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WiredUp



Joined: 12/12/04
Posts: 571
Can't write music anymore :(
      #894531 - 14/02/11 02:23 PM
This is a bit off topic but here goes:

So I'm in my mid 30's. I still have the desire to write music, keep spending money on gear that I tell myself will get me writing again but its not happening.

In my teens/early 20's I used to write loads of music. Nothing beats the buzz of creating a new track. I loved the way I could express myself.

So what's the problem? Is it that I just don't have anything to say anymore? Is it that I'm just too lazy? Is it that life just gets in the way?

How are folks my age & older finding it all? Is this a similar story? You often read posts here of folks saying they are trying to get back into recording 20 or so years later.

Its a constant battle for me. I wish I could just make the decision and say that's it, that part of my life is over and move on to something else but its a constant nagging in my heart.

The truth is I love music and when I hear good music it gets my juices flowing. I always think I could do this or that but when it comes to sitting down to actually have a go its like looking in to a dark void and its all too easy to just give up. Its not that I lack ideas. If I improvise with a Guitar for an hour and record it, when I listen back there is easily several ideas for songs be that a chorus, melody, riff but when I try to turn them into something solid it all seems such a mountain.

I'm a pretty creative person. I get to be quite creative in my work and other areas but sadly not in writing music anymore.

Am I just getting old?


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mhaigh



Joined: 14/11/07
Posts: 749
Loc: Hockley, Essex
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: WiredUp]
      #894535 - 14/02/11 02:37 PM
this is pretty common. we all go through it! one good way to get back into it is to do a cover; if nothing else it'll get you back in the habit of recording, mixing and mastering.

--------------------
My metal music! My other music!


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Remeniz



Joined: 02/12/08
Posts: 378
Loc: Peterborough in the UK
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: WiredUp]
      #894541 - 14/02/11 02:52 PM
The dreaded composers block. It's a night mare.

I just carry on with my other hobbies, listen to the radio, watch the TV and other media and ideas start to flow again. Like hearing something on the radio you kinda like but think, "I would do that track totally different" or "That kick really cuts through the mix". I tend to automatically criticise even the music I really like and that's enough to get me going.

I have a dual boot config on my main rig but when i'm booted into the internet OS I have the odd music program there that I can instantly load up and key in piano cords, beats, while browsing.

I heard a bird singing in the garden once that made a great hook...


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Darren Lynch
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Joined: 25/02/03
Posts: 445
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: WiredUp]
      #894546 - 14/02/11 03:30 PM
Simple answer - find someone to collaborate with. Someone to encourage, provoke, discuss. You apply your objectivity to their stuff, they nudge you along with yours. Lennon/McCartney, Holland/Dozier, Whitfield/Strong, Mick n Keef, etc etc.

Best of luck,

Darren


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Collie



Joined: 02/02/08
Posts: 44
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: WiredUp]
      #894549 - 14/02/11 03:46 PM
Your putting too much pressure on yourself,much of that probably comes from the guilt of having all the equipment but lack of ideas and the anxiety that comes with justifying your gear choices with little return

I find a break is as good as a change,I reguarly take some extended periods away from making music and forget about it totally,I find that after that break,I'm flowing with ideas and normally get at least 2-3 new raw songs from that,to me that is more rewarding than sitting in the studio day after day expecting that elusive idea,

for me trying to be songwriter/singer/producer/Family guy, socialise with friends and work related time constraints came with a huge amount of pressure that I became annoyed if I ever wasted some valuable time I could have been in the studio,I manage my life so much easier now I'm not constantly thinking about how little time I get in the studio.
I've learnt that there are strenghts and weaknesses in all of us musically,you need to tap into the best bits and forget the rest,for me,I prefer writing and singing than all the production side of things,writing a full song on piano is far more rewarding for me than spending hours trying to make a song gel with all the equipment just because its there,a collaboration with other people will also help to see where your going wrong and perhaps see the bits your good at and also gain some ideas of how other people tackle it.

I've always been mad into technology and spent more time buying than I did songwriting,I too was always hoping that the new gear would curb the boredom,in the end it simply only magnified the problems and I ended up in a depression because of spending so much money with little return,I simply thought sod it and sold on lots of gear and kept the few instruments I knew well this helped my focus on music rather than technology.

We all go through writers block,you just need to recognise those periods of drout and deal with them,if you put too much focus on trying to write and getting those songs justified just because you have gear gathering dust if you don't you'll lose enthusiasm pretty much like I did.


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Jabba1



Joined: 19/11/07
Posts: 326
Loc: Aylesbury
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: WiredUp]
      #894551 - 14/02/11 03:49 PM
I genuinely empathise, I really do. I've been there myself and yes, have also thought that life has got in the way as I've got older. Darren is absolutely right though, collaboration is a great way forward.

Biggest problems I find are:

1) time... ie getting enough of it, uninterrupted by domestic bliss... Once things are on a roll, then great, lots of progress can be made.

2) Lack of practise. Compared to the amount of practise I used to have in my 20's, I find it often takes much longer to warm up and get going.

But, the answers will only be found within ourselves where those two aspects are concerned. Your constant battle comment really struck a chord though. I know exactly what you mean. But, as you also observe, theres still things inside you want to say, to realise. Even though it may be a mountain to climb, its still totally worthwhile climbing it to get those ideas out and to make them real. Maybe we just have different motivations when we get older. Thats what I blame it on.

