3 ways to find inspiration for your music

Have you ever struggled to find inspiration?

You’re staring at an empty DAW session or a blinking cursor, and it’s frustrating, maybe even a little scary. We’ve all been there; it’s like your creative juices aren’t juicing anymore, and you can’t remember how to start them back up again.

But then, seemingly out of nowhere, inspiration crashes the party. It’s like a lightbulb flicking on in your head, and suddenly you’re overflowing with ideas—it feels like winning the creative lottery, and it can hit you when you least expect it.

Whether it’s a melody, lyric, or groove, turning that spark into something real can be an exciting but slightly chaotic scramble. It’s like trying to catch lightning in a bottle.

Living in this creative rollercoaster can at times feel emotionally draining. In the moments when you’re in a slump, you might doubt yourself and wonder if you’ve lost your touch.

But, you’re not alone in this creative journey. We all go through these ups and downs, navigating the unpredictable twists and turns of our creative minds. It’s a vulnerable place to be, but it’s also where some of our most amazing music comes to life.

Below, we share three actionable ways you can find inspiration for your music—as well as resources that pair with each—so that your creative rollercoaster ride can become just a little less chaotic.

Let’s dive in!

1. Find inspiration from the music you love

Many of us got interested in creating music in the first place because we were inspired by a particular artist, band, record, or genre. Consider making an attempt to reconnect with this feeling by actively engaging with the music you love, but this time specifically from the perspective of a creator.

A great way to do this is via active listening, which is the deliberate process of focusing on music with a careful and critical ear. See our article below for tips on how to practice effective active listening, as well as a breakdown of what to listen for:

If you want to go beyond the track and get an intimate look into an artist’s perspective on creativity, you can also scour the web for interviews and tutorials from your favorite musicians. If you don’t know where to start, check out our collection of interviews with everyone from Mike Shinoda and Common to George Clinton and Tainy that specifically focus on music production and the creative process:

Expanding the range of music you listen to and enjoy can be another powerful catalyst for finding inspiration. See our guide below for a collection of music discovery tools that are specifically designed to get you to venture beyond your algorithmic bubble:

No matter which of these avenues you decide to explore, the goal here is to identify the ingredients that make up the music that excites you. And rather than trying to imitate everything a single artist does, you want to take these ingredients from a variety of sources and blend them all together to arrive to your own unique sound.

2. Apply intentional strategies for overcoming creative blocks

Whether it’s the intimidation of an empty session or uncertainty around how to construct an outro, creative blocks can hit at various stages in the production process. While you might initially feel powerless when facing them, there are a number of intentional strategies that you can employ to overcome blocks and get your creativity flowing again:

Combining these strategies with the right tools can give you an even more powerful boost towards inspiration:

Hip hop production heavyweight Richie Souf (Playboi Carti, Future, Young Thug) emphasizes the importance of not getting too caught up in perfectionism when encountering creative blocks. “I feel like beat block is when you’re just thinking too much about how to make the beat when you shouldn’t be,” he tells us below. “Just make the beat. Finish it, even if it sounds ass. People got to teach themselves to not really overthink making the beat, because once you get past that—once you just start making the beat and stop thinking about making it—you’ll be able to make ten beats in one night.”

“You got to remember, artists like Future and Carti and Thug are making ten songs a day. Their albums are 20 songs… You can imagine how many songs we made, but we picked out like 15. That’s why you just make 500 beats. You pick out the best ones, and send those out. That’s how it works—not every beat is going to be ‘the one.’”

3. Approach music creation from a new perspective

Last but not least, if you’re struggling to find inspiration, it might just mean it’s time to try changing things up. If you always start with melodies, try experimenting with grooves; if you usually operate strictly in the DAW, try picking up an instrument or using your voice to construct ideas.

Below, we offer 12 fun challenges that you can try out to create music in ways that might be unfamiliar to you:

It can also be worth exploring samples that aren’t your usual go-to sounds—if this seems interesting, check out the seven Collections below that are curated by leading artists and formed around timeless themes:

3 ways to find inspiration for your music: Conclusion

We hope this article helps you find the inspiration you need in order to create your best music yet. Do you have any tips of your own that you’d like to share? Start a conversation with us and a community of other music creators via the Splice Discord, and stay tuned for interviews with various artists in the coming weeks on how they find their own inspiration.

Take your music further with the new plugins, fresh sounds, and more available in the Splice Creator plan:

January 22, 2024

Harrison Shimazu

Harrison Shimazu is a composer, content strategist, and writer who’s passionate about democratizing music creation and education. He leads the Splice blog and produces vocaloid music as Namaboku.