How To Improve Songwriting

Posted by Mike Schuck

A song is a story, sometimes beautifully told with strong narrative flow and characters involved. The lyrics are one of the most important parts of a song, as they not only tell your audience what the song is about, but for many artists, they are the main component in creating their music.

The best songs have great lyrics that stick with you, ones that make you feel something, whether it be happiness, sadness, or anything in between. They can describe things vividly and clearly, telling a tale along with the music.

Songwriters spend a lot of time writing lyrics, which is why some people may feel that they are more valuable than other members of the team. After all, who wants to work on a project where the cost-effective player gets the highest praise? It’s a risk factor that lots of creative types struggle with!

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Writing lyrics takes practice, and there’s no magic formula to learn how. However, using these tips will help you write better lyrics that connect with others. You want to strive to write very well written lyrics, however, even if you don’t think your lyrics are too good, just writing them anyway will help you perfect your craft.

These articles will focus mostly on practical ways to improve your lyric writing, so keep an eye out for those! But first, let’s talk about the three major styles of lyrical structure used in music.

Become a good reader of music

As we know, songwriters spend a lot of time reading about songs and how musicians built upon what previous styles are. They study lyrics, melody, bass lines, rhythm, and harmonic patterns. These things make up the framework of a song!

But aside from learning about the parts of a song, you can also learn a lot by listening to lots of different songs. You may even be able to identify which components an artist developed into their own style or talent.

By becoming a good listener, you’ll start picking up on all these little tips and tricks that song writers use.

Learn to take criticism positively

how to improve songwriting

Even if you’re not quite sure what someone is telling you about your song, try to look at it as constructive. Most people who like music are actually very passionate about it, so chances are they’ll be trying to help you make yours better by giving their opinions more seriously.

If you get defensive or feel attacked when someone tells you something that you don’t agree with, this will only hurt your writing process and self-confidence. Instead of looking at these comments as negative, see them for opportunities to learn.

Some tips? Try listening actively instead of just hearing what you have been trained to listen to. If you really want to improve your songs, then read some book chapters, watch some YouTube videos, or even buy a few books to strengthen your writing skills.

Understand the fundamentals of music

how to improve songwriting

A fundamental element in song writing is understanding what makes a good melody. It is very easy to take any piece of music you like and try to modify the notes or lyrics into different patterns, but that is not helping you develop your song writing skills.

Music is just about sequences of sounds and pictures, so when you want to write your own songs, start by looking at some examples you love and see how the melodies are structured.

You can also learn how to compose using instruments such as piano, guitar, bass, and voice. There are many great resources available online and through your local school or community centers.

Learn to take risks

how to improve songwriting

As we know, songwriters are artists who create songs or stories via writing! Artists use different tools depending on the genre of their music, but all have a basic structure that includes lyrics, melodies, and rhythm.

A lot of people get stuck in a rut when it comes to songwriting because they fear taking creative chances. They are too careful not to risk being seen as “no good” at what they do. But this is totally unnecessary!

If you want to improve your songwriting, then you need to be willing to try out new things. You need to challenge yourself by trying out new styles, genres, and concepts.

This will force you to write better lyrics, melodies, and rhythms since you will have to work hard to fit something else into those areas.

But don’t just throw away what you wrote before either. Take time to organize what you've got and make sure it's perfect before moving onto the next thing.

Connect with other musicians

how to improve songwriting

As we already mentioned, songwriters come from all backgrounds- music is a large pool of skills and concepts. What’s great about this is that you are never too old or too inexperienced to learn something new!

Songs are built upon layers of music theory (like rhythm, melody, and harmony) and how these components influence each other. When writing your own songs, take time to study what others have done, and apply those lessons in your own style.

Writers groups and online forums are a great way to connect with likeminded people who can help you develop as a writer. You may also be able to pick up some tips and tricks here.

There are many free resources available via sites such as YouTube, soundcloud, and blogs.

Music theorists and professional writers are often willing to share their knowledge and insights for nothing more than having someone listen. Take advantage of this source of information by offering your services in return.

And don’t forget, even if you aren’t quite at the pro level just yet, you can still contribute valuable ideas and inspiration through literature and examples.

Practice consistently

how to improve songwriting

A great way to improve your songwriting is to practice every day! This can be for twenty minutes, an hour or even more than that depending on what kind of songs you want to write and how motivated you are at the time.

Practicing music is a skill that most people have, which makes it much easier to pick up as a beginner. Most students learn how to play the guitar very quickly because they know there’s something valuable in learning how to play the instrument.

The same goes for writing lyrics and melodies. By investing in your craft regularly, you’ll find yourself improving faster than before.

And don’t worry about not being good enough yet – this is totally normal! We all start out as noobs (no one else) and then we keep practicing and developing our skills until we feel like we ‘measure up.’

For many people, this takes years but doesn’t matter too much because they love their work and are able to relate to it. If you’re not quite there yet, just keep going till you are! You’d be surprised how far you will come if you stick with it.

Stay positive

how to improve songwriting

A lot of people get discouraged when it comes to songwriting because they cannot find the inspiration or the stories that help them write their next song.

Music is such a versatile art form that there are so many ways to use it. It can be done for entertainment, education, marketing, and more!

But writing songs is also an exercise in creativity, expression, and storytelling. Using music as a tool to tell your story can add depth and nuance to what you want to say.

So instead of getting frustrated when you do not immediately feel inspired, try looking at things from a different angle. You may just need to take a break and come back later.

Alternatively, you could read up on concepts related to songwriting to see if those give you some new ideas.

Whatever you do, never give up! If this article made you think twice about whether or not you should give up, then kudos to you!

Hopefully you learned something here today and will continue to hone your craft as a writer.

Use a creative mind set

how to improve songwriting

A creative mindset is one that encourages you to create, experiment with new ideas, explore different styles, and challenge yourself to write in various genres.
As we have seen before, songwriters come from all walks of life and are influenced by many things.

Some learn music theory as kids and later apply it to songs. Others may begin writing poems and using them in their songs.

There’s no wrong way to be a good writer. What matters most is how you feel about your own writing and what kind of results you want to get.

And don’t worry if your first draft isn’t perfect! Many great writers make several versions of a manuscript or article before finalizing it.

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