Lucid dreaming has been a goal of mine since I found a website on it five years ago. I've made half-hearted attempts at exercises to induce lucid dreams with, surprisingly, no results.

The strongest advice on every website I've found is to keep a dream journal. I never tried it until earlier this year, then stopped when the shit hit the fan. My routine was pretty simple. Every morning, I'd write down everything I could remember from my dreams. It has to be the first thing I do, before my memory fades: shut off alarm, pick up pen and paper. I'd reread the most recent entry before sleeping each night. While I was keeping the journal, my dreams became more bizarre, and I could remember more details each morning. I only had fleeting moments of lucidity, but more often than ever before.

I've been wondering how I could put this to good musical use. Accessing my subconscious creativity will have nothing but good effects on my music, but I feel there's a more direct route.

Most nights before I fall asleep, there's some kind of music going through my head, usually something I've been listening to or practicing. But as I drift closer to complete sleep, the music often strays from the song I know, taking its own path through new harmonies, melodies, instrumentation, genres. It's all coming from my head, but it doesn't feel like I'm making it up. It's as if I'm passively listening to an unfamiliar piece of music. Tricky chords surprise me, increased tempos excite me, calm sections soothe me. I experience every emotion as if I'm a listener. I can still make conscious changes in the music whenever I want, and it's effortless. I can take complete control of an entire symphony without hiring any musicians and instantly transition to New Orleans jazz without missing a beat.

Every time this happens, it literally sounds like the best music I've ever heard. Nothing mediocre ever surfaces, and I can hear each distinct instrument as clearly as if it were solo. The musical style can be anything, but usually starts with what I've been hearing lately. Unfortunately, I've never captured even a bit of it. If I get up to write something down or plunk it out on my guitar, it's forgotten. If I let it ride, then I remember none of it by morning.

This has occurred more frequently over the last two years, and it's what inspired me to finally start that dream journal. If I can cultivate my ability to remember dreams, maybe I can harness that glorious music from before my dreams. I'll settle for the tiniest piece, as I know this will take a long time to master. In the meantime, I think my best approach is to keep trying to recognize a chord progression and write it down on the spot.