Next time you find yourself in a state of "writer's block," try playing real instruments!
In today's musical landscape, having gear that is affordable and powerful has become commonplace. No longer do producers have to go to a fancy studio and pay to use their services. With the advent of mobile music production and affordable music software, making music has never been easier. In a climate where there's easy access to creating music, sometimes the traditional music making methods fall to the way side. Why pick up a guitar when you can just fire up the laptop?
Unfortunately, there's times where all producers get what we call "writers block". Writer's block can come in many different forms. We may be stuck on an idea, entire part of a song or possibly can't think of anything to create at all. It'll strike when we least expect. So what's one way to combat writer's block? Well, it's easier than you think.
As I elaborated above, producers may be using their DAW and laptops too much in terms of the production process. Sometimes, the best ideas come from a rudimentary idea. Those ideas can be found when we pick up and instrument and just play. Many of us began our musical journey as musicians and as we get into producing, the latter tends to dominate our creative time.
If you are one of those producers, I have this to say to you. Grab that old instrument, create a routine and start playing. Whether it's 5 minutes or 5 hours, work that instrument into your daily routine.
Maybe playing an old song that you use to love could generate a new idea. Perhaps learning that exotic scale will spark something fresh. Regardless of what you play, just grab the instrument and play! I cannot tell you the number of times that I've been stuck on a track and reverted back to playing one of my guitars to help me overcome my mental block. Having a healthy balance of producing and still using your instrument for inspiration will pay dividends for your creative endeavors.
For those of you that got into producing without any musical experience, try learning an instrument! For a variety of reasons, learning a musical instrument can be an extremely beneficial skill to any producer out there. Whatever route you want to take for learning is up to you but I can't emphasize how helpful it is as a producer to actually have experience with an instrument. There are an infinite amount of resources out there to help you so when it comes to learning an instrument, don't make an excuse. Pick an instrument and go from there.
In conclusion, don't let writer's block get you down. If you've tried your other coping mechanisms and they don't help, go pick up that instrument and start having fun. At the end of the day, making music should be a fun process and whatever method you take to keep it fun, keep doing it. Just because we can use a computer to produce doesn't mean we should neglect that instrument we all got our start on.
photo credit: Collings Guitars