How To Get Good At SongwritingPosted by Mike Schuck
As we already discussed, songwriters are very creative people that use music to express their emotions and/or convey messages. Their songs can be totally new songs written for a recording artist or they can be adaptations of other songs with lyrics added in.
Most professional songwriters start writing their own songs when they were teenagers. Some even write while still in high school! This is because it’s such an easy way to hone your creativity as a person, and you get great rewards from creating something yourself.
The more you expose yourself to different types of music, the better you will become at writing your own songs. You don’t need to know anything about music beyond what instruments sound good together, but by knowing the basics of how artists developed their musical styles, you’ll have a head start.
This article will go into greater detail about some things you can do to improve your songwriting skills. We'll discuss why being able to identify chords, melody, rhythm, and lyrics is important, along with strategies to apply them to create your own songs.
Develop your musical taste
A songwriter must have a strong music library that they know about, in order to begin writing songs. You can’t write anything of value without knowing what you like!
As cliché as this sounds, it is true. Too many people get into songwriting because they want to be a famous musician or create their own band. But none of these things will matter much if you don’t first develop your ability to make music yourself.
You need to understand how instruments work, what styles are effective for making music, and why certain lyrics work with a rhythm or melody. All of these things contribute to getting the hang of writing songs.
Another important thing to learn is how to use music software such as GarageBand, ProTools, or any other similar applications. These tools can help you edit, record, and produce your songs more efficiently.
Join a band
Being a writer is all about creating stories, which can be songs or anything else. If you want to get better at writing lyrics, then start by joining a group of people that are already doing it!
Writing for other people is an excellent way to hone your songwriting skills. Not only will you get critiques of your work, but you’ll also get new material to add to your own repertoire.
There are many ways to join a band. You could become a full time member with a company that manages their social media pages for them. Or you could just contribute what you have when they ask for it.
Either way, being in a band comes with its share of responsibilities. A lot of times, someone will write the music first and then invite you to collaborate on the rest of the pieces.
Give those writers credit for helping you build upon theirs! It’s an easy way to learn how to do it.
Keep a notebook of ideas
A note book is the best place to keep your song writing notes, stories, lyrics, or even melodies. You can organize it by topic or genre, and you can add new pages as needed!
You do not have to include every word in the songs that you write, but it is helpful to take some time to connect what you write with music.
Some writers get so focused on the content that they forget to give their work an appropriate voice.
If you are struggling to find your musical style, there are many ways to improve this. There are lots of resources available to help you develop yours, so do not hesitate to look into them. You may also want to consider taking singing lessons to hone your vocal skills.
Create a writing routine
A lot of writers get stuck because they don’t have time to write. You need to make time to create your writing habit, even if it's for just half an hour every day.
By establishing a regular writing period each week, you'll be more likely to put in the effort needed to produce quality content.
You can also do this outside of work hours - it doesn't matter what time zone or lifestyle you're in, there's no reason you should not be investing in yourself as a writer.
Start with half an hour a day and add time as you grow into it. As soon as you feel ready, increase the length of your session. Don't worry about being perfect – writing is a process that takes practice!
What matters most is that you use the pen to paper (or keyboard) once a day. Even if you only sit down for five minutes, your mind will keep rolling over all the thingsyou've got to do afterwards, which could lead to some interesting ideas.
Get to work on your creative process
Starting with the lyrics, most songwriters will begin by writing down what they know. Whether it’s from personal experience or through reading, listening to music, and watching movies, you can make notes and sketches about things that you have learned and incorporated into yourself.
If you ever feel like there is something missing in your songs, do some research and see if anything comes up. Or try experimenting with different genres and styles to find one that feels right.
Next, write short verses that compliment the other parts of the song.
Practice making songs longer
A lot of songwriters start with what’s known as the hook-and-verses structure, where you have a catchy chorus or verse paired with an equally catchy pre-chorus.
The hardest part about writing a song is actually sticking the two pieces together into one continuous piece. This is called the bridge. The bridge usually contains some sort of narrative (a story) that connects the two main parts of the song.
It’s very difficult to write a good bridge if you don’t spend time writing short, easy verses and long, elaborate bridges. So how can we learn how to do this?
Practice making songs longer!
A lot of aspiring writers get hung up on the first stage of songwriting, which is coming up with the lyrics. After all, creating a great rhyme or rhythm takes practice too!
But there are many ways to improve your songwriting by going beyond just thinking of words for a while! Taking music more seriously will help you in other areas of songwriting.
You could take some classes on composing, analysis of musical styles, or even recording yourself singing along to songs to hone your voice. All of these apply to writing songs as well!
There are also several apps and softwares that can aid you in the process of writing.
Learn to edit your work
A song is more than just music mixed with lyrics, it is also editing! As mentioned before, you have to start with a melody or intro, then add lyrics that fit the rhythm of the music, and finally, develop your ability to take those songs and “edit” them by changing what you put in and taking out things.
For example, when someone hears a new song they may like the vocals but not the rest of the track. They may like one part (like the chorus) but not the other parts (the verse or instrumental section). This is why you must be able to edit yourself. If you want people to like your writing, learn how to fix mistakes and cut off bits that do not match what they wanted to hear!
Your first draft will almost certainly need some fixing, so don't worry about perfectionism too much until you feel comfortable letting go of the pen.
Learn to market your music
As we mentioned before, songwriters are typically not very business-minded. They believe that their songs will speak for themselves and people will find them and listen to them because they just “know” when someone else wants to hear what they have to offer.
That is totally understandable as a beginner writer! But the truth is, you need to understand marketing and how to promote yourself and your work if you want to see success in the long run.
You may think that with all of the artists out there, no one notices the new bands or musicians who are trying to make it big. That’s why most people never try to get more exposure for themselves – they don’t feel like they deserve it.
But being an artist isn’t necessarily about having a lot of money attached to your name anymore. Technology makes it possible for anyone to reach an audience almost instantly.
With all of these tools, you can connect with your fans and spread your message beyond the walls of your studio. You can start by creating your own YouTube channel and then sharing your songs and tips via social media.
Getting into the rhythm of promotional efforts will boost your self-confidence and help you grow as a musician.
The Jam Addict team is a revolving door of writers who care about music, its effects on culture, and giving aspiring artists tools and knowledge to be inspired and keep on creating.
If you have any questions or concerns or just want to drop us a line, don't hesitate to contact us! We always appreciate the feedback.