ton and come up with brand new ideas you would never have thought of on your own.
12. Meet other artists. Search for local gatherings in your home town, engage in the community and share your experiences. In person is preferred for a genuine experience, but meeting others online is also very beneficial. Inspire each other and take it to your next track.
13. Learn a new technique. I find that after I develop the basic understanding of a new technique, I can’t wait to apply it in a new song. This can spawn a series of songs as you get better as you go.
14. Watch a tutorial. Watching others showcase their skills can give you a whole new perspective. It is really inspiring to see others in action and will more often than not get you motivated to put the new idea to the test.
15. Take a short break. This is important if you feel like you are all tapped out. Inspiration will come to you in various forms when you are doing non-music related tasks and activities. Be sure to write these ideas down as they come to you.
16. Play around with presets. This is not normally something I would recommend, but if you are struggling with generating new ideas, it is worth a try. Open up a synth of choice and start going through the presets and listen for something that sparks your interest. 100+ Free Sytrus Presets
17. Use negative life experiences as a source. The challenges and trials we deal with in life are worth being expressed. Don’t hold all those emotions in, release them into something everyone can appreciate.
18. Have fun with it. Sometimes we get so caught up in deadlines and goals, we forget that making music is a ton of fun. Look at humor as a way to inject new life into a project or as a foundation for a new song.
19. Learn a new instrument. Take a music lesson, whether it be a piano, guitar or other instrument. Just getting your hands on a new instrument can really get your thoughts going.
20. Mix up your workplace. You will be amazed by the different ideas you will come up with working in the shade on a sunny spring day or sitting on the deck during a rainstorm or at the local café with the hustle and bustle all around you.
21. Listen to your earlier works. This is really quite effective after you have made music for a few years. You will be amazed at how far you have come and that will push you forward.
22. Go to live performances. This is a great way to release stress, interact with fellow music fans, and hear something in a new perspective.
23. Mash-up your thoughts. Take two unrelated topics and merge them together. This can be done in various ways, such as writing lists of themes, emotions, topics and picking two at random and combining them.
24. Organize your process. Remove the unnecessary clutter and distractions. This is more about creating a health environment for when your creative juices start flowing.
25. Make your own peace and quiet. Turn off the cell, disconnect from WiFi, lock the door, etc. Sometimes we need to be focused on the task at hand for the ideas to flow.
26. Read a story. The theme or type isn’t important. The simple action of reading something interesting can sometimes lead you to being creative.
27. Join a music forum. There are tons of really amazing folks out there that will share their knowledge if you ask politely. These same folks can encourage you and give you criticism that will motivate you in ways you never knew possible. Join the insightful community at Future Producers.
28. Get plenty of rest. One thing that can consistently stifle creativity is lack of sleep. In rare cases, the opposite will happen, but more often than not, the lack of brain power will bring down your creative ability.
29. Develop a daily routine. This can be very beneficial since humans are creatures of habit. Develop a routine that includes time dedicated to being creative.
30. Utilize reference material. I am a huge fan of using a song I enjoy as a source of inspiration. Try to make it your own by injecting your unique style. See if you can replicate parts that you are most interested in.
31. Take a vacation. Many of us will travel at least once a year. Why not tap into that experience as a new source of inspiration. Turn the sights and sounds into a new song.
32. Attend a concert or festival. Being in the mix with huge crowds is not everyone’s cup of tea, but if your favorite producer or DJ is sending those sonic waves your way, you will be sure to leave with tons of awesome new ideas.
33. Freestyle. Start a simple beat and just start adding elements to it with no plan at all. Take the most interesting combinations and use that as a base for a new song.
34. Listen to new genres. Expanding your horizons into a new style of music can really inspire something unique that you would have never considered before. This is also a great way to come up with really interesting twists to genres you are more familiar with by adding in elements you normally wouldn’t consider.
35. Start with a beat. If you normally start with a melody or other part of a song, why not try putting a beat together first. This can many times lead to interesting new results when you shift the process and see things from a different angle.
36. Start with a melody. This is a great idea if you are more inclined to work with a beat first. Instead, rearrange your process and start with a catchy melody and go from there.
37. Get a new plugin. There are tons of free plugin instruments that you can try. Since they will have their own uniqueness, that will translate into an experience that will inspire you. Check out the huge collection of free VST Plugins at KVR.
38. Mix up your instrument selection. Some people are so structured that it hinders creativity. You might always use a piano, why not try a totally different instrument in its place. Instead of the standard choices, variate for a nice change of pace and some much needed inspiration.
