Creating Your Own Visual Tapestry
by Jonathan Jaeger
Most musicians approach their craft from an auditory level. How does this production sound? What melody is appropriate for this song? Or on an even more granular level, what kind of filter should I add to give this intro a contrasting sound from the rest of the track? Oftentimes, artists who think of music first are so enveloped in the songwriting and production process that there is no consideration for the visual aspect, at least at first.
As much as humans love a nice catchy melody, we are visual creatures. While we’re not going to be thinking about how something looks when we listen to music with our earbuds tucked neatly in our ears and our eyes on the road (or on the treadmill, or in our bedrooms), it can be a great exercise in creativity to think about the visual aspect of your work first.
As the cliché saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. I’m not sure how many words a musical note is worth, but I can venture to say visuals are pretty important in expressing creativity as much as sound. If you think of what kind of visual and emotions you want your imagination to convey, as you would with the music you create, you can get a good sense of what atmosphere you’d like to evoke.
For fun, start writing a song by drawing a picture or recording a video. Maybe take a couple pictures. Find the visual first and then craft a song as if that visual was the summary of your song. This can be a powerful tool to cure writer’s block or it can just be an interesting project. On the plus side, if you like the music you create after creating your visual, you’ve already got your album artwork, music video, t-shirt design, or a concert stage prop ready to go along with your composition.