I know what its like to not be able to express yourself through music, even though you have a passion to do so. Music is like a drug, and creating your own songs is one of the best highs. You feel like yourself, your real self, and are able to make sense of tumultuous thoughts and emotions.
But there can be trouble. You don’t know how to express this passion for making music. You lack the skills, the knowledge, the simple tips and tricks songwriters all over use to write amazing songs.
So here are 10 tips to get you started. These are some of my best tips and tricks, and will surely help you feel alive and thrive with your songwriting. Take it from me, an alive and thriving human being, who loves the magic of songwriting like its Mamma’s homemade apple crumble.
Mmm, that is TASTY!
1. Write About Things Meaningful To You
Think of what means most to you in your life. Is it your partner? Your family? Your bedtime teddy bear? Maybe its a life changing experience, or a simple event. Maybe its your love for doing something, or for something simply existing. Whatever it is, use it to inspire your songwriting.
2. Create/ Follow a Process
I love it when a plan comes together. And so do your fans; because you’re able to write more, better, authentic music. Either find a songwriting process that helps you to write more easily, or create one of your own. The aim of it should be to make songwriting easier and more accessible for yourself.
3. Develop Your Ear
If you can pick out melodies, harmonies, and rhythms, as well as structures within songs, you will have access to a deep ocean of ideas at your fingertips (or, in this case, ear drums. BUM BUM BUM GO THE EAR DRUMS). Developing your ear will also help in playing the ideas you hear in your head more accurately, and quickly. Its a lifetime skill to pursue, but the journey and the rewards are very much worth it.
4. Always Be Learning
When do you stop learning? Never. Never ever ever, dear student!
Love, a fellow student.
Life is always teaching us, and music is no exception. If you ever think you know it all, then you cannot progress any more, and part of the enjoyment of songwriting is growing to create new and different songs that show your character in that moment. In other words, being yourself in all stages of your musical growth.
5. Failure = Success
Master failing, and you will master success. No one started with a perfect song from the get-go, and neither will you. Nor I. Nor anyone! Its a common problem for songwriters to harshly put themselves down when they create mush on their first few go’s, and if only they would see those failures as stepping stones to their success, they would carry on, keep what works, ditch what doesn’t, and apply that knowledge to their next song, always experimenting, being brave and trying their own thing. Do this, and people will recognise you as an original songwriter in no time.
6. Practise Consistently
Practise everyday. Its how you develop your songwriting abilities sustainably, for the long term. You learn to enjoy the process, and the practise becomes something you look forward to. It doesn’t have to be every day, as long as its at least a regular part of your practise.
7. Embrace the fear
Yes, its scary to do songwriting. Do you think so? I know so. And so do you, I should think. Good sir/ madam, you are a brave entrepreneur in the art of music, and I tip my hat to you. Because if you’re reading this, you are truly investing in your love of songwriting. People may criticise your work, even though those criticisms may be less-than-knowledgable, ignorant of the struggle of creating your own work, but if you embrace your fear, of not being good enough, of never making it, of criticism… then you’ll find those cold, horrible voices turn to symphonies and orchestras of your brimming talent.
8. Get feedback from others
Now, criticism, when made constructively, is actually VERY useful. People who give constructive feedback on your songs will help you identify the areas you need to work on, as well as your strengths you may overlook or neglect. So, if you don’t get any currently, go ask for it. Yeah it might suck to do so, but its so worth it, as when you learn from the feedback and apply it to make even more awesome songs… Yeah, thats a good feeling of self-empowerment right there 🙂
9. Remix others ideas
Who says you can’t steal other people’s ideas?? Well, “steal” isn’t the best way to put it. Don’t simply outright copy someone note for note; instead, learn their idea, then tweak it, innovating upon it, changing it to add your own twist. Do this from many ideas at a time, and its called innovation, and is widely commended. Do this from just one idea, and its called copying. So check yourself, and intend to build on others work, rather than rip them off.
10. Take a break from trying
Sometimes, you just need a break. Some fresh air is waiting for you! Go get it! Breathe in that sunshine, that good arse prana baby, and let go of the desire to achieve. You’ll find that when you come back with a refreshed mind and body, your workflow will increase dramatically.
How to keep getting better
These last few points are more broad, and build on the points above, to help you keep improving for all your hobby/ career.
First, intend to songwrite. With an intention set, your mind and body will be heading in that direction of writing songs, and everything becomes at least 20% easier. Say it out loud to yourself, the louder the better.
Like mentioned earlier, always be learning. Whether its from your friends, from yourself, from those famous rock gods/ acoustic marvels that strut their stuff, or from the good old dark corners of the web, always be learning. This way, you keep an open mind for inviting the weird and wonderful, which make songwriting so fun.
Do you know any other songwriters? If not, then go find some, and hang out with them. At the very least, ask them for feedback on your songs, and ask to listen to their own. Even if you don’t like their songs, you can still appreciate and give some feedback, if you want. Like someone said, to get what you want in this life, all you need to do is help others get what they want. You might even find you make some cool friends that share the same interests as you. 🙂
Lastly, friends, enjoy the journey. Who knows where you’ll get to? It doesn’t matter really, not as much as the process itself. Yes, a goal is great, and we all want to achieve things in our life. But focus on enjoying the journey there, and no matter where you get to, you’ll find that it was worth it.
Have a wonderful day.
Having trouble with creating songs? Try some online 1-1 lessons. I offer 1 hour and 30 minute slots, where you’ll get access to a whole range of benefits, such as personal help from a professional songwriter, recorded lessons you can play back any time you like, and location and time flexibility for your lessons. Find out more here.