Eight Steps To Compose Music More Effectively

We’ve all been there.

Struggling to come up with a melody or working out that perfect ending for your song.

This is one of the most frustrating aspects of composing music, especially when you are working towards a deadline. This article contains a few suggestions on how to compose more effectively.

1) Don’t disregard your ideas too quickly

This happens all too often with composers and songwriters, who do not persevere with their ideas for long enough. If you start over too often, you will go round on circles and not get anywhere. This quote by one of the most famous inventors of all time is certainly very true when it comes to composing music.

“Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration”- Thomas Edison

Obviously there are occasions when you should start again, but only do this after exploring all the different ways of developing your ideas.

2) Write something every day

This follows on from the previous point in displaying perseverance as a songwriter. Unfortunately, you cannot assume you will write X number of bars each day. Composition does not work that way as you will have more productive days than others.

However, by doing just something each day, no matter how little, you will feel a sense of progress that will keep you motivated to finish your composition.

3) Go for a walk before you start composing

Rather than dive straight into your music making at the crack of dawn, go for a walk first. The extra oxygen from all the fresh air helps you focus better when you compose and you may come up with some interesting musical ideas or lyrics from just being inspired by nature and your surroundings.

4) Listen to your music with fresh ears

Take regular breaks when you compose as your ears get tired listening to the same repeated loops and musical ideas. Have you ever wondered why you create some music one day, and the next morning you sometimes feel deflated with what you hear? If you work for too long on the same passage of music, your ears learn to accept what they are hearing. This is especially true for mixing your tracks using music software.

5) Write out a structure

Planning a composition in advance really works wonders in certain situations. If you are writing some film music, it is essential to have a structure in mind in order for your music to fit the scene. However, it could be argued that planning too much can stifle true creativity. You should try composing both ways and see what works for you, but it generally helps to have a rough plan in mind when you write music.

6) Seek the advice of other musicians and friends

Often you need a second opinion on your work. If you hit a dead end with your composition, ask your friends to hear your music and ask their advice on what to do next. Even people you regard as non-musicians can often surprise you with their suggestions. Ensure you take any criticism constructively and ask what they like or don’t like about your music.

7) Write in a style you have never done before

This can really help to improve you as a musician and develop a real interest in composing. If you write hip-hop music, have a go at writing a jazz composition. If you compose film music, try your hand at creating a dubstep track. This may seem a bit off the wall, but it keeps you fresh as a composer and exposes you to new and interesting styles of music. Just spend time listening to new genres of music and go for it!

8) Learn from other composers, songwriters and producers

Figure out how your favourite musicians develop their ideas, as it will certainly help you create ideas yourself. You could visit their websites to see if they offer any advice on composing or producing.


Visit Martyn’s website http://make-music.net

This entry was posted in Artists in Residence, Martyn Croston. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Eight Steps To Compose Music More Effectively

  1. Your instructions are really good

  2. Very Very helpful instruction. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Yeah , no it seems to me that i can be a composer.

  4. Marcos Tawil says:

    Very good article, thank you!
    I’ve been using a stopwatch which sounds every hour. At the end of it, I take a break of 20 or 30 min and start again. My productions are complete in a week now, which is ok, I used to take a month. But still, sometimes I feel like I could complete them in one or two days or at least be much more productive. After 3 months, this routine has programed my brain, so mondays I feel useless ( I still do it ), tuesdays it’s starting to flow but I’m not very productive and wednesdays finally I have something good running. So it’s actually it’s 3 productive days.
    Any advices?

  5. hey there and thank you for your information – I have certainly picked up something new
    from right here. I did however expertise several technical issues using this site,
    as I experienced to reload the web site a lot of times previous
    to I could get it to load correctly. I had been wondering if your hosting is OK?
    Not that I’m complaining, but slow loading instances times will sometimes affect your placement in google and could damage your quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords. Well I am adding this RSS to my email and could look out for much more of your respective exciting content. Ensure that you update this again very soon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>