Even the most talented songwriters can’t create their best music without putting in the work. If you want to make the best music you can, you’ll need to show up to the creation process over and over again throughout your life, not just when you feel inspired to. Living a musical life happens week by week, and there’s a lot you can do each day to create the best work you can as often as possible. Adopting these weekly habits will help dramatically improve your life as a serious songwriter:
Openness and curiosity are important positive traits for serious musicians to have. However, saying yes to every opportunity that comes your way is a bad idea. Whether you make music full-time for your job or during every spare moment you can, you have a limited amount of resources and time as a musician. Committing your time and attention to the wrong things in music means missing out on the things that will actually make a difference in your career. Here are five examples of things you should probably say no to in music:
Frustration, uncertainty, and disappointment are unavoidable for someone who pursues music as a career. With so much out of our control as songwriters, producers, and performers, it can be tempting to think that we don’t have any say over what happens to our music. In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. When you focus on the things you have direct control of in music, you put yourself on a path towards fulfilling your creative potential and reaching your goals.
For most artists, touring is essential for earning an income and building an audience. But being on the road all the time comes with costs, especially with not being able to easily write and record new songs in a music culture that demands more music more often than ever before. Songwriting and touring aren’t exactly compatible, but it is possible to write while you tour. Here are a couple of tips for how to do it:
If you’re an active songwriter, it’s safe to assume you have a lot of unfinished ideas rolling around inside your brain taking up space on your hard drives. We think if we write a ton of music, we’ll eventually stumble on a couple ideas that are really good, and this is true. However, there’s one important caveat that often gets left out of this conversation. Without transforming your ideas into finished songs, you’ll make it harder to write your best music and reach your full potential as a songwriter.
If you’re new to songwriting or even if you have plenty of experience, you might find it hard to write lyrics. Many talented songwriters are perfectly fine with bearing their souls through every musical aspect of their songs but struggle when it comes to matching music with words. If this sounds like you, it could be because you simply have no clue what to write about. Or, you may think lyrics are like windows to the soul and have no interest in revealing yours through your music. But the truth is that at any point in time, there’s an endless list of topics to write music about. And there’s no rule saying the lyrics in your music need to be emotionally deep or revealing. The important thing to focus on is creating work that feels unique and authentic to you. For songwriters struggling to do this through the lyrics in their music, here are four tips to help.
In songwriting and music production, it’s tempting to think that more will translate to better, whether it’s more effects, drum fills, instrumentation, or extremes. This, as you probably know, isn’t true of course. Some of the best music out there embraces simple, uncomplicated ideas and minimal instrumentation. But something you may not realize is that laying the emotion as thick as possible in your songwriting could also taint your otherwise great ideas. Too much emotion can be as harmful as too much of anything else in the songs you create.
If you’re having trouble finding your musical identity as an artist, it could be because your taste in music hasn’t been defined yet. Alongside musical intuition, writing music as often as you can, and letting life experiences shape your songs, your musical taste is incredibly important for your work as a songwriter. When you’re in touch with your musical taste, creating music that’s meaningful and authentic to you gets much easier. Here are five tips for defining your unique musical taste as a songwriter.