Tuning into Emotion

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Six Strategies for Songwriters Looking to Find Inspiration

The number one way in which songwriters can find inspiration is through the expression of their own emotions. Emotion is reflected in all that we hear in music, from love to loss, from happiness to sadness. When a songwriter is in tuned in with their own emotions, the lyrics they create are phenomenal and all that hear it can sense the power behind it. Music lyrics and emotion go hand in hand. Tapping into yours, will help you create beautiful music. Take time to tune into these six emotions to find your inspiration:

1. Love

Whether you are in love for the first time or have been in love for years---love is powerful. Love is an emotion we feel for a number of different people in our lives from partners, to family members, to close friends, to animals. Emoting your love into songwriting is powerful and emotional for the listener. If it’s written in a way where it’s relatable to other people (not completely suited to the songwriter’s own life), it’s even better.

How do I tune into love?

Tuning into love is easy. Spend some time reflecting on the individuals in your life. Think about how you feel about those around you. Start with your inner most circle and expand outward. Once you find that dominant love, it will be easy for you to use love as the emotion that helps inspire your music and it should flow out effortlessly.

2. Grief

Whether you have lost a loved one to death or ended a relationship, loss can be an overwhelming emotion. It’s the type of emotion that has many twists and turns as you move through it. Emoting grief and loss into music allows the opportunity to process some of what’s going on in your head. Music you create will actually help comfort others who felt a similar loss.

How do I tune into grief?

Grief and loss is an emotion that no one desires to experience. If you are not experiencing this emotion right now, you can still tap into this emotion. Everyone has experienced loss in their lives. Spend time thinking about how you felt when that loss occurred. Once you are able to do that, you will find inspiration.

3. Happiness

Happiness is a state of mind. Everyone wants to be happy. When we are happy, the world knows we are happy. Happiness is contagious so using happiness to create striking music is a great source of inspiration.

How do I tune into happiness?

Think about what makes you happy. It’s an individual thing. For some people it’s a place, while for others it’s a person, and even others it’s an action. Tune into your own happiness to find your inspiration. The words you write when you’re happy will shine though the lyrics and make the song sound happy as you write it (most times).

4. Sadness

Sadness can occur for a number of reasons. It could be the circumstances of life or you could experience regular sadness or depression. Regardless of how you experience sadness, it needs to be expressed. There are countless sad songs.

How do I tune into sadness?

No one wants to feel sad, but it is a normal human emotion. We have all felt sad at points in our lives. This type of inspiration can sometimes help us process the emotion of sadness. Tuning into sadness is something we may not want to do if we are not currently sad, so the suggestion would be to tune into this emotion only when it comes up naturally. When that happens, you may find sad songs are easier than any other type to influence your work.

5. Anger

When we get angry, we tend to react, our minds experience the fight or flight response. We want to express that emotion. Anger can build in our senses, our bodies may get hot, and we may feel like we are on fire. Instead of expressing anger in a negative way, allow that emotion to be the inspiration for great music.

How do I tune into anger?

Well, no one likes being angry, but sometimes it happens. It’s a normal human emotion. Expressing your anger through lyrics can be an invigorating experience. If you are not angry, don’t spend time looking for this emotion. Wait until it comes up spontaneously.

6. Excitement

New relationships, new jobs, and new experiences can elicit excitement. When we are excited about something, everyone around us knows it. It’s inevitable that your excitement is infectious. When we think about popular songs that ‘pump people up’, the emotion of excitement is behind them.

How do I tune into excitement?

Excitement is something that happens organically. When something great happens in your life, refine that emotion and think about how you would put that excitement into song lyrics. Spend time thinking about how your body and mind feel when you are excited. Use those feelings as your inspiration and let it come naturally.

All emotions are most relevant when they are freshest in our minds. Using emotions that come up naturally can often inspire the best music. Close your eyes---what do you feel right now? Go with that emotion to find your inspiration.


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