10 Tips on Composing Music

10 Tips on Composing Music

composing music studio
Writing songs is usually a personal process. What works for you may not work for others, which is why most composers write their song.  Writing songs is the process of discovering sound, melody, and lyrics that harmoniously complement each other. With this in mind, here are 10 tips on composing music:

1. Listen to random sounds

Aleatory music is an absurd composition form. The process involves listening to 5 songs all at once. Yes, it sounds ridiculous but this process has been used by Tom Waits himself. He would turn on 5 radios at the same time and listen to them all at once to try and capture the interesting overlaps.

Aleatory music takes certain parts of the composition and leaves it to chance. This works best for song inspiration. It is one of the best ways to get you started.

2. Set the mood

Stare into an aquarium, picture, painting, outside the window or any piece of art. Rip yourself out of the distractions of the modern world. In most cases it’s harder composing music your phone or computer is right next to you and a message pops up or an email comes in.

Some people start by meditating or using mindfulness techniques. Rock stars usually start by consuming a great deal of alcohol but that usually never gets some writing done. Take a shot or two just to get the dice rolling. When you are finally in the right mood, clear your mind and let all the creative juices flow.

3. Stop talking and listen

In a moment of silence, observe everything around you. Listening resets the brain. It helps you heighten your senses. This leads to rehashing deep memories and feelings that will have a clear path to the top of your mind. These are the kind of thoughts that make great songs, ones that are full of passion, emotion and spirituality.

4. Set a time limit

If you put too much time in composing music, you can end up second guessing everything. Whatever comes into your mind first, try to stick with it. Follow your instincts. Let it guide you.  Go with the flow. The moment you are able to write songs in a certain time frame, this will give you the capability of writing multiple songs in one sitting.

5. Go random

Make random beats and scribble notes. Misbehave. You don’t have to follow a certain structure or scale. Make experimental beats and pieces. Play it back and listen to happy accidents. You’ll never know what you are going to discover while playing with scales and notes.

6. Keep it simple

Write a few lyrics and get to the point. Keep your writing simple, it makes songs more relatable, engaging and catchy.  Tell a story. Tell an engaging story. Take listeners on a satisfying journey.

7. Keeping yourself limited

Limit yourself to a few instruments. It will give you a deeper understanding of the tools you work with. You get to play with it more and discover new sounds that you can use for your song.

8. Cut-up technique

This technique is used by Author William S. Burroughs. The concept has been proven to be effective for songwriting.

It starts with brainstorming, writing a bunch of words, it can also be chords, notes, melodies and pictures. Then cut them out and rearrange them into ideas. Invent a great sounding scale and choose the ones you think would fit into your idea.

9. Reward yourself when you’re finished

Give yourself something to work towards beyond the satisfaction of finishing a song. Buy yourself a new equipment or eat at your favorite restaurant, for every 5 songs you finish. It’s a great way to treat yourself.

10. Listen to Mozart

Studies found that listening to Mozart has a positive effect on one’s focus and concentration or spatial-temporal reasoning as they would coin it in scientific terms.

Recap: Composing Music

Songs don’t always flow and you might get stuck, which is also true when you want to learn to play drum. So think outside the box, get in touch with your best possible resource for writing songs, which is yourself. Take these 10 composing music tips and start writing your songs.

Darren Perkins
Red Drum Music Studios Website

photo courtesy of vandalenmusic

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