How To Improve Songwriting SkillsPosted by Mike Schumacher
A song is a story, or at least it should be! This goes beyond just having lyrics that tell a narrative, there should be events, actions, emotions, and conversations happening in the song.
Music is such a powerful tool. It can motivate you, entertain you, and keep you listening for more than just minutes of time – it can also enhance your daily life experiences.
Songwriters have been writing songs since ancient times. Some even say that poems were first written as songs. The best musicians use their skills to write catchy melodies, elaborate riffs, and interesting rhythms and patterns.
Many people are too focused on what style of music they like and not how to write their own songs. They may listen to lots of songs, but they do not try to imitate any one artist’s style.
It is very important to know how other artists wrote songs before trying to put yours together. You can learn from their styles and apply those concepts to your own songs.
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There are many ways to improve your songwriting skills. In this article, we will go over five easy tips that anyone can do.
Become a fan of artists
As we already mentioned, songwriters are always inspired by other songs. The lyrics, melodies, and/or rhythms of past songs make up for the lack of original content in their own work.
By listening to enough music, you’ll eventually stumble upon an album or track that sticks with you and makes you feel something. It may be a good feeling or it may be sorrow, but it will motivate you to write your own material about that topic.
The musicians behind those songs were very passionate about what they wrote so why not do the same thing? By learning how they did things can help you become more skilled at writing your own songs as well.
If you’re ever struggling to come up with new lyrics, listen to some of these over and over again.
Watch music videos
A lot of songwriters these days use music as a way to express their feelings, learn new songs, hone their writing skills, and connect with other people who share their love of music.
Music is a universal language, which makes listening to music you like and then re-interpreting those lyrics are great ways to do all of this!
Watching music videos is an excellent way to do that because it gives you insight into how the artist uses music in media, how they organize songs, and what styles and genres they include.
You can also watch them for their artistic quality or just to see how professional artists work.
There are many sites where you can find free and paid music video content so no matter your budget, there’s always something you can check out.
Keep a music journal
A lot of songwriters keep a running diary in which they write down songs, lyrics or notes that inspire them or help with their writing process. By doing this, you’re keeping a record of your creative processes, so you can refer back to those materials later.
You can also add additional information into the diary such as recording equipment and software used, how much money you spent on music, what genres inspired you, and more. All these things are valuable resources for your songwriter career!
By taking time every day to do something related to your craft, you will see improvement over time. It doesn’t matter if you’re not getting any work done, only using limited amounts of music, or going through an especially tough writing period – your efforts will still be worth it in the end.
Running a notebook or other type of diary is a good way to track your music making habits.
Read up on songwriting
Reading music theory and writing songs are two very different things, but they share one important element: A lot of people do it! If you’re ever struggling to make the pen drop from your hand, read about the craft.
There are many great books that focus exclusively on songwriting. These are often referred to as “songwriter” or “writers’ manuals.” Some of the best seller such works include The Artist’s Handbook (Newberg) and Writing Your Own Songs (Rash). Both of these books go into detail about how to start composing and what tools can be used to improve the process.
The way that most successful writers approach their work is by gathering ideas in a notebook and then developing them into full-length pieces. By doing this outside of the studio, you can return home and hone your skills before heading back into the creative space.
This is also an excellent way to begin practicing your handwriting. When you write down your ideas in another medium, you give yourself more room to explore and take time to organize thoughts.
Practice making songs less is about practice
As we mentioned before, song writing is an art that takes time to perfect. It’s not something you can learn in a few hours or days, but rather it requires repeated effort over an extended period of time.
That being said, this doesn’t mean you need to write a full length album every day!
You can choose any amount of time frames for practicing your song writing skills – one week,one month, one year- and within those timeframes you can decide to do nothing more than write a short sentence or two, or you can take some longer breaks between writings but still try to add up all the components as quickly as possible.
The main thing to remember when investing your time into improving your song writing is that it will not make progress if you are not willing to put in the work. You will have to push yourself to truly get better at it, which may be what people don’t like to do sometimes.
Find your inspiration
A lot of people get into song writing when they feel that there’s something in them that doesn’t work. They think, “I want to be a writer, so I will!” But what happens is they write some stuff and then it gets lost because they don’t know how to properly preserve their creativity for later.
Songwriters who succeed outnumber those that fail by a wide margin — which means there are lots of ways to pick up tips about the craft. You can find many types of songs at any given time (ballads, rap, power ballads, etc.) and learn from other writers whose style you like.
Reading music theory textbooks and listening to music of all styles thoroughly are great starting points to hone your skills. There are many sites with free lessons online as well!
Finding your source of inspiration and preserving that element of yourself that makes your creative juices flow should be your top priority. If you need help finding yours, try asking yourself these questions: What do I love? What moves me? What dreams have i been chasing? What experiences have shaped me?
Once you figure that out, go back through your notes and organize them according to theme or area of interest. Start looking through books and resources related to that field to see if anything jumps out to you.
Connect with other songwriters
As we mentioned before, writing songs is a craft that requires you work constantly on your skills and process. This includes studying how music functions and can be structured, working on lyrics, and practicing both vocally and via instruments.
But what most people don’t do is connect with like-minded artists or writers!
By interacting with others in the field, you’ll find there are many different strategies and tricks for songwriting. You’ll also get inspiration from their creative processes and examples of well-written songs.
So whether you’re just starting out as a writer or you feel stuck, actively engaging with other writers is an excellent way to refresh your creativity.
There are several ways to connect with other musicians and writers.
Take a class
A great way to learn song writing is by taking music classes or lessons. There are many types of courses and instructors that can teach you different aspects of songwriting, from learning the basics of lyrics and music theory, to more in-depth studies such as composing or recording techniques.
Many universities offer courses in songwriting, either through their music department or creative writing departments. Some may even have a joint degree program with another field like business or art.
Music schools also typically offer both individual and group tuition options. With group tuition, students get paired up with other students of similar skill levels so that they can be supervised while working on songs together. This is especially helpful if you’re not quite sure how to begin!
Group classes allow for collaborations which can inspire new ideas. Many musicians find it beneficial to bounce ideas off of each other and discuss concepts before diving into them on your own.
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.