Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Simple Tricks to Polish Your Lyrics – Part 3: Using Rituals to Make Great Music

Some musicians found out that a particular order of events or sequence of circumstances can be purposefully manipulated in order to write great songs. They find participating in certain non-musical activities actually compel them to craft music. I'm not saying just any activity would do. For instance, some musicians and songwriters may realize taking a jog, bathing, and then watching television in that specific order drive them to creativity. Others, like Michael Jackson, may only feel comfortable writing music when their pet llama or pet donkey is in the same room with them. For you to be on your musical A-game, a ritual must occur in your day to trigger certain emotions, inciting you to grab a pen, paper, headphone, and possibly your crotch.


When I say "ritual," I'm not referring you to light candles around a pentagram. This is no séance. It's bad enough many of us already believe popular musicians joined the Illuminati. Your ritual should be a list of ordered activities carried out to induce musical inspiration.

Ask yourself this: "When was the last time I felt pretty good writing a song because the creativity kept coming to me?" After you remember that day, you must now remember what all took place that same day before you started writing. Be sure to write your answers down. Then think of another day when you were driven to write lyrics without being diseased with writer's block. Can you remember the events that occurred beforehand? Try to remember all of the days you performed well in generating a new song. Start documenting your everyday life. You will eventually notice a pattern leading to what works and doesn't work concerning the catalyst of your musical A-game.

As I said in Marijuana and Its Use for Creativity, some artists' ritual is to smoke to acheive creativity. And then there are Christian musicians and other singers with religious overtones who feel the need to say a prayer before they write or perform a song. These may be parts of a creative ritual, but I don't believe lone activities will spark craftsmanship. Again, the idea is for you to think back to all of the events that led up to the times you remember "being in the zone" jotting a new song. Smoking kush alone will not spark creativity, nor will the Holy Spirit because your faith in making great music is dead if you don't put in the work to hone your skills.

I found coming home from work in the morning and cleaning my office gave me energy to write lyrics. So what gives you energy? Remember to document what went on in your everyday life in order to see a pattern. Write everyday even if you don't plan on working on music for a particular day. Something that occurred two days ago in addition to what happened today may get your creative juices flowing. Commit to your newly discovered pattern whenever you need a personal push to write music.

Christopher Patton
Hot Bird Music

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This blog post appears on hotbirdmusic.com.

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