If you feel aimless, stuck, and not sure how to take your next creative step as a songwriter, you’re not alone. Countless music-makers have been in your shoes. When creativity and exciting musical ideas seem easy to access, we forget just how hard and frustrating it can be when we’re lost and uninspired. The good news is that if you manage to work through the inevitable challenging and unproductive periods that come your way from time to time, there are better times ahead.
If you’re reading this, you probably love making music but struggle to fit it into your daily life. Maybe you’re young and are tied up with a full-time non-musical job, or are in your thirties with a young family. Or, you have always wanted to pursue music seriously, but could never find the time. The truth is, you can make music creation a priority in your life regardless of your age, busy schedule, and musical experience. It just takes some planning and dedication.
When you set out to write a new song, there are countless creative paths you can take. Most will lead to places you’ve been before, but some paths will take you to new musical territories. Obviously, new and exciting directions are the places we want to take our music as songwriters, but getting there is rarely easy. It takes work to write great music, but you already know that.
But what you might not realize is that embracing strategies and routines can up your chances of making excellent music in a huge way. Here are four of them:
Persistence is one of the most valuable qualities to have as a musician. The “I won’t take no for an answer” attitude is an amazing quality to possess when you can’t seem to move a song idea forward or get anywhere in your local music scene. But what about the times that you should really take no for an answer? Persistence is a gift in an industry as competitive and soul-crushing as music, but without a flexible mindset and a willingness to learn, adapt, and grow, it could be holding you back.
When it comes to creating music seriously, there’s what the world thinks and then what music-makers know to be true. Music is arguably the most impactful art form on the planet, but for how popular it is much of the non-musical world doesn’t know much about what goes into creating it. These are just five of the many popular misconceptions out there about making music.
A song is a complicated thing. In your mind, your favorite songs probably feel like concrete, unchangeable ideas that are forever fixed, but the artists responsible for making the music you love might feel differently. Knowing when a song is “done” is important for songwriters, but, as we’ll find out, it’s a complicated thing that’s different for everyone.
Recording can be a grueling process even when a professional audio engineer is at the helm. But when an artist acts as a performer, producer, and recording engineer, it gets even trickier. Between the affordable cost of DIY recording equipment and a modern listening audience that’s come to expect a constant stream of new music, more artists are recording their own sessions than ever before. Self-recording is by no means an easy process, but you’ll be far better off if you remember these basic tips:
With venues opening their doors again in many parts of the world, you might find yourself feeling strangely nervous to perform in front of other people for the first time in years. Or, you could be new to live music and overwhelmed with dread at the thought of getting up on stage. Nerves can be a serious problem for performing musicians and stage fright has the power to thwart your performances even if you’ve practiced more than you think you need to. But nervousness doesn’t have to cause problems for your music career if you prepare in the right ways. Gradual exposure to live performance situations can help you overcome your fears and thrive on stage.