Temper Stroking Myself

Over the past few weeks I have been working on a couple of different songs.

Some were complete.  Some had all the tracks I thought I needed less any vocal tracks.  Some were just basic rhythm tracks that needed more instrument tracks plus I needed to come up with some lyrics and a melody.

So I got into the habit of listening to my own stuff while traveling back and forth to work or just traveling around town.  I was even listening to my own stuff when I was lying in bed falling asleep.

Usually those listening times are when I just put my iTunes in shuffle mode and listen to whatever comes up next.  But for almost two weeks all I was listening to was my work.  I was critiquing what I did, trying to determine if it needed more tracks and trying to come up with a melody.

To be honest there was a bit of ego involved.  When I was listening to my stuff I was also enjoying that I could actually do all the parts and have it sound OK.  I was digging that I, who always considered myself to be just a drummer dependent on others to create music, could create music by myself.

But after spending all this time exclusively on my stuff I noticed I was having a hard time coming up with new song riffs.  If I did come up with something I felt it was too much like a song I had already done.  I was getting stale.

I realized that I was drying up because I wasn’t letting everyone else’s sounds and ideas into my head.

I wasn’t listening to anything new and I wasn’t listening to all my other songs by my favorite artists.

Even if I have listened to a song a hundred times, each time I listen to it I hear something new or I should say I hear it in a new way.  A new experience can put a song or a part of a song in a whole new perspective.   That new perspective can in turn trigger new ideas.

Sometimes it’s just as simple as I’d like to write a song like that.

A song comes on that I like the feel, I like what I could do with drums and percussion and it pushes me to try my hand at writing something with that feel but making it my own.

So I’ve learned to temper how much time I spend critiquing and stroking myself.  I’ve learned I’ve got to keep listening to as much music as possible, everybody’s music.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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