10 Ways to Manage your Song Ideas
Have you ever wondered if you are making the best of your early song ideas? Are you using your time wisely and managing your ideas well?
The key message is to explore as many alternative ideas as possible and not to worry about finding the perfect song immediately.
So how can you understand your ideas quickly and get the most from them? We look at some ways of improving your workflow.
1. Don't Fall in love with your first idea
The great composer John Barry once said 'Don't fall in love with your first idea'. By this he meant: try to be objective about the music you are writing and keep attempting to create new ideas before deciding on the best one. Falling for the first one just because it sounds great to you, could be a mistake - it might not work or sound good to anyone else. It's easy to start fantasizing about how amazing your music is before you've really finished it.
2. If it's not working, ditch it
Please don't spend continuous hours on something that you just can't finish. Maybe there's another song idea that's better suited to your time, one that will produce a quicker outcome. You could end up wasting days and weeks on one average song when you could have produced several better ones in the same time frame. Remember, no-one out there is waiting for something average.
3. Think like a beginner (sometimes)
Explore your songs with a fresh pair of ears and don't let existing thoughts and experience cloud your exploration.
4. Liquify your ideas
Try not to set the structure of your song in stone too quickly. Your final goal maybe unclear at the start. Staying in a liquid state for longer can keep your creativity at a higher lever.
5. Fail quickly
Keep your ideas coming in at a fast rate and learn to recognise the bad ideas as soon as you can. That way you can discard them as soon as possible and move onto the next idea.
6. Keep track of your ideas
Save all your ideas, big and small. You might be able to use them later in other songs. Use your phone to record melodies, lyric ideas or themes and titles. Better still, save them all in your computer and keep a record of them with a spreasheet or document.
7. Refine your ideas from a rough starting point
Get your rough ideas down first and return to them the next day when you've had chance to to reflect. Use your experience and knowledge to refine what works and what doesn't.
8. Seek feedback early
Let people you trust know about your creations as soon as you can. They will help you in the refining process. Remember not to take the feedback to personally - it's all there to help you improve.
9. If you're not feeling great, come back another day
Some days are better than others. On the bad days, ideas often sound worse than they do on one of your good days. So don't dismiss them if something else in your life is giving you a hard time. Take a break and try again when you're feeling a little better.
10. Make your music clear to the listener
Don't regress into the world of vagueness. Make your lyrics or melody mean something tangible. Let them speak to your audience and give them chance to explore feelings that listeners can relate to.