If you're a musician or composer, you may know that sometimes the most challenging part of writing music is coming up with new ideas. You might feel like you've hit a wall, and nothing you come up with seems good enough. But don't despair! There are rhythms everywhere if you just know where to look. Here are some tips to find inspiration for your next project.
Look for Rhythms in Everyday Life
Have you ever stopped to really take notice of the rhythms in everyday life? The subtle tap-tap-tapping of fingers on a keyboard, the slightly uneven humming of an engine as it carries you to your destination, the soft thud-thud-thudding of feet hitting the pavement – these are all rhythms that can be appreciated once we start to pay attention.
The key is patterns: everything and everyone has its own unique pattern, whether in nature or in our daily activities. If we open ourselves up to recognising and exploring the rhythms and patterns that surround us, our musical lives will become more fruitful and creative.
From searching for regularities among randomness such as weather changes, to deliberately inducing repetition in activities such as dancing – paying attention to rhythm helps us slow down, connect with ourselves, and find beauty in the present moment.
Listen to Music from Different Cultures
Music is a language we all speak, and it doesn't matter if you know how to read sheet music or not – you can still find new rhythms just by listening! If you're listening to the same songs and hearing the same rhythms, try exploring music from different cultures. In no time, you'll be dancing in a vintage Flamenco dress or softly absorbing traditional Taiko drumming.
By venturing beyond the music of our own cultures, we open ourselves up to new rhythms, sound-worlds, and unique instrumentation – it's like taking a worldwide rhythm journey! Plus, exposing ourselves to diverse forms of artistic expression can be incredibly inspiring for musicians of any background.
Whether it's French Pop or Congolese Funk that grabs your ears, take the opportunity to explore outside the ordinary and get grooving with global rhythms!
Experiment with Homemade Instruments
Music can transport us into a parallel world filled with vibrant colours and emotional nuances. For aspiring musicians (and experienced ones!), one of the best ways to explore new sounds is by experimenting with making your own rhythms on homemade instruments.
From pots and pans to up-cycled water bottles, there's no shortage of material to use as instruments. But don't stop there! You can even find unique vintage items that make for great instruments at thrift stores or flea markets. Let your intuition guide the way and have fun while making music!
Improvise Rhythms to Create Your Own Sound
Music can be incredibly fun and therapeutic, even without formal training. All it takes is a little creativity, and you can begin to create your own sounds.
One way to get started is to experiment with different rhythmic patterns by combining or breaking up your favourite melodies in unexpected ways. Suddenly sequences that might have once seemed predictable become intriguing and complex as your new rhythms introduce additional layers of fascination.
Getting in touch with your inner composer isn't just about playing the right notes – it's also about finding the rhythm that works for you. By attuning yourself to the rhythms around you and experimenting with your own, you can develop a keener sense of musicality that will help to create any sound imaginable.
So get out there and start tapping into your groove – who knows what kind of music you might make!