How To Beat Writer's Block – Tip #21

Here is a game you can play for writing melody lines, bass lines, arpeggios, accompaniments, etc.

Let the root be a given. After that, decide on different scale degrees to form a shape that you will use for in a chord progression.

Like this:

Say I decide the root (given), the second, and fifth. Now, on each harmony, I can only play those scale degree in relation to the chord being played.

If the harmony is a G major triad, I would only play the G , A , and D during it.

So what’s the purpose of this? Well, for one, the limitations in note choices will force you to be creative. Second, this is just a starting point – merely a game – to get your writer’s block defeated.

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How To Beat Writer's Block – Tip #20

Can it be possible to bore yourself into creativity?

When things are so mind-numbingly boring, people usually tend to do something about it to make it more exciting (unless they are content with it or just plain lazy).

Try this exercise: start by playing the simplest rhythm you can think of (possibly quarter-notes) on a single pitch. Play it over and over again. More and more until the natural urge to change it comes out.

You will probably start by changing the rhythm, getting bored with the constant quarter-notes. Then, you’ll probably start varying the pitch – creating a melody.

And there you go! A start of a piece born from plain boredom!

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How To Beat Writer's Block – Tip #19

Sometimes, what might be stopping you from beginning to write an amazing piece is that you are overwhelmed by what to write. Will it be a symphony, a pop hit, an EDM banger, a brass quartet..?

What might help is engrossing yourself in the genre or style you want to write. Meaning, constantly listening to that kind of music, watching videos about it, and reading books. Having your environment around you be that narrow pathway of music you want to write will encourage you to overcome the writer block and compose.

Think about this. Will a person who live in a town of only fast food venture out to eat healthy? Most likely not, because that person’s environment is basically a pathways to eating greasy foods.

By limiting your listening to a specific genre, watching videos, and reading about it – you will be pushed more into writing that piece you’ve wanted to for a long time.

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How To Beat Writer’s Block – Tip #18

Sometimes, having a block comes from the opposite of what you expect. Instead of having little-to-no ideas, you might have too many. In most cases, being imaginative and creative to the point where you have an overflow of ideas is not a bad thing… but it can cause a feeling of being overwhelmed on not knowing which of your fantastic ideas to start.

My suggestion would to do the following:

  • Physically write all of your ideas down (don’t keep them in your head)
  • Revise them and see which ones will work best for your next composition
  • Take those ones and order them in level of importance
  • Revise the list again into an order that the piece will progressively use

From there you can use this as a checklist for your composition being sure to accomplish the ideas that you had in a step-by-step manner that will also make the music flow from smallest to largest in scale on what you consider to be important musical aspects.

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How To Beat Writer’s Block – Tip #16

For those out there who work and compose through a DAW (digital audio workstation), this one is for you:

Say that you have all these virtual instruments and plugins, but are overwhelmed by the possibilities. Overwhelmed to the point where you don’t know where to start.

The best thing I would advise someone to do is to first program into your MIDI a simple chord progression. I’ll chose it for you… a progression of I – IV – vi – V7.

Next, set that progression on a loop.

Now, while it is in a loop, slowly go through all the instrument and preset possibilities through your DAW till you find something that you like. This will force you be mentally articulate as to which instrument/preset sounds the best.

And from there, you can start building off of what you have chosen. Pick complementary sounding instruments. Change the chord progression. Add a melody. Do some automation. Etc.

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How To Beat Writer’s Block – Tip #10

In some DAWs (actually, in most) you have a piano roll setting where you can draw in “notes” that will be played horizontally in time along with a keyboard instrument propped up vertically.

While most people use this piano roll setting to create the exact melody, harmony, rhythmic pattern that they are looking for – you can also use it to draw!

Because the “notes” are in shapes of lines and blocks, you can use them as lines in a drawing to create a cool image… as well as a cool musical idea!

Take a look at an example below made in FL Studios:

Notice how the blocks where arranged to look like a heart-shape… or shape of a cat’s face. Whatever you are up to imagine and interpret.

You can do a similar thing, too – but also try to stay conscious of the melodic and harmonic qualities of the thing you are drying. The object of this writer’s block tip is to be visually creative while musically driven.

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How To Beat Writer’s Block – Tip #6

For this activity to get the creative juices flowing – I want you to think about opposites in life.

There is a yin and yang to everything. Dark and light. Good and bad. Tension and relaxation. Both sides now to come together into one.

In music, there is a great deal of tension and release to make the music interesting as well as flowing in growth/shape. But how can you come up with some cool ways of opposites to mimic tension and release?

Take two completely opposite music genres (in your opinion) and make a Venn diagram. The outer circles will obviously be used for listing aspects of the genres that are strictly unique. As for the section of overlap, that will be common traits shared between both genres. You might be surprised by how much they overlap!

Used the overlapped traits as the basis for your composition (or completely disregard it – your choice). Then, label one outer circle your “tension” and the other “relaxation.”

Now, try composing your music using your new traits of “tension and relaxation” found in the opposites of genres from different ends of the spectrum.


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