Never give up, though. That way lies the path to the dark side.

--------------------
www.alterzero.com || "Semper in excremento sum... solum profunditas variat"


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WiredUp



Joined: 12/12/04
Posts: 571
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: WiredUp]
      #894552 - 14/02/11 03:53 PM
Thanks guys, your replies have helped.


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chew_rocket



Joined: 21/10/09
Posts: 452
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: WiredUp]
      #894553 - 14/02/11 03:53 PM
Complete a song, even if it sucks, complete another even if it sucks. Keep going.

Eventually you will write a song that doesn't suck, and from then on songs will just keep coming.


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BJG145



Joined: 06/08/05
Posts: 3435
Loc: Norwich UK
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: chew_rocket]
      #894559 - 14/02/11 04:05 PM
Quote chew_rocket:

Complete a song, even if it sucks, complete another even if it sucks. Keep going.

Eventually you will write a song that doesn't suck, and from then on songs will just keep coming.




Yep.

A lot of those will suck as well, of course...

At the moment I'm trying to write something I'd actually like to listen to. It's easy to forget to do that.


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RegressiveRock
Just half a pint of cherryade for me


Joined: 01/09/04
Posts: 5649
Loc: Buntingford, Herts
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: WiredUp]
      #894561 - 14/02/11 04:20 PM
Quote WiredUp:

This is a bit off topic but here goes:

So I'm in my mid 30's. I still have the desire to write music, keep spending money on gear that I tell myself will get me writing again but its not happening.

In my teens/early 20's I used to write loads of music. Nothing beats the buzz of creating a new track. I loved the way I could express myself.

So what's the problem? Is it that I just don't have anything to say anymore? Is it that I'm just too lazy? Is it that life just gets in the way?

How are folks my age & older finding it all? Is this a similar story? You often read posts here of folks saying they are trying to get back into recording 20 or so years later.

Its a constant battle for me. I wish I could just make the decision and say that's it, that part of my life is over and move on to something else but its a constant nagging in my heart.

The truth is I love music and when I hear good music it gets my juices flowing. I always think I could do this or that but when it comes to sitting down to actually have a go its like looking in to a dark void and its all too easy to just give up. Its not that I lack ideas. If I improvise with a Guitar for an hour and record it, when I listen back there is easily several ideas for songs be that a chorus, melody, riff but when I try to turn them into something solid it all seems such a mountain.

I'm a pretty creative person. I get to be quite creative in my work and other areas but sadly not in writing music anymore.

Am I just getting old?




Find yourself a collaborator! There's nothing like competition to get you going!


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Nelly
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Joined: 21/02/03
Posts: 99
Loc: London
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: WiredUp]
      #894563 - 14/02/11 04:25 PM
Agree, finding a collaborator can be a big help - it was a revelation for me. At 37 now, I was in a similar position, hadn't really been creating much for about ten years, then met a great singer and suddenly there was a reason to be writing again.

Can also work to give yourself a reason to write music. Whether it's self-imposed deadlines such as write & complete a song a day (or a week). Also look at maybe doing some sort of course or other musical activity that might provide inspiration. I'm now doing Guy Michelmore's Music For The Media which is great and is giving me lots of inspiration and reasons for writing.


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Darren Lynch
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Joined: 25/02/03
Posts: 445
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: chew_rocket]
      #894568 - 14/02/11 04:39 PM
Quote chew_rocket:

Complete a song, even if it sucks, complete another even if it sucks. Keep going.

Eventually you will write a song that doesn't suck, and from then on songs will just keep coming.




Or as Samuel Beckett said:

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.


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tomafd



Joined: 03/10/05
Posts: 3468
Loc: uk
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: WiredUp]
      #894569 - 14/02/11 04:43 PM
Yep, there was a time when it was all new, you were all hyped up getting near the sound you wanted ... but now the magic's worn off.

It happens, to most of us eventually. Back in the day getting music out there was a bugger, now it's piss easy ... but it also means that you kind of know, now, that the most likely result of doing what everybody does - make an album, slap up a website, get it up on iTunes, work that facebook etc, will result in what usually happens ....

... absolutely bugger all.

Hits the motivation, doesn't it ? Even if megastardom wasn't what you were after, a good deal of all that 20s enthusiasm is the thought, behind it all, that you just might make something good, even if you didn't 'make it'. Even the most 'artistic' and experimental artist has a sneaking desire for people to hear this stuff and make nice noises about it, maybe even get a bit of cash in. Now that 'everyone's an artist' and everybody's 'made an album' the cachet and status of being a muso has plummeted somewhat.

I wouldn't underestimate the power of this, even if you haven't 'clocked' it as a possible cause for your lack of inspiration. What we do now carries a lot less value - artistic, financial, even political, than it used to, so even when we do feel that buzz of basic musical inspiration, there can also be, sometimes, a little cynical voice saying "sure, yeah, get your rocks off, but let's face it. What's the [ ****** ] point ?"

Ignore the little bastard.

You do what you do because you enjoy it. If you're not enjoying it, do something else for a bit. When you do get back to it (cos you will), ignore everything you've ever thought about it, everything anyone else has told you about it, everything you're hearing out there right now, and especially - any possible ideas of what it 'should' sound like according to the market, your friends, the genre it's supposed to be, and all that [ ****** ].

