[ Tips & Tricks ] Unleashed Creativity : Get back inspiration

Unleashed Creativity

Overcoming the blank page, finding inspiration

I think it’s a good subject, ideally it should be a collection of Elektronauts tips for regain Creativity, Inspiration and make something on an unfavorable day. Some of you might give up and postpone to a more favorable day.

So to help newbies or maybe some of us looking for new ways…, we probably have idea and different way of unlocking ourselves from these periods of vacuum or nothing come in mind in front of our Gears or Computer.

  • Please right your tips as bullet list or ordered list.
  • Go to the basics in your advices, so this Thread will be will be nice to read.
  • You can give any recommendations : website, app, method, idea, action, exercice
  • Take time eventually to make a better post by preparing it on a piece of paper or a text editor

Maybe use the HTML5 tags Details and Summary when replying to someone or commenting another member post to keep things clean. (it’s a suggestion not an order)
You can find it there :

Aside comments

@William_WiLD yeah i also like to go outside with my gear, in a peace and chill place… with something to drink, by viewing the landscape around things coming at some point

NB : I’m in the process to collect my tips, organize it and i will post it here later this day. But all Elektronauts can start thinking and publishing when they are ready to publish something well written


So here we go that’s my Tips :

  • Listening and analyse Piece of Music you like (just released or not.) There’s always something you will learn. Also that’s a good habit we start and at some point we drop this… Try to never stop to analyse, each time you notice a track-song, because if it have a positive effect on you rather the other track there must be something inside to learn. Keep those Skeleton and use it for your own track :wink:

  • Try when you analyse a piece of music to find variations, sometimes when you listening a track… some complimentary melodies coming in mind. Write it, keep those ideas somewhere. (Ableton project, midi files, whatever)

  • Learn new skills ! That’s important we learn everyday. But you can plan your time and organize yourself like a student. (depend of your free time of course, some of us have a job and a family, and then it’s more difficult to organize themselves this way) Pay attention from who you learn. Free content, paid content. You can get Free month Trial from Groove3, AskVideo, SonicAcademy, Lynda… and others. They give « how to use Software Course » but not only !

  • Commercial Packs : I’m not a big fan of it, but regarding inspiration… sometimes it’s work. Midi files, presets, sample packs… I’m not encourage people to warez stuff. But sometimes i download things, i listening it and if i think the stuff can be a value i buy it. Sometimes i make track with it, i keep somewhere i use things and from what pack. And i it’s a release i buy it to get the rights to use it. Be careful not to fall into the sickness of downloading everything that does not help. There’s also free content like http://www.freesound.org (feel free to give your bookmarks i will complete my post from time to time)

  • Know how to extricate ourself from its current working place : sometimes you bored by your place. Get out, go working outdoor or indoor but elsewhere. Maybe, take days off like small holiday for making music in another town or country.

  • Listening other music genre : I never listening only House or Techno. Quite the opposite in fact, and it’s an open minded thing… When you listening other music genre you less bored with your own music genre. Also, you will gives you fresh air. i think it’s very important.

  • Maybe try to make tracks-song in other music genre : Just for fun… it can be interesting and rewarding. Maybe you don’t know it but you will discover you better in another genre. Why not ?

  • Health/Mental issues : sometimes it’s relative to health or mental issues… You get tired easily or quickly, hurting your ears … sleeping is not enough. Get help and discover the real reasons

  • Regain the passion, the Fire of the Beginning : There’s few ways. STOP and come back month or years later. You can’t hurt yourself if you don’t want to make music. Sometimes it’s like that… The cup is full, ready to overflow. You have isolated yourself by working alone : get OUT ! Find young guys with sacred fire, collaborate with them. Meet musicians ask them or pay them to made parts on your music ! it’s a very good way to unlock you i promise ! Trust me on that at some point we get old and you know … :wink:

  • Watch Noah Pred : Harnessing CHAOS : Extend what he says… with all random tools or by hands to find happy accidents. You can find inspiration. (https://www.askvideo.com/course/dmm-noah-pred-harnessing-chaos)

  • Sound Design / FX chain & new technologies : There’s a lot here and it’s difficult to keep this as a one bullet. I find Reaktor, Max, Granular app-vst (Padshop Pro…Borderlands Granular, iDensity, iPulsaret), IRCAM tools, Izotope IRIS 2, Spectral technology, Sony Spectral Layers… there’s always new technology to open up things and get interesting results. It’s a matter of experiment and not lose yourself in only experiment. But it’s a good way to find fresh starting point. And sometimes, you will not get something then… it’s depend. But it’s valuable.

  • Never Delete something if you’re unhappy of your session : Keep everything in a folder called Sketch Ideas or something… sometimes you reopen ideas, few days or week later and you get something cool … Every hours spent to try something should be kept and not trashed.

  • Travel, Visit Museum, Go see Band or Artist in gigs even if you don’t know them : Record parts you like of the show, sometimes when coming back to your home you will switch on your gears and make something cool.

