File Under: Creating and Making Your Music

This article is part of the Creating and Making Music series: how to create and produce more music for the new streaming world.

Because the internet and the new streaming world rewards consistent and regular releases of music, every musician needs to be focused on creating episodic releases of their output. For example, singles, remixes, EPs, and other music drops that lead to final album. Releasing a steady stream of music throughout the year drives engagement, grows your fanbase, and make more money with music in today's internet-driven music industry. So, this week we're tackling the next three idea-generators in our ongoing Creating and Making Music series.

As we said in last week's article, writer's block affects more than authors. In creating and producing 365 songs for our project where we released one song for every day of 2007, we ended up stumbling on many techniques to generate a lot of music. Then we researched creativity. Together we compiled ten of the best idea-generators and will share these over the next three articles here at The DIY Advisor.

After last week's first three ideas, here are the next three idea-generators to help get you unstuck and creating new music:

4. Riff on what's been done before and do your own take.

The history of music is filled with ideas to explore and make your own. Find inspiration in what's come before and building something new and original from it. For example, what if you made a response album similar to what Liz Phair did to The Rolling Stone's "Exile on Main Street" by creating a song-by-song answer album? We did this during our project by tackling doing a rock opera. We always admired the Who's "Tommy" and Pink Floyd's "The Wall", but we knew we had to keep our rock opera short. So, we chose to challenge ourselves to create a 10 minute "rock operetta", one song that told a story over multiple movements. That challenge resulted in an afternoon songwriting session and "Pizza (The Rock Opera)" was born. We would never had written the song if it wasn't for being inspired by rock operas from the past. The same technique can be used for your music.

5. Try a different genre, style or mood

Similar to the above, another way to get the creative juices flowing or to break out of a creative slump is to challenge yourself to try something new. What about creating an instrumental? If you already create instrumentals, what about challenging yourself to write a song with lyrics? What about tackling a different genre or style? Or better yet, fusing two different styles into something totally new? Or a different mood? Creating music outside your comfort zone actually can open up new ideas and techniques you can use in any of your music.

6. Challenge yourself by taking commissions.

During project, we were very open to taking suggestions as well as actual commissions for music. Some fans would write us asking if we'd create a theme song for their podcast. This resulted in us writing, recording, and releasing multiple podcast themes. The podcast themes had the added bonus of exposing our band and music to totally new audiences since the podcasters would credit us in every episode. So much so that we became famous in their listeners minds, and would get a ton of attention at any gatherings where the podcast listeners hung out.

You can do this as well not just with podcasters, but shows and vloggers on YouTube. But also don't forget about the real world. One musician we met, Nathan Page, would walk into local restaurants and pizza shops, convince them they needed a jingle or theme song, and then got paid to create the music for their advertising campaigns.

Now you're armed with six solid idea-generators designed to inspire and get your creative process kicked into high-gear and we have more on the way in the near future. In the meantime, follow us on Twitter @indieguide and try one of these ideas this week to jumpstart your creative juices. After all, the more quality music you can put out, the higher the chances you can find your audience and grow your fanbase.

Challenge: Try one of these ideation techniques for your own music this week. And, if you didn't try one of these from last week's article, then add these to the mix and make one of them happen. Do it before next Wednesday, when we share the last four idea-generators.

Follow us on Twitter @indieguide


#creativity #ideas #idea-generators #writersblock #releasingmusic #musicmaking

Photo credit: Cristian Carrara