How To Write Music: How Training Your Brain's Automatic Filter Can Force You To Write A Masterpiece Every Time

When you first start learning how to write music, most things that you write are really not...all that excellent.

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And it's not because you are a terrible musician or anything, or that you don't have potential; it's all a matter of experience.

As you get more comfortable with your arrangements, you find that writing becomes easier and easier.

I was reminded of this when I started writing electronic music. Now I've been writing music for years, and have had great success in arranging complex, progressive pieces.

But when I had to switch my tools into something as...logistical as electronic music, I found that I felt like a beginner again. I was using tools I had never used before!

I was having trouble with simple arrangements, and making changes was discouraging.

In fact, sometimes I wouldn't even make a change because I knew it would be difficult to change using this new interface.

How To Write Music: A Goal Of Perfection

After a while, I found that it gets easier and easier to work with the arrangements.

As I get more and more comfortable with the tools, I find that I have much more control over what I'm writing and the sounds that I'm making.

How can you gain more control over what you write?

You have to go through a single song over and over and over, making tiny little changes everywhere (And this goes for all music, not just electronic music).

As you meticulously work on the songs, you find that you are more and more proud of what you wrote.

The key here is that you have to decide on perfection. You have to decide that you are going to make this 1 single song the best damn song you have written so far.

The reason that I say you should only work on 1 song, is because when you are working 2, 5, or more songs at a time, you can become distracted. You won't work through frustrations, because you will just jump to another song.

In the end you are more likely to end up with 10 "okay" songs, rather than 1 "amazing" one (and once you train your mind to write amazing songs, you'll have 100 amazing ones!)

You won't end up with this though...and that should be all the encouragement you need!

When you decide on perfection, it brings your mind into a heightened state of criticism, and makes you work really, really hard.

You have to work your freaking butt off to make just this single song sound great. And then these discouraging thoughts come into your mind:

"Am I going to have to work this bloody hard with every song? This is such a struggle!"

But don't listen to them! Because you are training your brain to automatically filter out things that sound bad.

When you are writing your first few songs, your brain isn't trained yet. So you have to manually go in, and start training it to only like things that sound really good.

This happens by being meticulous, and striving for perfection.

But there's a light side to this (Other than just creating amazing music)

How To Write Music: Building The Habit - It Gets Easier!

After your first song or two, you find that writing music becomes much easier.

In fact, it can get to a point where it seems like second nature to you. You can hardly even believe that the music could be good if it's this easy to write.

But yet it is still really good. It's amazing music!

Congratulations, you've just matured as a musician!

This is what is necessary to become the musician you've always dreamed of: constant trimming and expansion to find perfection within your music.

It takes hard work, but in the end you become more mature, and you can write great songs in hours (that might have been impossible, or taken months to write before).

So what happens when you become that "mature" musician?...

How To Write Music: Keep Raising Your Standards, And Your Brain Will Keep Filtering Out The Garbage!

...You raise your standards of perfection again! You experiment and try something new!

If you just settle in to this "new you", then you will soon become dissatisfied with what you are writing. You have to continually move forward!

It requires a constant attention and discipline to keep growing, otherwise you start moving backwards, and you (and your fans) start to become dissatisfied with your work.

Keep moving forward, keep challenging yourself, and when you come up with a cool experimental idea to put into practice, do it!

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About The Writer

My name is Andrew Muller. I love creative art, music, television shows, movies, video games, and a good story.

If you had to find me somewhere, you would probably find me down at O'neils home cooking eating an organic sweet-potato bun breakfast sandwich with ham.

Among my friends, it's a "Muller Classic Move" to eat Mcdonald's at 2am because it's cheap and open 24/7. The joke here is that I'm an idiot. 

I play drums, guitar, piano, and I write & perform music for My Goal Is Telepathy. Take a listen to the latest sound here.