Music is just copying other musicians, right? Partly, yes, but by a large margin, no. People are influenced by other musicians and that is often heard in their compositions. In order to be able to write original music, one must be filled to the brink with music, until they start filtering out the things they dislike or consider irrelevant at the moment of composing.
In order to create original music, you need to develop yourself as a composer, and here is how to do that.
Listen to Music
Yes, you must listen to music in order to be able to come close to creating anything original. In order to become better at composing, you first have to fill yourself completely with music. Listening can help with that, especially if you limit yourself to a couple of artists. Consider two or three artists you like, and listen to them until you find yourself being able to imitate their style without a second thought.
After you are able to imitate someone, your own styles will start to show and emerge.
Do not Try Too Hard to Be Original
Being original takes time, and not just time, but knowledge and music. This is a reason why listening to music and imitating the great musicians is important. Doing it long enough will lead to you realizing that you can change a few things, add or remove stuff and adapt their music to your own preferences.
Imitation is the key to learning, especially in music. Starting off a composition which is very similar to something you love and cherish can quickly turn to you realizing what you love about that composition, and parts of it will remain with you, building a solid foundation for composing.
Write Down Your Ideas
Frequently, musicians get awesome ideas which can easily be forgotten. Think of the famous Queen hit Another One Bites The Dust, composed by John Deacon, Queen’s former bass player. He had an idea, and as he went out for pizza, he managed to forget it completely. Luckily, Queen’s drummer, Roger Taylor, memorized the iconic bass line which marks the song’s start.
As soon as you get a good idea, work it out a bit and record it (smartphones make that easy), or write it down.
Take a Break
Trying way too hard to compose, and you may end up with something you dislike even more. Frustration often leads to more frustration. Take a break and go do something completely different. Listen to something you never would have listened to before, do sports or other engaging activities. The music will come, sooner or later, just do not try to force it out.
Following these tips can help you become a better composer.