Musical Creativity Exercise #2: Screw Serious - Set A Timer And Fiddle

Fiddling around is how most music is written. Many musicians who have one big success can find it difficult to write more music, because now things are “serious” and there’s no time to fiddle and noodle around with music.

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Music becomes a serious business.

Getting away from that seriousness is important to coming up with really creative ideas; you need to give yourself the permission to do something completely stupid.

A good way to defeat seriousness is to set an egg timer (or maybe just the timer on your phone) for 20 minutes and fiddle around. Here are the rules:

  • start out by playing something totally stupid to unjumble your creative brain. You can move towards things you like more after 30-60 seconds of silliness. For the rest of the 20 minutes...
  • no writing it down - in this way your creative process won’t be interrupted at any time and you can get deeper into having fun and doing stupid stuff; a very conducive environment for writing something great.
  • feel free to record yourself - if you’re working in MIDI, just set your DAW to record and go. If you’re playing the guitar or another instrument, turn on your iPhone’s recording feature. You can go through the ideas later and keep the ones you like.

Go out and do it now. I know you might not feel particularly motivated to play music right now, but if you just get started the time will fly by pretty quickly. By starting right away, you’re going to end up with at least 1 or 2 solid ideas that will turn into songs.

Don’t you want some new songs in your repertoire? 

If you end up recording yourself, know that you’re going to have to sift through a bunch of crap. But if you use a good sifting pan (your destructive mind), you should be able to find the few gold nuggets in there.

How did this exercise work for you? Did you get any “golden nuggets” out of it? Share in the comments below.

More Creativity Exercises:

  1. Encapsulate yourself with imagery and atmosphere
  2. Screw serious - set and timer and fiddle

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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.