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I have been playing the piano for 7 years now, and I always loved composing. I've stopped to take piano lessons two years ago because of my studies, and since this, it's getting really difficult to keep composing.

Every single melody or chord I try slowly brings me back to musics I learned, I heard or that I already composed before. I also have difficulties to imagine new left hands moves.

I feel a bit frustrated and stuck. I know it's probably related to the fact I've stopped taking piano classes, but I would like to know if anyone else is in my case and has advice for me to revive my music creativity?

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The fact that you stopped taking classes, implies that you stopped studying piano? If so, this is probably the cause. To keep learning new pieces and techniques is very good for the inspiration.

Another possibility is: you quit piano lessons because of studies, then you are probably spending less time with composition because of studies too. Exercising it less also makes it harder.

I too have gradually stopped composing after quitting piano lessons, probably because of these reasons.

I think the best solution might be returning to studies (in case you have stopped), this means taking new pieces to learn, know different composers, try some different styles, and maybe dedicate more time to composing if you can.

Tip: Don't be too harsh on yourself. Even if it doesn't sound good enough, or original enough for you, give it a try. You better have some pieces you don't like so much than nothing at all. Maybe you can turn them into masterpieces in the future, or at least reuse some themes in future compositions!

  • Yes you're probably right, and I think as you said that I should record my compositions, even though it doesn't sound good enough to me. It might give me ideas later. Thanks a lot – souki Jun 13 '18 at 7:38
  • @souki Yes, either record it or write it down, just don't throw away you're ideas! – coconochao Jun 13 '18 at 13:53
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Try something like copying out the score of some piece you like. This will allow you to see how the composer put things together. (In the past say from 800 to 1800 it was a common method of teaching.) If you have a computer music program (Finale, Sibelius, etc. or Finale Notepad, the free one), you can try scores for ensembles of instruments that you do not play.

I used the free Finale Notepad for years then Make Music offered me a student upgrade to the full Finale for a small amount. I imagine that other companies have similar offers.)

Another idea is to work out some counterpoint or harmony exercises designed for teaching. Pick a few exercises from various books (different writers emphasize different aspects of music) and give them a try. You can see how Bach puts melodies together or how Beethoven structures sonata or the like.

One more thing to erode writer's block is to write short pieces exhibiting a new (for you) idea. My next couple of short pieces consists of trying to use a secondary theme (sonata or next part of a song or other part of rondo or the like) using Neapolitan harmonies. (I'm copying Beethoven and others here). I want to use something like C-major or c-minor (or whatever keynote sounds good) for the main theme then Db-major for the secondary theme (as opposed to G-major or Eb-major or the other mode of main key). The idea is to make it sound convincing.

Similarly, one can write a piece in an odd time signature (5/4); one may not do this for "real" but it makes a good exercise on phrasing. One could try a new riff or motif; or new accompaniment style. Sometimes I try writing for a new instrument. (I even composed a duo for bongos and congas to get an idea of how these instruments combine.)

The idea is to try something new. On wants something limited to keep from being overwhelmed. Also something that's fun.

  • Thanks for your answer, lots a good advices here! :) Also I didn't know about the exercicse which consists in copying a piece I like! Using a computer music program seems to be a good idea as well. Thanks again, really! – souki Jun 13 '18 at 7:36

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