Just make a racket and enjoy yourself, regardless of quality or quantity. That's how you started, initially, and that's how to start again. You'll be fine.

--------------------
http://anotherfineday.bandcamp.com/ http://anotherfineday.co.uk http://apollomusic.co.uk


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jaminem
active member


Joined: 19/03/01
Posts: 1127
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: WiredUp]
      #894579 - 14/02/11 05:21 PM
+1 to the collaberation, I hooked up with a great songwriter who had 100% no interest in technology at all - He even refused the Samson USB mic I got given. But thats good because my songwriting skills are sooo bad (I finally realized) so we compliment each other well.

I know what people mean about feeling guilty about not spending all of their spare time in the studio, though, but thats never a good way to go. I'm hardly in here in the summer, much prefer being outside, cycling, walking dog, going to cricket, sitting in pub beer gardens for far too long talking crap but thats a good thing I find. Gives you time to recharge your batteries, and gtet away from the studio.

Even in autum/winter when I can grab a few hours in the studio I tend to be super productive because I WANT to do it rather than feeling than i SHOULD be doing it.

Just spent the last hour or so mixing a song - it practically did it itself. I'm sure thats to do with my attitude towards it as much as my brilliant tracking skills.

ahem, well you know what I mean...


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Hairy Ears
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Joined: 06/09/03
Posts: 617
Loc: UK
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: WiredUp]
      #894585 - 14/02/11 05:40 PM
If in the same position right now, but I'm trying not to force anything.

I am certainly nowhere near as prolific as I was in my late teens/early 20s, but these days I feel the quality and consitancy of what I write now is far better.

I still have days when I look at my kit and think "why did I buy all this?" but it passes. I know I will return to it at some point, so I do something in the meantime.

--------------------
* Soundcloud *
* Bandcamp *


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bunker



Joined: 30/12/05
Posts: 83
Loc: North Manchester
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: Hairy Ears]
      #894591 - 14/02/11 05:59 PM
I think we have all hit that patch at some point or another. Collaborating is a great idea but its not for everyone. You will know yourself if thats what you want to do, for me I prefer to work on my own at present but who knows in the future.

A few good points have been raised here already. I can go weeks, even months, without doing anything more musical than spinning a few tunes but when I get the urge to write I find I cant get my ideas down fast enough! I used to try to set a regular time slot to write but I'm not lucky enough to be able to turn on my creativity at the drop of a hat. I get a load of ideas down roughly then just work on one. When I get the vibe to write again I return to my previous ideas and pick one of those to work on. Sometimes I'll end up using two or three ideas in one song, others never get past the rough stage.

I used to get the same feelings myself, tons of gear piled up and me not using it. It took a while to realise that just because its there I don't need to be playing it all the time. I have other hobbies/projects that compete for my time and an awful lot of reading and learning to keep me busy!

The most important thing is not to beat yourself up about it. The best moments of creativity when you least expect it so don't force it, thats a sure way to fall out of love with your music.

Hope this thread and the other members input helps..

Mark.

--------------------
"Who were Wings? Only the band the Beatles could have been.."


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Folderol



Joined: 15/11/08
Posts: 3685
Loc: Rochester, UK
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: WiredUp]
      #894610 - 14/02/11 07:09 PM
Is your setup 'instant on' for when you have that 2am spot of inspiration? At least have a voice recorder to hand so you can hum a bit of an idea to fix it in your mind.

Do you keep editable copies of older work you've done? Just noodling about with these can fire off a new idea. Also, store anything you do start on, even if you think it's total crap. My record for dusting off an abandoned composition is about 15 years!

Take a break. Spend time reading (whatever books you like). Go out for long walks.

Collaborations - already mentioned can help, but don't let yourself be dragged into a deadline situation. People work at different speeds.

It's always a good idea to expand your horizons and try completely unfamiliar styles to stop yourself getting in a rut. Even if it turns out a mess, you've learned something and will be able to add a little more to your 'mainstream' ideas.

--------------------
It wasn't me!
(Well, actually, it probably was)


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RegressiveRock
Just half a pint of cherryade for me


Joined: 01/09/04
Posts: 5649
Loc: Buntingford, Herts
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: Folderol]
      #894611 - 14/02/11 07:20 PM
Quote Folderol:

Is your setup 'instant on' for when you have that 2am spot of inspiration? At least have a voice recorder to hand so you can hum a bit of an idea to fix it in your mind.






This is a very important thing. I have forgotten more songs than I have tracked by many multiples.


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nathanscribe



Joined: 19/01/07
Posts: 818
Loc: Yorkshire, by 'eck.
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: WiredUp]
      #894648 - 14/02/11 09:51 PM
Funny, I've been feeling like this myself lately. Well, pretty constantly actually. I've done the whole "throw money at it and hope for the best" thing, I've done the "starve your hobby" thing, I've even got other creative pursuits... and I tend to feel the same about the results of all of them, varying technical abilities notwithstanding.

Somebody once gave me a Martha Graham quotation - something about being driven by "divine dissatisfaction". I like that. I also like Randall Jarrell's comment - that "any poet has written enough bad poetry to scare away anybody".

It's very easy to dismiss your own work, especially when the only things we hear from our favourite artists are the pieces that made it through the filter, the ones they finished, the ones they spent most time crafting and shaping and perfecting. Most of them didn't do that alone either.