39. Rework unfinished tracks. If you are sitting on unfinished tracks, then you are sitting on creative gold. Take one and re-purpose it, change the tempo, or swap out instruments. It can be a great way to not only get creative, but also finish that song you have always thought had potential.
40. Change your lighting. If you always work in the dark, try turning all the lights on. If you work with lights on, take a shot in the dark. This can take you out of your standard and open up new and interesting ideas.
41. Match your peers. Look at the accomplishments of others and try to make something even more impressive. There is nothing wrong with some healthy competition.
42. Set unique limitations. A common limitation is using only one synth for all your instruments. Create your own limitations and set what creative ways you can find to finish a song.
43. Refer to symbols and icons for themes. Take for example an animal and use that as your inspiration. Or maybe you want to make a song based on a color or weather pattern.
44. Build off an acapella. Use vocals as a launching pad for new and interesting music. You can build an entire song off of a catchy chorus line. Get over 7K free acapellas at Looperman.
45. Failure is an option. You can potentially learn more from failure than from success. Seek out moments where you did not achieve your goal and see how it made you stronger. Turn that into a positive influence and tell the story of your struggle in your music.
46. Capture your dreams. Keep a notebook or your phone near you when you sleep. Write down everything and anything you can remember. It helps to keep your eyes closed as you wake up and reflect on the recent dream to give it clarity.
47. Quantity over quality. This goes against most advice you get in life, but when it comes to ideas, you want to explore as many as possible. Either way, bad ideas help the good ones stand out even more.
48. Get a pet. Not only are they fantastic companions, they also can be a wealth of inspiration. For example, just taking the dog for a walk can help you conjure up an amazing idea.
49. Watch a movie. Movies have a great ability to get your creative gears churning. Listen to the opening score, the music at the climax or the ending credits. This is a great way to explore new styles and develop the ability to tell a story in your songs.
50. Forget about what sells. Forcing yourself to make only music that sells is a terrible limitation to your creativity. Share something that people never heard before and you may be surprised by how much they love it.
51. Don’t hold onto a bad idea. Be bold and move onto the next idea or start anew if the one you are working on is not going anywhere. Save it first too. Coming back to it later with a fresh perspective may be all you needed, but don’t let it stall you out.
52. Be different. Take a leap of faith when you are having trouble with creativity and do something unexpected. Toss the norms aside and experiment. Happy accidents happen more often than we realize.
53. Explore music theory. Develop your next melody in a scale or chord you never explored before. Use this as a basis for a theme and branch off from there. Hearing the difference in these notes can generate a new world of possibilities. Learn more
54. Play a video game. Why not let loose once in awhile. Games are filled with music and soundtracks, some of which may be the inspiration you need for your next big project.
55. If has been done before, then do it again. This time, do it in your way. Add your twist and unique perspective. If you approach it in this manner, it will be genuine and authenticate to your style. Chances are, you will never do anything for the first time, but you can make your own version of it.
56. Watch the news. I almost want to save this as a last resort, but current events can really push you into a creative frenzy if you encounter a story that hits home to you. Echo the positive stories and give hope to the negative ones.
57. Take photos. Snapping some pictures on your latest trip through the store or walk in the park can be a great way to shift your mental gears and find new avenues of creativity. Look at your collection and find some new inspiration.
58. Exercise regularly. Besides making you healthier, it is also a great way to zone out and let your mind take a break from the standard grind.
59. Be confident in yourself. If you sit down thinking you will never come up with a great idea, well chance are, you won’t. Give yourself a chance and be open to anything that comes to mind.
60. You have the rest of your life. Usually, forcing yourself to come up with an idea will only hurt you. Take your time, get comfortable, take a nap if you have to, and write everything down as you unlock your thoughts.
61. Spend time with family and friends. Never let those moments pass by so you can work on your need bass melody. Jump at the opportunities to be with those you love. Their presence will be a fantastic source of inspiration.
62. Plan for the holidays. Pick a holiday that has a special meaning to you and use that as a source of inspiration. This doesn’t mean making a Jingle Bells song, but instead, take the values and meaning of a holiday that are important to you (or that you dislike about said holiday) and turn it into a song.
63. Close your eyes. It amazes me how often this works. Whether I am just laying down for the night or needing a moment to rest at work, closing your eyes and taking a mental break can bring forward interesting creativity when you least expect it.
Now it’s time to put these tips into action.
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