Writing Exercise: Let The Music Move You

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Every year when it’s around this time, I make a mix CD (I call them “mixies”) called “The Scent of Autumn.” I love that day usually around the end of September or the beginning of October when it first starts to smell like autumn. It’s the smell of the breeze that we’ve all been waiting for. It’s the smell of leaves that begin to turn gold. It’s pumpkin beverages and corn mazes and Halloween candy and hay rides and Ferris wheel rides and earlier sunsets. Here in Georgia, it’s the smell of the relief that comes when another scorching summer comes to an end. It’s the smell of nostalgia, going back to school, football games, the seasons changing, reflecting on the year… these are some of the things I associate autumn with and some of the reasons i love this time of year so much.

Anyway. As I’m starting to think about what’s going on this year’s scent of autumn mixy, I thought about one of my favorite writing exercises.

Writing Exercise: Let The Music Move You

Listen to one or all of the following songs and do one or all of the following exercise:


Tycho – A Walk


Shout Out Louds – Hermila


Pink Floyd – The Great Gig in the Sky


M83 – Raconte-Moi Une Histoire
1. Freewrite/stream of consciousness to poetry – Put your pen to the paper while the song is playing. Do not stop writing until the song is over. Write what the song makes you feel or what it reminds you of. Write anything that comes to mind. When  you’re done, read back over what you just wrote. Are there any phrases that stick out to you? Use one to begin a short poem.

2. Dialogue/rhythm – Listen to one of the songs and then write a monologue or a short conversation paying attention to the rhythm of the person who is speaking. Use a rhythm that is similar to the rhythm of the song. If the song is really slow and reflective, maybe there would be a lot of pauses. If the song is fast, maybe the monologue would come out really quickly. How can you convey the way the person is speaking in the words he or she is saying?

3. Images – Listen to the song and close your eyes. Let any images come to your mind. Do you think of any smells, sights, sounds, feelings, or tastes? Use your imagination, and really listen to the song. See what comes up. When you are done, grab a notebook or a lap top and write down everything you saw. See if you can use those images in a poem or short story.

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