Last week I was in a real funk about my musical efforts. I bought a little 4-track and have suddenly found myself halfway through a new piece that has come from nowhere. Was it the fresh approach driven by a completely different piece of kit? Was it just that I was ready for a new idea but it hadn't arrived yet? I don't know. But even in those bleak moments, those quiet patches, things are ticking away in the back of your brain, and some time they will pop out. You just have to be ready to get them when they do.

--------------------
my nerdy synth tech blog


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hollowsun



Joined: 20/01/05
Posts: 5582
Loc: Cowbridge, South Wales
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: WiredUp]
      #894652 - 14/02/11 09:57 PM
Quote WiredUp:

I get to be quite creative in my work and other areas...



Maybe that's part of the problem - you're 'creatived out' by the time you get home to have a noodle in your little studio. Perhaps.

But what Tomafd said above rings true - people do need something to aim for (whatever that is) otherwise it might seem a bit pointless even starting. Not true of everyone I know but...

I used to write and record prolifically in my youth but I had a shite job and couldn't wait to get home and in my Lab. Not so much now...

And that's before you even factor in kids and so on.

--------------------
Website / Music Lab Machines / Blog


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abba_x



Joined: 14/01/05
Posts: 145
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: WiredUp]
      #894690 - 15/02/11 06:53 AM
How do you write? Locked to the screen and mouse, guitar, piano...? It can help to swap round the manner in which you start to write. If you currently use the piano, switch to guitar. If you find yourself locked to the computer screen, dust off the MIDI controller. If you tend to start with chords, start with a bass-line instead. If you end to start with melodies, start with a drum beat.

The above often works for me. I had been using my guitar but found I was just playing the same old ideas and nothing new was coming from my fingers. I have now switched (back) to the piano. I will probably find that when I go back to the guitar I will have a fresh outlook and start to play different things.


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James PerrettModerator



Joined: 10/09/01
Posts: 10772
Loc: The wilds of Hampshire
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: WiredUp]
      #894723 - 15/02/11 10:08 AM
I meet quite a few people in their 40's and 50's who have got back into writing songs - maybe it is a fairly common thing to stop in your 30's. I haven't really written anything since my mid 30's but I've spent a fair bit of time helping other people turn their compositions into finished product which seems to fulfill much of my creative needs.

James.

--------------------
JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration.
http://www.jrpmusic.net


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Martin WalkerModerator
Watcher Of The Skies


Joined: 28/02/01
Posts: 17566
Loc: Cornwall, UK
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: WiredUp]
      #894764 - 15/02/11 12:24 PM
It’s so easy to fall back on doing what you know best, and ending up bored with what you produce. I’ve revitalised my own creativity during the last year by getting involved in more sound design work - during this time I’ve produced and worked on material in a host of different genres (including IDM, Cinematic Impacts, Arpeggiated and Dubstep) that not only stretched me in new ways but also inspired fresh results in my own chosen music genre.

I’d say try something different


Martin

--------------------
YewTreeMagic


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shufflebeat



Joined: 09/12/07
Posts: 3267
Loc: Manchester, UK
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: WiredUp]
      #894798 - 15/02/11 02:06 PM
Don't be so hard on yourself, you've got loads of time. When you're writing aged 15-30ish you're driven by early experience, love, justice, being a %#&king know it all. After that it's pretty normal to go through one of those stages when you realise what you thought before isn't the whole story. After a few years of headscratching you realise you now really do know it all and can begin changing the world again.

All is cool.

--------------------
Onward and outward


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Atomic Studios Londo...



Joined: 15/02/11
Posts: 16
Loc: London, UK
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: WiredUp]
      #894871 - 15/02/11 06:34 PM
Don't Worry mate. It happens to everyone. It is part of being a songwriter.

If you pay attention to records' liner notes and credits, you realise that songs are often written by more than 1 person, especially as far as the best songs are concerned (although it is a matter of taste!).

Go and find a partner for your composition. You will get a new work/creative process that will inspire you!!


--------------------
www.atomicstudioslondon.com

Edited by Hugh Robjohns (02/03/11 05:15 PM)


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Helmutcrab



Joined: 08/08/06
Posts: 719
Loc: County Durham, UK
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: WiredUp]
      #895094 - 16/02/11 02:52 PM
Heres my own opinions and experience,

Im also in my mid-late 30s and i too sympathise here. I used to wonder why i couldnt write good original songs and put parts together to make a finished song that didnt sound like different parts stuck together. Now im only just starting to get there after a lifetime of doing other things/jobs i didnt want to do etc but...

I now realise dedication is essential. When your young you think nothing of playing away for hours at a time without a thought of anything else and are probably less critical. When you get older, family, jobs, house etc takes a chunk out of it and there is little time left - and sometimes tiredness kicks in even when you do have the time. As Jack Ruston pointed out in a thread similar to this a while back, songwriting is a process and frustration or pressure/anxiety kills it. When you come up with the good stuff its often a result of alot of time working away at being a songwriter with apparently little or no obvious reward then when it finally comes out it seems like the easiest thing in the world but this only happens every now and again and as pointed out you must record it. I bet all of the great songwriters put in alot of time at their craft before it started to sound good. As an older adult i often forget just how much time and enthusiasm teenagers-early 20s can put into doing things in order to get good at it without questioning it. Sometimes we just dont have that time but it helps to make as much of it as you can (without upsetting the wife!). The point is that it is due to all those hours, weeks, months and years working away at it that allows the good stuff to come out. By working i do not mean forcing it to come out too hard (a little can help things along but only when you feel you have to - alot just kills it ), i just mean playing away without any pressure and not being critical if it sounds crap. I also dont mean forcing yourself to keep on at it when you are fed up/ had enough.

