How to Be a More Creative Musician: Ultimate Guide

Learn some essential tips on how to be more inspired as a musician…  

Sometimes no matter what we do, creativity just won’t come. Perhaps we’re tired or distracted by other concerns – or simply not feeling it. Whatever the reason, our music just doesn’t want to work for us. Any kind of block is feared by creatives but is par for the course and happens to the best of us. We can’t be doing our most satisfying work all the time.  

Still, despite acknowledging this, it can be frustrating to have creative issues. To help anyone out there struggling to find their musical mojo, we’ve put together this essential guide to help you rekindle the magic…

Make as much music as you can

It sounds obvious but the more creative you want to be, the more music you need to make and the more time you need to invest in practising your craft.  

By throwing yourself into your instrument, you’ll be getting tuned into how to get the most from it. You also need to avoid being too harsh on yourself if initially you’re unimpressed by the results. Practice makes perfect and making mistakes or persevering with certain, perhaps tricky, pieces of music is all part of the learning process. The journey and what you learn on the way is just as important as the final destination.  

Look to your heroes

From Kendrick Lamar to David Bowie via Amy Winehouse and Mary J Blige, we all have our own great inspirations and influences. If you are struggling to come up with an idea or song, then it can always reap dividends for you to look at how your favourite artists or musicians have done it. Immerse yourself in their world – listen to their records, read any interviews or books about them and learn all you can about their creative process. By digging in deep, you might find something that can trigger a wave of creativity. And it’s well worth finding out more about how they did it. After all, these are some of the most vital musical voices of our times… 

Be ready to embrace inspiration – whenever it might land

Ideas don’t always appear when you’re sitting at a piano or with a guitar. In fact, you might be on the way to work or taking a shower when inspiration hits. It means you need to have the means of recording or making notes to ensure you don’t miss out on what could be a key musical moment. This means it makes sense to always have a pen and notepad to hand. Alternatively, you can use voice notes or memos in your phone as a way of recording an idea. Ultimately, however you do it, you need to be prepared to act quickly so you don’t miss out on any moments of inspiration.  

Step away from your instrument 

If the creative juices aren’t flowing quite as you’d like, then taking some time out can be an effective way of recharging. Perhaps you’re struggling with a part or finishing a song. Rather than persisting, it can be more valuable for you to give yourself a break. Go for a walk, see a movie or hit the gym. If you’ve been too close to a project, then you might be in danger of suffocating your ideas before they’ve had a chance to shine. Therefore, taking some time out can be a great way of creatively rebooting… 

Look at creativity outside of music 

Many of us find inspiration outside of the world of music so don’t be afraid of looking at other art forms to spark your songs or performances. It could be a piece of art, a book, or even a TV show or podcast. Perhaps it might be a snatch of a conversation you hear on the bus or tube. Always be prepared to embrace an idea wherever it might come from. Remember, there are no rules on how to be creative and inspiration can sometimes strike from the most unlikely sources.  

Push yourself outside your comfort zone 

Many of us have our own favourite artists or genres of music. But if you’re accessing all your music on a streaming service or favourite playlist, then you could find yourself in a creative cul de sac, denied discovering anything fresh by the algorithm. So if you are facing a block, try and expose yourself to new bands or sonic styles. This could enable you to source novel ideas, emotions, or consider different ways of structuring your songs or productions. Don’t fear experiencing something new. Instead, try and embrace as many fresh sounds as possible and give yourself a wider creative palette to draw from.

Play with your peers

If you’re struggling to make sense of your music on your own, then why not try and connect with your fellow musicians. Sometimes, one of the best ways of progressing through a block is by collaborating. This can expose you to new ways of thinking, writing or playing and lead you down an exciting creative path. By meeting other artists or performers, you can discuss any issues you might be facing and share any tips around how to move past them.

Don’t fight it, feel it 

Making music should be fun – so if you’re feeling like you’re banging your head against a wall with your latest creative endeavours, it might be time to re-think. Rather than putting too much pressure on yourself to write the next big hit, try to focus on why you enjoy making music and create without worrying about the end project. It can be good for musicians and songwriters to experiment without any concerns on what the results might be. This can reduce any stress and give you the time to refocus on why you’re doing what you’re doing.