What Writers Can Learn from Music

I have always liked to use some musical links in my writing. Many of my writings deal with songs that have inspired me over the years. (Where Have All My Young Friends Gone?) A few years ago, I started wondering what I could learn from music that might infuse my writing with more elegance and passion. I tried my hand at a “musical composition.” I am not sure that it came out very well but if you are interested, you can read my piece at: ON WRITING, MUSIC, CHOREOGRAPHY, THE SEASONS AND LOVE.

Recently, in our writing class, I gave my students the assignment to come up with a 100 word writing piece that used some elements of music in their writing or that writes about the use of music in writing. It was an odd assignment made more difficult because my instructions were pretty vague. The following week students brought in their writings and shared them in class.

The discussion that accompanied our readings was very helpful. Wilma, a writer in the class, found a good article that illustrated very well what I had been trying to say and do in terms of using music to provide creativity or at least another perspective to our writing. I am adding links to Wilma’s article which was in Medium and another that I found while perusing Medium.

The first article is by Mark Benis and is titled: “Is Writing Stories so Different from Writing Music?”

View at Medium.com

The second article is by David W. Berner and is titled: “Writing is Like Music.”

I hope you will find these articles interesting and that they will perhaps inspire some use of these ideas in your own writings.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jane Fritz
    Jul 01, 2022 @ 14:57:39

    Hi John. I’ve thought about this intriguing idea since reading it yesterday. I thought it should resonate with me; my life has been filled with music (choirs, piano, etc) and I obviously enjoy writing. But I haven’t been able to make a connection between my personal experiences with these two creative activities that brings them together. Maybe that explains why when I wrote some musical pieces as class assignments a million years ago they were so stilted? I don’t think I would have shone with that writing assignment of yours! On the other hand, I’m not sure you could restrict yourself to writing only 100 words!! 😏 🎼🎹



    • Dr. John Persico Jr.
      Jul 01, 2022 @ 23:28:03

      Jane, I like your candidness. I have also “failed” at the task I gave my students. It is a different way of thinking about writing and I think it just requires more practice and experience. I like to see writing from different perspectives. I do admit to the fact that I find it easier to write more than less. Keep trying to bring them together. I really think there is value in being able to do so. Perhaps more than we realize. Musicians seem to be able to put a passion in their writing that few writers can achieve. Hope you had a wonderful Canada Day. John

      Liked by 1 person


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