If you are coming up with good parts but cant put them together to finish a song, it MAY be the case that you are simply not doing it enough, as this is a common thing and the hardest part to get good at - again, for me it only happens sometimes and after alot of playing anything and everything that comes into my head. The best stuff comes from the subconscious but its got to be put in their first and allowed time to formulate itself into the real deal but you must keep playing every day and be around the instrument (give or take the odd day off) to give yourself the oportunity to catch the times when it just flows. I realise work etc plays its part here but youve just got to do it when you can and let go of getting annoyed or feeling under pressure to do it or finish other things faster just to get back to it. You can only do it when you can, so just enjoy it.
Its a long and difficult task but made much easier by letting go of the pressure and frustration that comes along with it. Ive learned through bitter experience that if you dont capture the good stuff there and then it often is gone for good.

Just keep playing, dont be critical and record whatever sounds good.
And the best of luck to you

Peter

--------------------
music for the downtrodden
https://soundcloud.com/slipper-hero


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ZukanModerator
Zukan


Joined: 12/09/03
Posts: 9322
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: Martin Walker]
      #895136 - 16/02/11 05:24 PM
Quote Martin Walker:

It’s so easy to fall back on doing what you know best, and ending up bored with what you produce. I’ve revitalised my own creativity during the last year by getting involved in more sound design work - during this time I’ve produced and worked on material in a host of different genres (including IDM, Cinematic Impacts, Arpeggiated and Dubstep) that not only stretched me in new ways but also inspired fresh results in my own chosen music genre.

Martin



And top draw they are my friend.



--------------------
Samplecraze
Stretch That Note


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RonnieG



Joined: 15/01/06
Posts: 342
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: mhaigh]
      #895143 - 16/02/11 06:08 PM
Hi wired
What you describe is a classic (no pun inteneded).

I was prolic whilst in bands in my 20's. After that (my 30's) i wanted to just write my songs and record them but faced with the cost of just 4 tracks to tape and no outboard I was frustrated because what i heard in my head i could never get on tape. So i did what you're doing. Jam away , have great ideas but the effort to expand on them was too much (in my mind)
Digital came along and "Bingo" i could do it all and at a millionth of the cost.

However that was not enough so i looked for collaborators to write with. Found a site called Songramp.com and in the last 5 years have written, recorded and "posted" about 30 songs, (only 30 in 5 years i hear you say.....yes but that's 29 more than the previous 15 years!.)
The commitment to finish and deliver for your collaborator is not pressure but you know you have to keep up your side of the deal. It works for me really well. It's an enjoyable pressure too. Also there is a community feel about the site and you meet up (Cyber)with others and you collaborate with them too.

The above point someone made about having goal/ (fame/ recognition) for your art and graft is quenched too, becuase you post the song onto an Open Mic page and people comment and slap your back or critique.
This one is quite a small community compared with what's out there. That's good in some respects (Bigger fish / smaller ponds )

Give it a go. I bet it wets your appetite.

Ronnie

Shameless plug: http://www.songramp.com/homepage.php?userid=16509

--------------------
My Songs are at http://songramp.com/RonnieG


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desmond



Joined: 10/01/06
Posts: 9099
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: RonnieG]
      #895145 - 16/02/11 06:16 PM
If you'd started the thread a few weeks earlier I would have said to give FAWM a serious go.

It would have changed your perspectives towards music immensely, I reckon...


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shufflebeat



Joined: 09/12/07
Posts: 3267
Loc: Manchester, UK
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: desmond]
      #895173 - 16/02/11 09:09 PM
Nice project. I've never heard of it. Cheers Des.

--------------------
Onward and outward


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Craigy Jay



Joined: 17/02/11
Posts: 9
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: WiredUp]
      #895221 - 17/02/11 04:53 AM
I will tell you something my friend...nothing in this life comes easy...I will tell you my story...I'm also in my mid 30's...I've been trying to play and write since I was 12 years old...I didn't finish a song until about 2 years ago...I wrote bits and bobs hear and there but never finished a track...You know what I did...kept going...even when I felt like I had no talent and no creativity I would still go back to the keyboard or the guitar because music is in my [ ****** ] veins...It took me 18 years to finish my first track and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life...The number of times I gave up and sold my guitars escapes me...but I always came back...because I love what I do...I've never made a penny from music but I don't care...I love what I do...

I'm in the process of producing my first album...9 tracks down and ready to go...it's taken over 20 years for me to get to this point...I know you are the other way around...coming from writing into a dry spell...but I tell you brother...if you ever give up then you will never know what might have been...you might write your best music when you're in your 50's...you might write nothing for the next 20 years...but I tell you this...I slogged it out for 20 years and so can you although god willing you will get it back much sooner...

Whatever instruments you play, hit it every day...

As Leonard Cohen once said...I hate to see another tired man lay down his hand as though he's giving up the holy game of poker...

Peace and love bro...

Craigy Jay...


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Frisonic



Joined: 27/01/10
Posts: 3725
Loc: London, United Kingdom
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: WiredUp]
      #895536 - 18/02/11 03:36 PM
Donald Fagan had writers block for eight years. He jokes about it now. I think he managed to amuse himself in the mean time. However, since the juices started flowing again he has won a couple of well deserved Grammys.

