We’ve officially reached the time of year when everyone begins to wonder where, exactly, the time has gone. Someone blinked and suddenly, 2019 is almost over. With less than six months left to achieve all of those resolutions you made (and promptly ignored) at the beginning of the year, it’s safe to say you’re probably panicking right now. Motivation is waning, tasks are left unfinished, and those goals that seemed so within reach all those months ago are now overwhelmingly distant. It’s time to get back on track.
As a musician, there’s a healthy chance you frequently set a long list of goals. There’s also a good chance there are still a lot to be crossed off the list. There’s always something more to strive for, but sometimes getting there can be a challenge. If you’re in a musical slump and need a renewed sense of purpose, here are some foolproof options to kickstart that inspiration again.
Turn around, look at what you see
Surrounding yourself with driven people is a healthy choice for anyone and is especially true for musicians. When you’re pursuing an art that is so self-motivated, it’s super important to be exposed to the kind of musicians you want to be. That being said, don’t drop your mates if they’re also in a bit of slump. Instead, expand your horizons and recognise local acts who are doing great things. Reach out to them and pick their brains. Chances are they’ll be happy to share some advice – just remember to offer the same favour to others who are struggling when the positions are reversed.
Think outside the box
Finding inspiration in music shouldn’t be solely limited to music itself. If you’ve exhausted all options within your chosen industry, look elsewhere. Listen to a podcast that’s slowly gaining an audience and learn how to build your own. Read a script to see how a screenwriter uses their craft to tell a story and apply it to songwriting. Watch any documentary to get a sense of the work involved in success. Take things to another extreme by finding inspiration in an array of contrasting mediums and continue to seek influence in the unexpected. You’ll be thankful for it.
Stuck in a rut of listening to the same three songs on repeat? We’ve all been there. While it can be useful to return to your favourite playlist for some much-needed inspiration, kicking things up a notch requires stepping out of your comfort zone. If you’re a diehard metalhead, why not try out some of the classical music that inspires your heroes? Keen on a bit of rock and roll? Shake things up with the new wave of retro artists whose reinterpretations of a timeless genre will reinvigorate your creativity. One of the least advisable things you can do as a musician is be narrow-minded about your music. Having a particular genre you’re passionate about is fantastic, but having the desire to see what else is out there is what’s going to give you the greatest inspiration.
Take a trip down memory lane
Winding back the clock to another point in music history is a sure-fire way to stir up new motivation. Take classical music, for example. With practically nothing except an instrument and a knack for notation, these legendary composers created some of the most beautiful art this world is ever likely to see. Their work is the inspiration of countless musicians, both during their time and ours, and continues to well and truly stand the test of time. For musicians looking to gain some more knowledge of music theory and composition practices, broadening your listening habits to another era could be the best decision you ever make.
What you see is what you get
Struggling to find inspiration in conventional ways? It might be time to take a closer look at the ever-present phenomenon that is popular culture. Next time you’re binge-watching a Netflix series or diving into one of your favourite films, take note of the little things. Maybe there’s something about the soundtrack that can spark an idea or perhaps motivation can be found elsewhere in the on-screen world. Whatever the case, there’s no reason the tools that create the story you’re watching can’t be transferred to the new track you’re working on. Whether you’re finding inspiration from the plot itself or the song that was a perfect choice for that one scene, make your television consumption work for you. Two birds, one stone.
Channel your heroes
If you find yourself returning to the same select group of artists for the thousandth time but you’re not gaining anything new from the act, it might be time to take a new approach. Take the band you’re obsessed with and find out who they’re obsessed with. Download their entire discography and pinpoint the elements that are shared between both acts. Once you’ve found the similarities, move on to what’s different between the two. Inspiration is in the detail, and you’ll find a lot more of it if you listen closely. Listen to your heroes, listen to their heroes, and listen to the musicians who inspired them all. You’ll be itching to get back into the studio in no time.