Compose Music on a Laptop in a Car? Why Not!

Where to Make MusicThis weekend I was composing music in my car. Yes, you read that correctly, I was composing music in my car. Even though it was a foggy day, I drove out to a car park on the edge of some woods and sat in my car making music.

This is why I bought a laptop last summer, along with a new pair of headphones and my Akai MPK Mini MKII controller. It means I can make music away from my bedroom. A change of scenery can stop you from getting in a creative rut.

So I sat there, as various families of people came and went from the woods, loaded up Propellerhead Reason, plugged in the Mini MKII and the headphones, and listened back to some recent musical ideas. I was able to throw some away, decide which ones to keep, and make some adjustments to a nearly finished piece.

Then a bit later I was messing about with the drum pads on the Mini MKII, trying out various drum patches. I suddenly came across a drum kit that I had never used before. It was in the Hip Hop category and was called Downtown. I quickly made a beat with that, and then found some other sounds to go with it, and quickly built up a bit of a musical idea.

Then I went to drive home but stopped at another parking place just a few miles away from home. I loaded it up again, added some more bits, and arranged into a nearly finished piece of music. But the thing is, I hadn’t set out to create a piece of music. I was just having fun with sounds and it evolved naturally very quickly. This is what I was talking about in a previous post, where you can achieve the most when you relax and don’t try too hard.

I would upload it for you to have a listen to it, but because it’s very nearly finished I may as well just wait until it’s actually finished.

But the great thing about making music away from home like this is that it gets me out of the house. There is another major benefit to me: no distractions. Believe it or not, but I don’t actually have a smartphone, so in a situation like this I have no internet access. There is nothing more distracting that the internet when you are trying to do something creative, so it’s great to be able to get away from it completely and just focus on the music.

What do you think? Do you make music away from your house like this? Would you? Let me know in the comments section below.

All the best,
Marcus.

6 Comments

  1. Hannah

    Composing music in a car on a laptop is something that has never crossed my mind. Although now after reading your post I am suddenly intrigued! I find that a change of environment can really get the creative juices flowing. And what better way to find the perfect environment than taking your car out for a spin?

    I must try this some time! Thanks for sharing this fascinating idea.
    Hannah.

    Reply
    1. Marcus (Post author)

      Yes, that’s exactly it, Hannah. A change of environment definitely frees up the creative juices and helps them flow more freely.

      Reply
  2. Win Back Your Ex

    I know what you are saying when you talk about hitting a mental block.

    I am a guitar player and sometimes like to try my own skills at composition, and I hit that creative rut a lot.

    It is an excellent idea to get out of your normal surroundings. Just being in nature can offer some real ideas and influence.

    You have given me food for thought here. I appreciate it!

    Thanks

    Chris

    Reply
    1. Marcus (Post author)

      Thanks Chris. Yes, we can often get stuck in a rut if we are in the same place for too long. You are right about being in nature. It can really make a difference sometimes.

      Reply
  3. Daniel Lara

    Hey, Marcus! I am primarily a guitar player, so I have the luxury of playing an instrument that is reasonably transportable. However, I can relate perfectly to the inspiration a change of scenery can provide. Nowadays I live in a place with plenty of forest area around, and sometimes just jogging through the woods gives me compositional ideas and melodies that I can use later. Maybe I should even try my hand at one of those personal recorders, like the Zoom H2!

    Reply
    1. Marcus (Post author)

      Yes, I know exactly what you mean about getting inspiration when out in the forest. There is definitely something about the peace and tranqulity of being in nature that does that. It somehow frees up the creative juices and provides a fresh perspective.

      Reply

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