I have a private theory (sure to be shot down in here) that most people only ever write about six songs or so, and then revisit those themes again and again. Which requires a fresh perspective. I really wouldn't worry about it.

--------------------
Strictly project and just for fun


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Oli_F



Joined: 01/09/04
Posts: 659
Loc: London
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: Frisonic]
      #895543 - 18/02/11 03:59 PM
One thing that hasn't been mentioned is the end goal for writing.

If there isn't a structured reason for the creation, then finding motivation can definitely be difficult.

Get yourself booked to do a gig in a month's time for which you have no music ready yet - that will get you writing and no mistake!!


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Jared007



Joined: 15/11/09
Posts: 26
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: WiredUp]
      #895634 - 19/02/11 09:08 AM
Hi,

Great topic. I too am struggling to produce stuff that I am happy with for similar problems mentioned.

However, what's motivated me this last week is to forget about being creative and instead to re-kindle my joy of simply playing guitar. For this I bought a book off Amazon which has every song of one of my favourite albums. And it's great! Finding out how all these favourite songs are played keeps me playing and challenged, but most importantly having fun again!

Cheers, Jared.


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Jonny DiBergi



Joined: 19/01/07
Posts: 243
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: WiredUp]
      #895676 - 19/02/11 01:09 PM
We can dress it up however we like and blame technology, lack of time, our age, previous failures, and so on and so on. You can tell yourself that some mystical magical intangible "something" has somehow left you, but it's not the case.

It comes down to DISCIPLINE. Creativity is a result of work put in, it's really simple. Sometimes people need a break, but unless you've really been writing solidly for a long time without a break that probably isn't the case.

I would put aside 20 minutes and watch this lecture. http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html

It's pretty well-known and by a writer who talks about... oh just watch it, you'll get something from it... and if you can't be arsed to watch it, then you probably can't be arsed to work your way out of your slump!

This is all good news though - means it's controllable by you!

IMHO of course.


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Stickybud



Joined: 01/09/04
Posts: 571
Loc: Bass Camp
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: WiredUp]
      #896905 - 24/02/11 06:55 PM
Hehe, what?? Can't write music anymore, I've NEVER really done anything more than noodle with gear/software for over a decade, well whenever Logic 4.5.1 came out...

I still love it, if I was destined to be Mr Ga Ga, I would be. I just love to make some beats, and listen for a while...Like a boy with a train set, turn it on, watch it run, get bored, stop. Save. Battlefield Bad Company 2 also kills the creative process...



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siderealxxx



Joined: 24/01/09
Posts: 182
Loc: Bristol
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: WiredUp]
      #896914 - 24/02/11 07:38 PM
Has no one mentioned drugs yet Surely thats the only way forward

--------------------
Excess makes the heart grow fonder


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shufflebeat



Joined: 09/12/07
Posts: 3267
Loc: Manchester, UK
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: siderealxxx]
      #896918 - 24/02/11 07:58 PM
Quote siderealxxx:

Has no one mentioned drugs yet Surely thats the only way forward




Nah, that just makes you *think* you've written a classic. Other stoners will, of course, agree but they won't actually give you money for it 'cos it "belongs to the world".

--------------------
Onward and outward


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Frisonic



Joined: 27/01/10
Posts: 3725
Loc: London, United Kingdom
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: siderealxxx]
      #896956 - 24/02/11 09:47 PM
Actually that's another private theory of mine regarding the song writing process (not recording or mixing). It might be that we all have a more open conduit to our various levels of consciousness, in other words our thoughts, when we are in a transitional situation. Sure you can achieve that through narcotics, depressants and stimulants, although its a bit of a cheat and will dull some of the other the senses needed to capture the moment. But you can also achieve it in other ways, say by traveling or being poor (perhaps why the struggling artist in the proverbial garret is renowned to be so productive? Being poor leaves you in a perpetual state of transition). Somebody else suggested earlier reading a book that captures your imagination can be a good way to open your mind again. There must be loads of others. I once read that Joan Armartrading used to like writing in airport departure lounges. I have no idea if that's true but I've always liked to think so. Personally I like writing at sea, because I have spent a bit of time bobbing about on oceans and find the open horizons and rhythm of the wave sets combined with repetitive tasks a particularly fertile environment. I don't even need a guitar to do it if there is enough natural rhythm going on, I can just write the melody line and grab some key phrases in my head out there. I also have a favorite old song that I wrote some years ago whilst on a train. This was back in the day before modern high speed rail when they went 'clickerty clack'. You get the idea! The one place I find writing almost impossible is sitting in front of my DAW, and I've even tried those cheating methods...

--------------------
Strictly project and just for fun


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Soundseed
new member


Joined: 22/04/03
Posts: 412
Loc: Glasgow
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: Oli_F]
      #936066 - 23/08/11 09:01 AM
+1 on deadlines.

And not just for the stimulus to get writing/recording, but also the closure - finish it, no scope to dwell, move on to the next thing. If you play live, as Oli said, a gig, or if its just studio project, book a mastering session and pay a big enough deposit that you won't miss it. Or make songs as presents - birthdays, anniversaries, xmas, valentine's day, mother's/father's day etc... or is there any part of your day job that might benefit from music? Corporate video, website... There are lots of reasons to make music, and if the process in itself no longer motivates you, then find something that does from which music is the outcome.

