Separating the Creator and the Critic...

by Mark Joseph
(Brunswick East)

The very best song writing advice I've ever received was to separate the Creator and the Critic.

They both have very important, useful and necessary jobs when it comes to song writing; however, in my experience they generally do not work at the same time!!!

I always found that whenever I'd sit down to write something, or to develop an idea musically, my 'creator' (the liberated artistic/creative flow) would be continuously interrupted by my 'critic' (the analytical editor).

I'd write a lyric, and straight away I'd judge it as either good or bad. Or I'd try and explore a melodic or chordal idea and again I'd be judging its value straight away. There seemed to be a constant battle, and I'd struggle to get anything productive (or enjoyable) done.

I'd not clearly identified the two separate parts (creator/critic) until it was brought to my attention and was advised to separate and allow them both their chance to do what they do brilliantly - though absolutely and necessarily separately!

So, I allowed myself the creative freedom to just create whatever ideas came to me, without judgement or criticism (needing it to be right!) - therefore allowing the 'creator' to have free reign.

When I felt this process had reached its conclusion I then utilized my 'critic' to assess, analyze and edit the music that had been created.

Brilliant! It worked a treat!

I use this technique every time now; sometimes songs are completed, and sometimes just a bunch of ideas come without ending up as songs; either way it always feels like a fun, creative, explorative and productive experience.

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