3 Ways to Effectively Capture Your Musical Ideas

We’ve all had the experience of finding ourselves humming an amazing melody while in the shower, or hearing an entire symphonic opus of exquisitely orchestrated strings, or being struck with the divine blueprint of a new epic pad synth instrument, only to become void of the gifts because you didn’t get out of the shower fast enough, couldn’t find a pen in time, thought a few seconds too long about how you’re going to write your musical ideas down, or made the mistake of answering your friend’s text before you captured the idea.

Your musical ideas are the lifeblood to your music business. When you waste them, or don’t try your best to capture them, you are in essence throwing your money away. If a mixologist missed his liquor delivery, would he simply shrug it off, too bad, I’ll catch the next one? If a jewelry designer happened upon an opal mine, would they say “Too bad I don’t have my proper tools with me, I’m going to have to let this one go?”

Luckily, you are a musician. By definition, it’s second nature for you to develop good habits, because you’re familiar with the mechanism of practice. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Develop the habit of capture the idea before you lose it. Prioritize your musical idea and learn to say no to all distractions until you have captured it. If you think you’ve repeated it enough times to remember it, do not trust yourself. Inspiration often occurs in the same brainwave states as someone in a meditative state or someone about to fall asleep, when you are not in that brainwave state you could be throwing the key away.

2. Have an effective way to notate your musical ideas. This may be as simple as having staff paper handy, or using the alphabets to write down notes, or be as complex as inventing and developing your own symbols and glyphs, all depending on the musical ideas you hear and want to create.

3. Have an easy way to make voice memos / music memos. Humming your idea is the simplest way to capture a music idea, especially while you’re driving or in environments not friendly for the paper and pen such as a shower. Voice Memo app comes with every iPhone. Android users have to download an app, do it now so you will have it at the ready. Make sure you always have ample free storage space for that magnum opus.

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