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Design Thinking for Musicians

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Design Thinking is an iterative process that you can apply to understand your customers, challenge assumptions, and redefine problems to find perfectly fitting alternative solutions and strategies. It’s a dependable solution-based approach for quickly solving problems. 

Now, you might think about how it can be beneficial for musicians?

Design thinking’s most useful section is the one that includes the word “iterative.”

It is a process where you test something, make small changes in response to feedback and then release a new version. This tight loop should generate rapid improvements to the music industry.

Now, let’s move towards the entire process of improving music by applying design thinking.

These are the six cues of music that you must know before you begin design thinking.

Learning music is absolutely a great experience, and getting deep in understanding music is a splendid joy. Some of the best design thinking courses available online can help you learn how to apply design thinking to music.


This cue is all about information, ideas, listening, sensing, and gathering data from various sources. Jammin’ is the driver of exploration, creativity, and creation based upon all the music cues.


Empathy is the people-centered cue that helps you see the world through the eyes of your stakeholders. Find the insights of music that matter by empathizing with others. Listening and understanding are the two essential sides of this cue.


It is your cue to get from the heart of what you do. The space where you offer your stakeholders should reflect your passion and brand values [1] in the space you offer for your stakeholders. This cue can be divided into two parts: to be or to become.


This cue will help you visualize how you make decisions. The two sides of the cue are to demonstrate and do, which means you must have a vision and clear directions on getting to your destination.


This cue will help you decide when and how to work together in constellations. You have to learn and change, and this cue and Jammin’ is a duo for realization.


Based on the other cues, this cue is to get it all together. Now, this cue has two faces: to deliver and live. You will need to deliver at times and make iterations using all the cues.

The connected cues

These cues are helpful as starting points for collaboration and interventions. They are part of a dynamic space open to new challenges and solutions, and the cues create a system where all elements interact.

How can you implement design thinking in music?

There are many parallels between design-thinking and music-making, which you should understand to implement good design thinking to improve the music. 

  • Listen (Empathy). Regardless of why an artist creates music, the relationship between artist and audience is fundamental to the creation process. Because music connects people, the artists and audience support them. An artist must have marketing to be discovered. Marketing is all about creating a community, and marketing is about understanding your audience’s expectations and needs.
  • Insight (Define). A song is a way to communicate something to an audience. Songwriting and music-making are often motivated by emotions.
  • Songwriting: This involves reworking lyrics, melody schemes, melodies, and harmonies to best convey the song’s ideas.
  • Demo (Prototype): Early drafts/versions/demos are structured.
  • Test: A listening party is a way for selecting audiences to give feedback. This type of collaboration can often lead to other ideas.

Iteration is a great way to make progress.

It is essential to iterate to reduce the scope of the music project and refine the solution to achieve a human-centered design process (HCD). The 5 phases cycle can be helpful as a continuous process or repeated in different stages. You can think of iterative design as “practice makes perfect” or “practice makes progression” in design thinking.

The Music Design Thinking Framework

Music Thinking Framework is both a dynamic and repeatable model. It’s great for improving a musician’s experience and the many roles in different business constellations. There are four parts to it: dynamics, phases, cues, and instruments. It is an iterative process that you should repeat many times.

Visual Design, Critical Thinking, & Design Thinking

The visual design has always been a key element in elevating music’s message [2] and story with products such as album covers and music videos. There is an expectation that responsive and branded designs will be created for audiences to connect with and grow with them.

Music design-thinking includes how an album cover looks, feels and functions on different platforms and devices. Successful music artists are like brands that use design thinking to make interesting and attention-driven songs. 

Artists and albums can have their brand identity system designed for merchandising collateral. It allows them to create a multi-sensory experience. It is not enough to be noticed in a saturated market for music if you are trying to stand out by quality. It would be best to try different things out with different music techniques to be famous in the music industry. Not exactly music, but Stanford executive education design thinking is perfect if it’s about learning techniques.

As a strategy, visual brand and identity design allow audiences to identify artists, music releases, and related products by their design. This multidisciplinary approach opens up a wide range of creative ideas that you can apply in music. Design-thinking also finds ethical issues related to consumerist strategies.


Music Thinking has many more ways to work and organize. Music is not bad or good; it’s just different. Classical music does not have the same value as Electronic Dance Music, and Jazz is no better than Pop, Rock, or Traditional Indian-style music. 

Each kind of music is unique and has its style. Each style has its way of organizing things, and all styles can learn from one another. It allows us to understand the dynamics of music and instruments better. If you apply design thinking in music properly, you will surely achieve impressive results and gain popularity in the music industry. 

Ref 1 = https://brandfolder.com/blog/core-brand-values-key-differentiators

Ref 2 = https://www.learningforjustice.org/classroom-resources/lessons/the-message-of-music

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