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Peak of Creativity?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by deepBassie, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. Is it more difficult for you to create quality songs then it used to be? Does it seem your "well of creativity" has started to dry up? Was there a time that you noticed that, despite all of your musical experiences and influences, the songs that you create simply do not hold par with your existing body of work? It seems that our ability to play the instrument doesn't peak until we are physically unable to keep up. However, it does not seem that our ability to become better song writers follows the same curve.

    So I'm interested in hearing your thoughts about when it happened for you, why this happened to you, and how you have tried to overcome this.
  2. bunkaroo


    Apr 25, 2003
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    I've been writing songs since I started playing in bands 25 years ago (I'm 38 now). I think there are things I'm better at now and things I was better at then.

    For example, now I am a much better lyricist, and I tend to consider the whole song a lot more and having a theme whether it's lyrical or a melodic theme. At earlier ages I would just keep writing "the next section". Still, I am actively developing songs I started in some form 15 years ago, so I feel like I've been writing fairly decent quality music for a while now. When I was younger was less concerned with what fits and just put stuff together. Some of it was inspired; other pieces were scrapped soon after.

    I think one of the biggest things to watch out for is becoming too formulaic or predictable. I think one can have a signature songwriting style without sounding like you're writing the same song over and over.

    I am also a big advocate of using different keys for different songs to keep a collection of songs more "colorful". Nothing is more boring sounding to me than a collection of 12 songs all based in drop D. So I experiment with riffs and chord progressions using capos and alternate tunings on guitar. This can really add some freshness to that same old lick you've been kicking around forever.

    The one thing I have noticed is my lyrics were a lot more optimistic when I was in my late teens/early 20's. Now, they're a lot more melancholy. That's life for ya. :)
  3. Awesome that you can pick it up and still have a connection with the "younger you".

    I hear you. Avoiding the "same sound" rut can be difficult. I wonder if this is why some bands put out one, maybe two, really good albums before things become a bit vanilla.

    Do you ever change your licks to suit the style of a bandmate? Or do you find that the song is played significantly different when working with another band?

    Yeah, I find my lyrics are either super depressing or ultra happy these days. They were reliably in the middle back when I was writing in my 20's (in my 40's now). Thanks Bunkaroo.
  4. When I feel like my well of creativity is drying up, and it does, I try to learn some songs and techniques that are outside my comfort zone/musical taste. I find that injecting new ideas into my old routines will cause spontaneous creativity.

    If I feel like I or my band is stuck on a specific song, we will try playing it in a completely different style. Sometimes just changing the feel of the tune is enough to spark a wildfire of creativity.
  5. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    I find that I have streamlined my song writing I am more likely to buy a beat or buy a lyric where before my ego would never allow it and in today's Pop Music artists rely on this form of song writing to get tracks done as quickly as possible. I have hundreds of songs that still aren't finished because I couldn't find a lyric or a bridge etc so I'm going back thru them to see what other people can add to make them complete.
  6. bunkaroo


    Apr 25, 2003
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    I do tend to write for the band I'm in when I'm in one, but that doesn't keep me from writing stuff that wouldn't fit the band. I have enough varying influences that there's no way everything I write would fit for one band.
  7. Oneirogenic


    Nov 10, 2009
    I don't run out of creativity it just changes. I write music these days that often eschews structure, time signature, and preconceived ideas. I focus heavily on mood, ambience, texture, slow development of a singular theme, improvisation, and capturing performances. I just write music that fits what I want to explore at a particular time and I don't set limits on what I will write. I just happen to be favoring experimental ambient music because it's so different from my pop/rock band which I typically don't contribute much songwriting too. I've been working on a number of guitar pieces for years. My creativity changes and evolves much like the person it comes from and is very multi faceted. I can't say one period is better than any other but someone analyzing my work might think differently.
  8. Peace Cee

    Peace Cee

    Feb 9, 2011
    I think that it is called "beginners mind". (This is a metaphor of course.) I find that the songs that I used to create (I'm more of a producer who employs the art of songwriting as a means to an end because I'm always thinking of the end result {through to the mastering phase}) were more raw. I just wanted to get them out; I had so many ideas. As my knowledge of music grew, It became harder to stay fresh because I was more aware of the "rules". Now I try to get back to those raw days armed with the knowledge of convention, with an eye toward groundbreakingness:eyebrow:

  9. Not at all. I really started to get into song writing, learning theory and such about 3-4 years ago, and I'm 38. Every week, I still learn new things. My songwriting, playing, and creativity have never been stronger or healthier then now!

    I think there are plenty of players that just sort of "loose it" with age. It's tough to be driven and really push yourself in music if you either haven't really seen success like you've wanted, or you're at a really comfortable place where.

    Also, really talented, creative people can sustain a lifetime of creativity. Others who aren't as prolific just can't sustain as long of a career past that one, first good album.
  10. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I don't know if I'm a particularly creative musician, but I have a creative day job, and I don't think that I've lost creativity over the course of my career. There are things that I do better now and things that I do worse.
  11. In terms of song writing, I've been consistent over the last 30 years - it's all crap. :atoz:
  12. Mixing it up and moving in new directions seems to be a generally accepted approach to sparking creativity. I wonder how a band that makes their living off of a specific sound can mix in new material without alienating their fans or being perceived as "selling out".
  13. Interesting approach. Sort of like you have a library of "plug and play" song bits that you can mix and match. How do you keep track of all these pieces (e.g., recordings, sheet music, in your head)?
  14. If you were to step back and try to make an impartial observation of your body of work (I know, very difficult to do), do you find a common theme/sound/thread that prevails throughout your musical evolutions?
  15. Aha! Could it be that you are familiar with the works of Shunryu Suzuki?
  16. This is good to know. When I was younger, I played bass but my creative outlet was focused mainly on writing (lyrics, poems, stories, etc) and drawing/painting. I look back at my work and wonder if I could do the same today. There was an innocence and open-mindedness that seems to have contributed to some really "fresh" ideas that I don't think would be present if I were to attempt the same today. That being said, it's now 20 years later and I'm not the same person so it would be silly to try.
  17. Do you find that your creativiity at work is defined/regulated by company policy? In other words, you can create any way you want as long as it "follows the rules". If so, are you ok with this since you still have a creative outlet? The musical parallel that I am trying to establish is how song writing may be regulated by the label you sign with (give me two albums filled with pop songs...and you have 18 months to do it!) and whether or not creativity can withstand such regulation.
  18. Rock on, brother. :bassist: Birds of a feather.
  19. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    The secret to creativity is to think about things in a way you've never thought of them before, then apply it.

    Beginners have more access to this because they don't really know how they are supposed to think.

    Music theory I believe, can become a mental crutch to those who don't already know how to think outside the box, or just "feel" it. And as we get older, we also tend to get stuck in our ways of doing things.

    As for myself, I'm always experimenting and trying to learn new things, new techniques, toying around with other instruments and trying to imagine new ways to think of music in a philosophical sense. So my creativity well is always overflowing.

    Now, If I could only find other musicians who understand my methods....
  20. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    My creativity has taken a frightening nosedive in the past ten years, but I don't believe that has anything to do with time or age. I believe we all grow creatively. I believe my best work is yet to come. I believe however that strange as it may seem, I have allowed money and technology to temporarily cripple me. When I had the simplest of recording setups, I knew it all inside out and produced tons of stuff. Now I have thousands and thousands of dollars worth of software and equipment, and I haven't learned how to use half of it. Much more thoughts on this, but I gotta run...