Music Design Thinking

A framework for music creation and audience discovery

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The Music Design Thinking Process

Music Design Thinking is a seven step framework, modified from design thinking, that puts focus on the listener and enables you as the creator to write music from a true audience perspective. 

Discover more about each step below


Gather your thoughts & feelings on the mind map

Here you can include anything from important life topics, politics and world events, challenges, hopes or dreams to do with friends, family, enemies, frenemies and more. 


Begin to imagine your listener and their world with the empathy map
Write down what they might think, feel, see, say, do, and hear as well as their wildest dreams and biggest fears.


Refine your listener perspective in a persona and point of view (POV) statement
Further define who your audience is as a whole then narrow this down to one, clear statement using a phrasal template (Mad Lib) format.


Start to frame your future song's purpose using the Listener Value Board ©
First focus on your listener and clarify further their needs, then consider how your music can help them achieve these physical or emotional goals.


Map your work to musical elements using the Song Map ©
Write your persona's POV statement in the middle of your mind map then place it in the middle, then, with your Listener Value Board to hand, connect the thoughts you first collected to the musical elements that best portray them with your listener's needs in mind.


Bring it to life in a creation session
This could be a solo or co-writing session, a band rehearsal, jam, or any other way you create music. Remember to have your completed song map with you to refer back to and draw inspiration from if needed.


Assess your musical outcome with the Ideation Evaluation Canvas ©
Use the graphs on page one to score the different elements, then use page two to give insights into why you gave these scores and your overall opinion of the music you've created.

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Music Design Thinking

A framework for music creation and audience discovery

Visuals by Jana Gelsok