mmmmmmmm…I learn something that is indirectly related but potentially valuable to music or technology, Something that is music related but not directly about sitting and writing a track. It triggers ideas. And usually gives you a skill that you will need at some point…
Some random seemingly little things i have learned in the last 20 years when ive hit writers block that came in useful down the track.
What a circle of 5ths is !!!
The noise cancelling genius behind a shielded twisted pair cable.
How to Solder
Mix Techniques / Gain Structure / Eq
What a D.I. Does and Why
Mid Side Mic Techniques
Hot to change a Pot / CR2302 Battery
How to make a MIDI controller in a DAW
Nothing at all mind blowing, but it gets your head thinking in different ways and the skill eventually comes in handy. There is always something to learn and even if its a basic, it can change your direction in an instant.
Also sometimes i go back and RTFM from synths i bought years ago to see if there is stuff i just clearly missed of have forgotten. Im still finding un explored ideas in the Access Virus and Roland JV1080 Manuals, that after using the synths for a decade i never considered due to habit (or overwhelm when trying to learn a synth)
Going back to the original post - despite not having a lot of free time to just jam out on my gear, I often have this sort of block. I keep telling myself, “I’ll jam this morning” which turns into “I’ll just jam during my son’s nap”, which turns into “I’ll jam later/tomorrow/Thursday.” What I have discovered, though, is to just turn on the gear and go. Lately, I’ve been focusing on Digitone through Analog Heat, which has been a deep source of inspiration and… fun. Sometimes it does help though to say something like “I’m going to start with a new drum pattern” or “Let’s find/make a pad sound that does X/Y/Z.” What usually happens is 1-1.5 hours pass and I have a complete pattern with the 4 Digitone tracks and I walk away feeling great, having scratched that itch in my brain. So, my advice isn’t all that great, but know that you’re not the only one. Putting pressure on yourself to create a masterpiece each time doesn’t do anyone any good though. Let the creation emerge on its own.
Yeah, sounds like it, but in my case it’s a trained habit, because it is not involuntary. I need to let it happen/tune in. I think I’ve just challenged myself with media scoring (what would I compose to this or that) for too long …
-To start with just put things down quickly without any thought.
-If it sounds good, lucky you, carry on.
-If not then it’s much easier to work out why you don’t like what’s there and turn it into something you do like than it is to work out what to do with blankness/silence.
A part of my life : my jobs !
Construction site, and the environnement, machine type for executing task are inspiration source, Packaging of building materials,Packaging design,Design on the labels,
All the attention that the industry brings me to do my job safely !
I don’t know if this will help at all but I almost never have an idea of what I’m going to do and always just start doing something, which leads to the next thing, and the next. I never try to create something I hear in my head, I just do stuff and go with it and the jams create themselves, sort of. I don’t consider this arriving at something by chance or accident, it just is the way I make tunes: in the moment with no expectations and then just going with what starts to happen…
I find acting like an exploratory scientist when having blocks is a good approach. I’ll approach a session with some random idea for experimentation and I try to keep it to something I’ve not done before(Run this drum machine through that synth or this FX recorded to tape, sample some household objects reamp and sample the result) anything really.
Most important result is something new to get the old brain working so I’m not just going through the paces.
Ahh, that reminds me…
Sometimes I do have an idea but it’s based on some type of routing instead of what the groove should sound like. For example I’ll be dying to route audio through my moogs filter and send it midi gate pulses from OT… Still once that’s hooked up I just start going with what’s happening…