Learning music theory is a tough sell for some musicians. Since music-making is a rebellious creative pursuit for many, the idea of letting a determined set of rules inform the songwriting process can be unattractive. But the truth is that music theory doesn’t exist to confine or limit musicians. It’s a set of musical principals that are designed to explain and clarify the music we make and hear in the world around us. Musicians lose a valuable tool in their songwriting arsenals when they don’t bother to learn about music theory. If you’re a songwriter interested in learning about theory, here are three basics every musician should master:
Nothing feels better in music when your work genuinely clicks with an audience. Many of us make music in the hopes that what we create will go on to help listeners feel understood in some way, and seeing that happen can be an incredible payoff. So incredible, in fact, that a song or album’s success can inform the creative decisions we make in the future. The frustrating thing is that copying the songwriting formula that made an old idea successful and pasting it into a new songwriting context probably won’t result in more great music, and can actually work against you in a big way.
Songwriters get into trouble when they view the hard work of making music as something completely reliant on inspiration. Serious songwriters and producers who make music as a career can’t afford to wait for inspiration to come, and neither should you. The truth is that making great music takes work, sacrifice, and an uncompromising willingness to try and fail over and over again. If you’re tired of waiting on inspiration to make music, here are three exercises aimed at helping you increase your musical output:
We’ve opened up our DAW’s, ready to write the next big hit only to stare at a blank screen and save nothing. Writer’s block can be tough to deal with. You can begin to doubt yourself as an artist, become irritated, and lose motivation to work on music. Not being able to start a song or continue with a song that you have been working on is inevitable though. Even the most accomplished artists experience writer’s block from time to time. There are, however, a few tried and tested ways to help you break out of writer’s block quicker and get you back into the creative zone.
Below is a list of several ways to help combat the dreaded writer’s block.
Feeling creatively stuck, lost, or lacking, is an uncomfortable reality that all musicians inevitably face at some point during their careers. Whether it’s the nauseating sense that you’re writing the same song over and over again, or the inability to finish ideas, lacking creative potency can be frustrating. This especially goes for musicians who appear to be bursting with original ideas one day and none the next.
An unconventional way for musicians to address this problem is by thinking about their own unique musical taste. What you like isn’t exactly what you’ll make as a musician, but it’s connected in a big way. Challenging your music taste can get you thinking about music in a new way, and in turn, help to boost your own creativity.
Feeling lost and uninspired as a songwriter is a pretty awful feeling. When the flow of ideas narrows down to a trickle without warning or explanation, songwriters usually have to change up their process to get things moving again. If you’re feeling creatively stuck making music, we’ve got four exercises to promote inspiration and put you in a new musical mindset:
Writing music for the first time can be one of the most exciting things in the world, no matter your age and ambition. Whether you’re still in high school or have been a musician for decades, writing music is an experience different than anything else. But things like fear of failure and not knowing where to begin keeps a lot of musicians from writing music. If you’re someone interested in writing music for the first time, here are three things to remember during the process:
You might not think of it this way, but making music is risky. What if what you come up with is bad? Or, almost worse, what if you love what you write but it doesn’t click with anyone else? Self-doubt is a major hurdle that keeps musicians from meeting their potential, but there’s another culprit out there that’s just as dangerous for songwriters but far less talked about: disorganization. Creating a songwriting schedule is a solid way to ensure you reach your goals by getting big things done incrementally and consistently.