Inspiration Is All Around Us
Posted by: david at 10:50 pm on August 14th, 2016
One of the greatest things a musician can do is to compose music of their own. I have done this in many different forms since I was very young. For me, it started off as an assignment in middle school general music class. My simple piano composition consisted of a simple riff based on the blues scale.
From there I went on to writing songs for guitar and saxophone. While in high school I recorded many of these on a multi-track cassette player. As I become more involved in jazz, my compositions took a new direction and in college I was exclusively composing jazz melodies on the saxophone.
As the years rolled on I became less involved in jazz and more in popular styles of music such as Blues, Rock and Roll, and Country. The focus of these styles is largely on lyrics and melody. As an instrumentalist, I never really paid much attention to lyrics when I was younger.
Eventually the influence of these songs changed how I thought about the music I listened to. I soon began to pay attention to lyrics and the way that they complemented the supporting music. I even began to write my own songs.
Becoming a songwriter was something that I had wanted to do for a long time. However, there was a major roadblock that prevented me for many years. My stumbling block was the idea that I could only write about things I had experienced myself.
Then one day while having a chat conversation with a friend when I wrote something that sounded like a good lyric. This person’s response was also very profoundly song-like. We continued on conversing like this for several minutes and I was truly inspired. In fact, this very conversation was the basis for my very first set of song lyrics.
The lesson I learned here was that you can take inspiration for a song from anything or anyone. The lyrics I had come up with were not based on my own personal experience. Rather it was based on someone else's experience.
Sometimes you can take bits and pieces of reality and pepper them with fiction to create your story. In this day and age of social media there is no shortage of people sharing their personal stories with the world. What is most important is that the feeling is real, which is what allows the listener to identify and connect with your work.
You can find inspiration for composing instrumental music in the world around us. Many composers and improviser have been inspired by the beautiful songs of birds. Music is all around us and we don’t even know it. Have you ever listened to the rhythm of the gas pumps when you are filling up your car? The sources for musical inspiration in our lives are endless. All you have to do is listen for them and channel them into you own music.
If you have any questions or would like to sign up for private lessons contact The Marion Music Academy at 319-377-3343.
A graduate of Luther College, David Arnold has been providing high quality private music lessons to students of all ages for over 15 years. His specialties include saxophone, guitar, and bass guitar. Drawing upon his diverse musical background, David provides a unique experience that merges his formal training in music with his professional performance experiences. Students will learn to be confident, well rounded musicians that are capable of performing in a wide array of musical settings.