Finding Your Musical Identity

Music is a beauty of harmony, form, and expression of emotion. Of course, beauty is a subjective term that varies among individuals, and musical compositions can vary significantly depending on the emotions that the composer is attempting to evoke. This explains why there are so many genres of music available and why people tend to be drawn to one particular type of music. Finding a musical identity, whether you are a composer or a listener, is a deeply personal experience.

One way that we can find our musical identity is by drawing upon the artists and composers whose styles have influenced us the most, and by identifying what qualities they have that make their style unique and satisfying. There is a reason why musicians are often asked during interviews to list their biggest musical influences; artists often draw upon music of the past and build upon it in order to recreate or add to something that they already consider beautiful. Listen to individual songs by your favorite artists and pay attention to how the lyrics convey who they are as a person and how they use the melody to arouse particular feelings.

The next step is to determine where you fit into the never-ending story that music provides. Look within yourself to find what moves you, as an individual with your own thoughts and feelings. What story do you want to tell through your music? A good way to determine this is by considering what you find to be important. You can draw upon aspects of your life, whether it be family, love, or religion; particular events in your life that you feel have shaped who you are today; or even current events that you are passionate about and feel need more awareness (equality, war). Once you determine what motivates you, you can list how these things have helped to shape who you are as an individual and apply these characteristics to your own music.

Music has a tendency to not only influence our physical world (how we dress, who we select as friends) but our psychological world as well (our emotions or worldview). Everyone has something that they can contribute; it’s just a matter of learning from those who have already done it and identifying the special thing inside all of us that is unique and worth sharing.

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