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5 Places to Spark Musical Inspiration

Even the most motivated and talented musicians still have to practice a lot, which means a lot of repetition. After about the 50th time playing the same orchestral excerpt however, it can get a bit boring and the purpose of why we play music can get lost. For those times, we need something to get us inspired. Sometimes just a change in environment can be enough to shift your energy and inspire better playing. So to help you get started, here's a list of five places that will help increase your musical inspiration. 

1. Bathroom

play music in the bathroom

This is more of a confidence boost than anything. After many hours and minutes of practicing, you can get sick of the same old sound in poor acoustics. Go to the bathroom and let it ring! Trust me, it will sound glorious. Although you will probably want to stay in there forever, it is generally not recommended to practice too long inside the bathroom. Just a few minutes of playing in the bathroom can provide a refreshing break during practice. After which, head back out and practice projecting your sound with the dryer acoustics of the room. 

2. Chapel

Chapels can also spark musical inspiration for their awesome acoustics. You will notice even the wispiest of murmurs will echo and resonate in chapels. Imagine what musical instruments sound like! Chapels typically have very wet acoustics. Especially for string players who are practicing chords that can sound like strings ripping apart, a chapel’s wet acoustics can help bring out the chords and intentions of the composer.

Additionally, much of early music was sacred and was meant to be played during religious ceremonies. One famous example is the German, Baroque composer, J.S. Bach. He signed every single one of his pieces, “Soli Deo Gloria,” meaning, “To the Glory of God Alone.” Whether you are religious or not, going to the place where the composer sought his own inspiration and intended the music to be played be an inspiring experience.

3. Birthplace of a Musical Genre

Visiting the birthplace of the musical genre you play can be one of the most enriching experiences in musical development. For example, it can be the American South where jazz and bluegrass were born, or Mozart’s house in Vienna where he composed so many classical masterpieces.

A few years ago I toured Austria and Germany with my chamber orchestra. During the trip we played pieces from Haydn, Vivaldi, and some other contemporary composers. One of the places we visited was Haydn Hall, where the piece we were performing first premiered. Prior to our trip, I used to think Haydn’s music was rather simple and I admit I could not fully appreciate it. Since Haydn’s Hall is known for its perfect acoustics though, we could hear every single note when we played the piece there. Suddenly, all the little details could be heard and Haydn’s seeming simple music came to life. I was transformed from playing boring quarter notes and eighth notes at moderate speed to becoming overwhelmingly inspired by the beauty of the music. 

The lesson I learned is playing music in the same place it was first performed is an unparalleled inspiring musical experience.

musical inspiration hayden hall

4. Streets

Performing in the streets is a chance to become a true entertainer. From my personal opinion, for the audience to enjoy your music, you have to first be enjoying yourself. Playing in the streets is about the mood more than anything - not every single note is even heard and it's more about creating an atmostphere. It is the perfect opportunity to just let go and play for fun. Music is supposed to fun, remember! So often while practicing all technical elements we get lost and forget why we love music. Playing out in the streets is the perfect opportunity to find that passion for playing again.

musical inspiration streets

5. Back to the practice room

Sometimes, the practice room is the only inspiration you need. Perfecting that one technique or line you have been working on forever will inspire you to go out and perform it. Perfecting that one spot will launch you into wanting to practice more and find new challenges.

So from the practice room, to an adjacent bathroom, outside in the streets, or even across the globe - music surrounds us. You can find inspiration practically anywhere. These are just a few examples of some different change for how changing your environment can inspire you. So pick up your instrument and play some music!

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