  • Sometimes you have side ideas like a short animation movie in your head where sounds in your head are character of the short animation story. Draw a storyboard of it and try convert pictures into sound/track then…

  • Experiment with Chords progression : Find some basics on scale and music harmony, apply those formula … and find interesting chord progression. Sometimes you will get somewhere from that.

  • Start in the middle : Forget Intro and Outro, and jump straight into whatever part you feel comfortable with. Come back to intro and outro later.

  • Use on some parts “chance” % parameter : it’s always good when you’re working on a track when things happening and you have no control of the triggering ! I really like Ableton Beat Repeat in that territory but i use it gently and it can be in a track very cool. There’s other tool with random and chance parameter. get the most of it … i find it working great on vocals, percussion, pads, string, textures… etc… not on main ideas.

  • Sport / Physical Activities is very important for health and head… go swim, running, even walk ! and take pictures, record noise on the go etc… make the most of these actions outside !


Don’t listen to anything for a week
Sometimes you get stuck in the same channels, wanting to hear the same things. It’s good to step away from music entirely for short durations. You might be surprised at what you are craving to hear after a week of no musical input.

Rebuild the foundation
If you’re stuck in a track, take the most grounding element (ie: all the drums) and completely replace them with something else, possibly something entirely different if you can.

Remove as much as you can (superfluous notes, drum hits, sounds) to see how far you can reduce without losing the essence. Use the extra space you just made to arrange what is left.

Sample yourself
Nothing sounds like you but you. If you work primarily with samples, try to sift though old recordings and pull bits and pieces of them as foundation for new recordings. Recycle, recycle. Be your own influence.


Once in a while work on a music style that you do not like / gives you hard time.
This will improve your technical skills & broaden your horizons at the same time.
At some point you will realize that there’s a lot of inspiration there and will give you access to a lot more ideas.


Know your gear

Try to know your musical instruments and gear to the level that you can work intuitively and your ideas can flow easily from your heart to the music.

Exercise, exercise, exercise …


just work, especially when you don’t “feel” like it. people seem to think that creativity is some magical cloud that sweeps over you arbitrarily, but that just isn’t the case. you need to sit down and just get to work and if you’re still not going anywhere after an hour, then you can crack a beer and quit for the day.


Funny - I just posted this on Facebook when, last week, I was finally able to get back to work after end of the school year (I’m a teacher, so it’s a tough stretch), trip planning, house buying, trip, moving, etc. I’m back baby! :slight_smile:

“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.”
― Chuck Close


Yep, 3rd’d on the ‘just make a mark’ sentiment.

The worst case scenario is that you have made something you don’t like right now, but might like in the future or can be edited/manipulated/sliced for future efforts. But if you don’t put something down, you lose your effort.

1 Like

What you say is very true. Waiting for some brain flash is wasting time and get’s us nowhere. But isn’t it exactly inspiration what you describe, if new ideas develop out of doing, performing, exercising?

  • Drop a song you like in your DAW - Match the DAW BPM to the song as close as possible. Map out the intro, chorus, verse, break, outro, solos, transitions, etc… Mute the track, or remove it once you have markers. Then, make a sketch that fits the structure. I’ve used this when I feel like I have some good themes, but can’t seem to get it into anything other than a simple motif.

  • Sing a melody - Can’t find it on the piano, guitar, saxophone, whatever? Sing it! Sing some ideas, and learn your favorite riffs on your chosen instrument. OR… play a melody on an instrument you’re less familiar with. I’m solid on the sax, but sketchy on the piano… I come up with sax parts from the piano that I would NEVER have found with the horn.

  • Keep Everything, Abandon Anything - This has already been noted. New tune not working? Tuck it away. I have folders per year/month of dabbles and sketches that I’ve abandoned or forgotten. Every now and then, open one up! Find a single thing you like and start from there! Depending on your DAW, you might get in the habit of “collect all and save” or something of the like so that everything for the project is there.

  • Approach a new collaborator - Have a 3rd or 4th degree acquaintance you respect musically? Hit them up. Have them over, or visit his or her space. It might bomb… agree ahead of time that scenario is a possibility and the beers will be good anyway. It might be amazing, and crack open a piece of your brain you’ve forgotten, or just grew.

  • Use a new trick - Pull up youtube, and search for your piece of gear or DAW… find a technique that’s new to you. Make a noise out of it. Make a track around it.

  • Go for a walk - Get out of the studio and stretch it out! Give your brain and body a break!

I’m sure I’ll think of more… This list helps me all the time.


No arguments with your claims/rhetorical questions. I was just quoting Chuck Close - seems like we all agree here :slight_smile:

1 Like

Best idea yet:

Whenever you feel the urge to visit a music forum, visit your music environment instead :cb:


Rebuild your rig - I experienced some nice midi-accidents from this :grin:

1 Like