Inspiration tends to come along at in-opportune times. It can be any time of the day and because of that I always have a pen and paper handy. I often find myself jotting down ideas on Post-it Notes or anything I have around me at the time.
Ideas can come from anywhere, whether it's the reversing "beep" of a semi, or a bird flying by my head, listening to NPR, or even just the wind hitting me in the face as I walk down the street.
I tend to write lyrics first trying to keep to some sort of poetic form. Other times I write in free form pouring everything out of my head as fast as I can to get all of the ideas in there out onto the paper.
In terms of the music and melody itself, I find the best way to create them is by playing around with what I know already on the guitar. I make up new phrases in my mind, applying them to the fretboard, or the piano, using my knowledge of music theory to come up with chord progressions that emphasize a sweet spot in my voice.
I like playing around with time signatures as well and try to make them as unique as I possibly can. Utilizing unusual time signatures has always been a means for me to try and stand out and sound just a little different. It tends to create a tension and release sort of a feel in my creations.
There has never been one standard way in which I approach the creative process. It's something that everyone does differently and I'm always intrigued to hear how others find their inspiration.
How do you approach the creative process?
How a band comes up with the perfect band name has always been a bit of a mystery to me. Ever since I had the idea in my head to "build" a band and start playing music, thousands of ideas for band names have been flowing through my mind (and still do constantly) and not one has had the decency to stick around and make roots (until now).
Really, when you think about it, what makes a "perfect" band name? In the whole scheme of things, is it the most important aspect of your band? I would think it's not the most important aspect. To me (and most others I would assume), the most important thing would be the music itself or the message of the music.
In the time it took me to pull up Blogger to begin writing this article, I began to realize that a band name in the whole scheme of things makes no difference at all and is really only a label or identifier for you. It's the vision that draws people in, and the vision that makes someone want to listen to you and pay attention to what you're saying. It's the way you make the audience feel and the way the audience makes you feel that is what it's all about.
I've always been drawn to artists and musicians and authors and creators that have found a way to completely draw me in and gain 150% of my attention.
What draws you in? A name or a message?
What inspires our words to flow from our heads like a river flowing down a snow peaked mountain? It could start with a trickle and open up into a deluge of thoughts and feelings and emotions pouring out onto the paper.
Where does this come from? It could come from the faintest smell of a flower or food you used to love, or witnessing someone doing something profound or ordinary as you stroll through the park.
From time to time a memory will pop into my head that inspires me to write write write and I don't want to do anything at all but pour it all out without stopping. That rush is so incredibly addicting and is more powerful then any drug or bottle.
Someone within earshot could say the simplest of things or the street musician I just passed by on my way to Starbucks could cause a chain reaction, striking a chord and causing an explosion of inspiration in my mind. Inspiration can come from anywhere, anyone.
What inspires you?
When I was recently asked by Derek Sivers "How do you grade yourself?" I wanted to do more then post a comment on Derek's blog post, I wanted to also ask the question myself and see what responses I would got. This is what I came up with.
I tend to do a lot of thinking, whether it's about the exciting (or sometimes unexciting) things I'll be doing during the day, or what goals I have set for myself to accomplish in the next minute/hour/day/week/year.
I find great joy in creating music and I grade my happiness by the quality and not necessarily the quantity of work I accomplish.
When I say work it could mean creating a new concept for some album cover art, or laying down a new track for a newly created tune, or remixing some previously recording material bringing it ever closer to a "final product" that I can be happy with and one that speaks to people. My ultimate goal is to create something that speaks to people, something that moves them and makes them feel the way I feel when something moves me. That feeling is indescribable and is what I crave every moment of my life. The more moved I am, the more I tend to be happy.
How do you grade yourself?
What moves you?
The Do It Yourself (Do It Myself) Musician of now has so many more options and loads and loads of opportunity waiting to knock on your door these days.
I've been thinking about how exciting it would be to do everything myself and the accomplishments (and some good ol' experience) I would have under my belt at the "end" and think that is worth every headache, every heartache, every splinter, every broken string, every soar throat, soar wrist, soar eyes and ears and is what I am doing right now.
I've been told that stating what you are doing and what your goals are tend to lead towards a lazy attitude in the end and tends to, whether subconscious or not, make people less apt to finish what they started. I truly believe that can be an accurate statement but I just wanted to fill you all in with what is on the horizon for me and Notes in the Sandbox.
I stumbled upon (thanks to Google Reader and more specifically this instructable) this great idea for the DIY musician. In my mind, this is brilliant! Absolutely BRILLIANT and I can't wait to show everyone what I've come up with. This is so exciting I can hardly contain myself. Thanks for listening!
If you want more NITS join our Street Team or let me know what you're thinking here.
Brian Theoret | Notes in the Sandbox
a collection of writing, reflection, inspiration...