---------------------------
http://soundcloud.com/piet-haag


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onesecondglance



Joined: 02/01/08
Posts: 2140
Loc: Reading, UK
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: WiredUp]
      #936098 - 23/08/11 11:48 AM
another thing to try is using a different format. if you mainly write songs, how about trying to do some music to picture? or setting a poem to music?

in the collective i'm part of (doubledotdash!?) we've been each doing 30min EPs of continuous music. for song-based composers like me it's a big challenge to work in such a different format and it's really inspiring.

--------------------
hourglass | random thoughts | doubledotdash!? collective


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Knut Skaarberg



Joined: 04/06/08
Posts: 31
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: onesecondglance]
      #936198 - 23/08/11 08:21 PM
Set limits and boundaries. For example:

Write a verse with just one chord, or maybe just a pedal note
Write a melody line that supports a open voicing (no major/minor 3rds)
Write a chorus with rhythm based on a clave from a kid's rhyme (they're often borderline annoying, but very catchy)

Try to remove focus from the gear. RedOne (I know not all readers like top 40 stuff, but still...) is just using a macbook and logic. No extra plugins, no outboard, etc. and is having his most productive and successful period.

--------------------
All the best,
Knut Skaarberg


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spiderfingers



Joined: 25/08/11
Posts: 1
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: WiredUp]
      #936659 - 25/08/11 05:01 PM
What always works for me is listening to music that inspires you, but that either you haven't listened to before or you haven't listened to in a long time. The secret is figuring out what they did to accomplish what it is you like about it. Then, don't just copy what they did, but try and get into the realm of what probably made them make those choices and go with it. It's fine to feed off of others' ideas in order to find your own way

--------------------
http://www.mediacuremusic.com


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sthum



Joined: 05/06/08
Posts: 247
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: WiredUp]
      #942376 - 21/09/11 02:20 PM
.


Just sent you a private message WiredUp.



Sthum.....



.


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Nightredt



Joined: 17/09/11
Posts: 15
Loc: London, UK
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: WiredUp]
      #942472 - 21/09/11 11:04 PM
Hey,

Well, I'm quite younger than you, but I can tell you I have periods like these myself, but they usually take a week or so where I just can't write music, I cannot jump outside of my own frame. But going through these periods I learnt, that it's only your brain that handicaps you from writing good music (or any at all). Therefore you have to stimulate your brain, give it some food. This can be in a form of an adventure, a trip somewhere, going to a gig or even finding listening to a really good band, also reading books, visiting art galleries and stuff likes this. But you can't force yourself, you have to do it willingly. It all sounds very obvious, but there's nothing complicated to this issue. Someone mentioned before me, doing an arrangment for a cover is a good start! Look for inspiration. Sex helps:)) Good luck.

--------------------
www.facebook.com/nightredmetal


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Raphbass



Joined: 30/12/06
Posts: 289
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: WiredUp]
      #942574 - 22/09/11 02:09 PM
There isn't a single approach that covers it:

You sometimes have to practise writing just as you practise playing. If you're really not in the mood then forget it, but it's worth getting on with it all those times when you're not really brimming with ideas but can still make yourself sit and come up with something.

Listening to stuff you like for inspiration is good, but as mentioned above you have to separate the motivation of the music from the style and "language" of it - so your stuff doesn't become a pastiche of old stuff that's already happened. Sadly that's one of my great failings - everything I write sounds like something that's already happened!

Start with a thought or a feeling and express it - pick on a really bad day in your life, or a really brilliant one, and play/write to express it. Something that is a common experience perhaps - the feeling of missing the bus to the date/gig/opportunity that would have changed your life. I recently wrote a big band piece inspired by the day I realized a girl I had a crush on was a total waste of time, a vacuous airhead and not my type at all, I'd been striving at an illusion - the teenage depression that followed inspired a piece 30 years later.

Sometimes you can discover a riff/tune/line by randomness - in workshops with kids if I'm stuck for ideas I'll pick a phone number and turn it into a tune. Sounds stupid but you can ditch it if it's rubbish and try another phone number, sooner rather than later a good tune comes out - stick with it, modify it maybe, harmonise it, see what words it'll fit with.

Same with words, sometimes something trivial can start you off, e.g. a receptionist saying "I'll put you on hold" can trigger the feeling that your whole life's on hold, which in turn could motivate a song - that sort of thing goes on around you all the time, it's actually irrelevant but you can use these false connections to inspire writing.

There's lots of disagreement about whether knowledge of theory helps or not - if it makes you play "like everyone else" then it must be that you never had anything to say in the first place, and it's your choice whether that's better or worse than just playing random. I don't think it makes you more creative but it makes you more able to craft an idea once you've thought of it. Remember it's not about playing/writing "correctly", it's knowing to some extent in advance what will give a certain effect - e.g. where you use majors or minors, how far from the original key you go, what effect augmented/diminished chords will have at strategic moments in a song, or if the lyrics have a particular line with an unexpected twist you may want to colour that with harmony that reflects the meaning of the words at that point, even if the rest of the time the song's a 3-chord wonder.

Contrasts - complex/simple, loud/soft, busy/sparse, mellow/intense... these are usually attributes you add when you've already got the notes, but actually it can work the other way round, they can inspire the notes at the beginning when you've still got a blank sheet.

