Let the music take you

picture of different musical instruments blended together

Listen to a piece of instrumental music—any kind, any style. The important thing is that it has no words, and that it’s something you haven’t heard before (or at least, a piece that doesn’t already have particular associations for you). Listen again. While the music plays, write your responses to any or all of these questions (without thinking too hard about any of them):

  1. What colours do you see when you hear this music?
  2. What kind of weather does it make you think of?
  3. What nouns or verbs come to mind as you listen?

Use the resulting words or phrases to write a poem. Let the music suggest the mood(s).

If you’re not sure what piece of music to choose, try one of these (all available on YouTube):

  • “Life goes on” by Carla Bley
  • “Wrenegade” by Nova Pon
  • Concerto for Orchestra by Béla Bartókthis is a long piece, so pick one movement (section) at random
  • String Quartet in F Major by Maurice Ravel—same thing here; pick one section
  • Windfonietta for concert band by Fritz Neuböck


Start here: