3 Reasons Why You Should Write Music in a Different Genre

Inspiration and energy are easy to find when you’re exploring and writing music for the first time.

But the longer you create music in the same predictable ways, the harder it is to feel engaged and challenged. This is where exploring new genres comes in.

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When the usual ways of making music aren’t exciting and rewarding anymore, it’s time for a major shakeup.

Exploring a new genre as an exercise is always a great way to do it, here’s three reasons why.

1. Exploring new genres breaks you out of old habits

Why do people quit making music? Some leave music behind because they get too busy with life and careers, but many quit because of boredom.

To be an impactful music-maker, writing has to be a rewarding experience for you.

But, by copying and pasting your creative process over and over again, you end up taking the joy out of making music.

Instead, take a risk and learn what it means to write in a new genre. It’s a great way to boost your creativity and keep newness in your process.

Take a risk and learn what it means to write in a new genre.

If you’re hesitant to write in a new genre because it would make you uncomfortable, that’s exactly the point!

Not knowing how a song will end up sounding before you start writing is a tried and true way to change up your workflow and your sound.

2. Countless artists weave different genres into their music

Think about the new music fans engage with the most right now, is it straightforward and predictable or is it fresh, innovative, and new?

The answer is almost always the latter.

There’s a long tradition of artists successfully exploring new genres and combining different styles into their music.

Musician Amelia Meath went from playing folk music in a trio called Mountain Man to being nominated for a Grammy with her electro-pop band Sylvan Esso.

By blending hip hop and country, Lil Nas X managed to write one of the biggest hits in the history of pop music.

When Damien Jurado lent his warm vocals to the electronic track “Take Your Time,” his brief departure from folk yielded exciting results.

The takeaway here is that there’s a huge benefit in trying something new in music. Failing is an unavoidable part of creating in a new genre, but it’s worth it.

3. Writing in new genres sharpens your creative instincts

As a musician, nothing is more valuable than your perspective and intuition. But when those assets are applied to the same tired creative process, they get dull.

Embracing newness in the way you write is key for keeping things sharp.

Embracing newness in the way you write is key for keeping things sharp.

A huge benefit of exploring a new genre is that it blows up your creative process from top to bottom in an exciting way. Doing this will keep your mind engaged and your creative instincts sharpened.

How to explore a new genre for the first time

If you’re unsure what it will take to successfully write a track in a new genre, here’s a few handy pointers to keep in mind.

Identify the genre you normally write in and get specific about your process

Get to the bottom of the genre(s) you normally write in. Think about things like instrumentation, song structures, and lyrical themes associated with your genre.

If you don’t understand the patterns you follow in your own genre, it’ll be difficult to know what to pay attention to when diving into a new discipline.

Once you recognize old habits and tendencies connected with your previous genre, you can break them when writing in a new one.

Think about music in other genres that resonates with you

Choose a genre that’s new to you, but isn’t completely unrecognizable.

Even taking a look at other subgenres in the genre you work in is a viable step.

Take some time to listen to new music, get recommendations from friends and commit to going through a research and learning phase.

You could even pay for mentoring and advice from a professional who understands the genre intimately.

Nail down specifics about what musical aspects shape the new genre. The elements that make up a genre comprise instrumentation, song structure, types of chords and rhythms used.

If that sounds challenging to you, it may be worth brushing up on your music theory. There’s tons of resources on YouTube to help you too.

The cool thing about focusing on a new genre is that you’ll use what you learn to create music in new and exciting ways.

Explore, experiment, and record

Once you’ve chosen a new genre to explore and are familiar with why it sounds the way it does, it’s time to jump in. With an open, patient mindset, try experimenting and recording.

The most important thing to remember when writing in a new genre for the first time is that failure is okay.

Remember, when writing in a new genre for the first time failure is okay.

Running into dead-ends during this process is nothing to be ashamed about. Give yourself the time and freedom to explore new ideas during this process.

Believe it or not, feeling out of your depth is actually a great thing as a musician.

We fail when we write the same music over and over again, but venturing out into new genres is a great way to keep things fresh.

It might feel easier and safer to write predictable music in predictable ways, but doing so won’t result in finishing music that engages people.

When things feel stale in your process, don’t be afraid to embrace change and take a risk.

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