As mentioned above - don't wait for the innate genius to spontaneously push out that inspired gem - it can happen but you might wait a lifetime or two. Lower the standards, produce stuff, you don't have to play it to anyone, just keep stuff coming out. Repeat things that work, change them slightly.

Lose the fave bit in a song just to check it without - the bit that makes you go "phwoar that's good!" - it sorts out your motivation for it being there. Often the best bit isn't the one with the wow factor, and wow factor can mask tthe integrity of a composition. I've occasionally started a piece on the basis of wanting to use a certain riff, eventually the piece picks up its own momentum and in the end the original riff is irrelevant, the piece is ten times better without it. But it can take a huge mental about-turn to accept that.

Two great ideas in the same song - if they don't fit too well together, split it into two songs. Two songs too similar? See if you can join them into one.

Establish what kind of writer/composer you are - progressive and wacky or do you just use the same chords/rhythms as everybody around you? There's no glory or shame in either of those but it's useful to know where your strengths are. You can still always explore the other side!

To explain that a bit more - I've had to admit that I'm not in the avant-guard, e.g. whatever I write, someone listening can always pigeon-hole it and say it's "jazz" or "rock" or "folk" or "hot-club" or "bebop" - One piece I wrote as a joke fooled some musicians who thought it was by G.F.Handel - asking which aria I was quoting. I do really good pastiches but sadly the only personal stamp I can put on my stuff is the unusual mixes of pre-existing styles of music, e.g. a piece of mine has Arab oud playing a Irish-sounding reel but Egyptian-style, with pomp-rock power chords and hammond going on behind it, or a fugue with church organ and hammond having a sort of duel... these are all recognisable pinpointable styles of music, I'm not trying to create a whole new soundscape - my thing seems to be mixing ones that already exist.

Put stuff aside, go back to it months later so you're hearing it without the preconceptions on which you based the writing.

You mentioned "such a mountain" - break it up into chunks. Whether it's words then melody then harmony, or a section then another, leave things to stew and come back to them.

None of the above is preaching from on high, I have the same problems as you. I write stuff but that's not my living, I just occasionally write and it's usually instrumental or for other people's words, and I have all the same failings mentioned above.


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Oli_F



Joined: 01/09/04
Posts: 659
Loc: London
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: Raphbass]
      #942577 - 22/09/11 02:19 PM
All interesting thoughts, and like Raphbass says, there no one thing that covers it all or one correct answer.

Personally I feel most creative when I know why I am actually writing something. Whether it's for an ad or because I want to get my band's latest album finished, there's a purpose to it. And even more importantly other people are relying on me to do it (the usefulness of externally imposed deadlines!)

Whenever I'm between projects and have no particular reason to write anything, any attempts to organise notes into a pleasing order sound as aimless as I happen to be feeling at that time.

This may not be true of everyone of course. I believe Mozart claimed that he could 'write music as easily as a sow pisses'. (Which is charming!)

But for me... no reason to write: no music comes out!


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turbodave



Joined: 25/04/08
Posts: 2373
Loc: derbyshire uk
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: WiredUp]
      #942630 - 22/09/11 08:02 PM
Thats it! Find a focus (not the car)...look for a musical direction or lyrical direction. If you find something to be passionate about then a one chord trick will do if it has meaning. Alternatively do what i am doing , that is to say make music so repetitive that you hypnotise yourself and others into believing you are better than you are. Dave

--------------------
My head hurts!


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Debbie P



Joined: 28/10/04
Posts: 148
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: Jonny DiBergi]
      #949420 - 26/10/11 10:05 AM
Quote Jonny DiBergi:

We can dress it up however we like and blame technology, lack of time, our age, previous failures, and so on and so on. You can tell yourself that some mystical magical intangible "something" has somehow left you, but it's not the case.

It comes down to DISCIPLINE. Creativity is a result of work put in, it's really simple. Sometimes people need a break, but unless you've really been writing solidly for a long time without a break that probably isn't the case.

I would put aside 20 minutes and watch this lecture. http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html

It's pretty well-known and by a writer who talks about... oh just watch it, you'll get something from it... and if you can't be arsed to watch it, then you probably can't be arsed to work your way out of your slump!

This is all good news though - means it's controllable by you!

IMHO of course.




Gosh, that's the best thing I've seen in ages! Thank you for that.

Debbie


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tacitus



Joined: 04/02/08
Posts: 951
Re: Can't write music anymore :( new [Re: WiredUp]
      #949949 - 28/10/11 09:25 AM
I was always taught to 'learn the craft to foster the art' and I think that sums it up fairly well. Be there. Do it. Fix the problems. Do it again ... Remember Einstein's famous quote: 'Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results'. If it's not working for you you either need to improve your technique - 'learning the craft' - or you need to be doing it differently.

If you don't have the craft to the degree required for your project, it's going to be like the monkeys typing in the hope of producing Hamlet. With technique, the result could be sterile, but without it the result may never occur.

I've had barren spells and I'm not super-productive because I do lots of other stuff. Having kids late in life has imposed a temporary cessation of hostilities with my muse, but battle will recommence soon. I expect to 'write through the shite' for a while until my technique comes back and I can do musically what my intellect tells me should be possible. In the meantime I'm doing arrangements and other 'less creative' stuff so I don't forget how to use Sibelius or lose my 'ear'.


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