Thursday, March 4, 2010

The inspiration behind writing music: a beginner’s attempt

Please listen to the podcast below while reading this post. What you will hear, which is my third attempt at song writing, is far from good. I would like you to listen to it, however, to share what song writing has been like for me, a beginner.

From my experience, actually being able to write music is a completely different challenge than just simply being able to play music by reading sheet music. In my nine years of piano lessons, I never branched out to attempt to write my own songs. Doing so always seemed like a cool idea; I mean who doesn’t wish they could be in band jamming to their own music? I could never, however, bring myself to write songs, maybe because I was never sure how to go about it.

It was not until two years ago, in my freshman dorm that I tried writing my own music for the first time. Why did I decide to do this? The inspiration to write actually emerged from a relationship gone wrong. Emotions and stress seemed to be the driving force. From this, I discovered that much of what music writing is all about is expressing emotion through sounds other than human speech. Even though my song did not have lyrics, the combined sounds produced the feelings I wanted to express.

Writing the few songs that I did, served as an outlet to release what I was feeling rather than saying what was on my mind through words. I know all of this may sound cliché or “emo” like, but a main reason we listen to music is because we can relate to what the song expresses. Knowing this, we can conclude that the writer writes what they do because they know the audience can connect with it.

With out my need to release emotion, I don’t think I could have ever begun writing music. It was not any formal process, more so me just sitting at the piano randomly playing chords to try to piece together the sound I was reaching for. Eventually, when I would hear a measure I liked, I would repeat it again and again, and then continue on to slowly add the rest of the song to completion.

Nothing of what I have ever written is good enough to take seriously; however, my attempt has allowed me to see music in a new light.

I would like to hear your thoughts on how you go about writing music. What inspires you?



  1. I completely agree that the creation of music and art in general comes out of some sort of emotion. My inspiration to sing or play usually stems out of a need to relieve stress as well, but sometimes I just find myself in such a good mood that I decide to sing showtunes at the top of my lungs, and I think both those occasions are equally important to me as an outlet for self-expression.

    I really like your creation, and it was neat for me to be able to see firsthand your process of writing it, practicing it, tweaking it.

  2. I disagree, the songs you wrote freshman year were great!

    I tried to write a song once during high school. Like you, the driving force behind my attempt was a relationship gone wrong. It wasn't very good, but the only reason I gave up on it was because I forgot how to play it lol.

  3. That's really great that you are writing your own material now. While no one, aside from those involved in the creation of the song, will know exactly how much effort and time went into a finished song, you always will and that's something to be proud of. I think music will always be incredibly therapeutic; both for the listener and also the composer.

    I actually played in a little punk band in high school. We were callled The Obese Little Kitties (i know, i know....but, it was between that or His and Herpes) and we were terrible. All on songs were about very dumb things and the finished songs were wretched. We knew our songs were bad but the process of getting to that finished product was beautiful and that's what I really cherish from those days.

  4. Thanks for the positive feedback about my song.