When you first learned how to play an instrument, curiosity was unavoidable. Since you didn’t know what you were doing, you had questions that could only be answered with experimentation, trial and error, and failure. You set out to answer those questions one-by-one, and eventually you did. Most musicians don’t often think back to the early days of their training, but the curious energy that was so easy to access during that time is something that can benefit you no matter what you’re doing with your career in music. Here’s why curiosity is a vital trait in your songwriting process.
Faking it is something we’re sometimes told to do that will help us be successful in music, and there’s definitely some truth there. Getting up on stage and performing takes a lot of bravery for some musicians, and when they don’t feel brave, acting like they do is the next best thing. But when it comes to writing music that actually means something, honesty has to be at the core of your process. No, this doesn’t mean you need to sit through an hour of therapy before you write music, but it does entail coming to terms with who you are and how you really feel about the world around you in order to write engaging music.
Songwriting can be frustratingly unpredictable. You might write for six hours and come up with nothing memorable one day and come up with something incredible the minute you sit down the next. But believe it or not, songwriters are best off pursuing all their ideas, even the ones they think won’t go anywhere. Musicians risk cutting themselves off from opportunities to develop good ideas when they’re too rigid about their own creative processes, and one of the best ways to combat this is by following through on finishing all of your songs.
The idea of someone with tear-soaked eyes listening to sad songs in attempt to cope with a breakup seems like a tired cliche, but there’s definitely something universally relatable to it. The act of listening to music is often intensely personal and emotional, which makes it one of life’s best ways to understand and cope with being human. Because music reflects life, it benefits us in many different ways. Here’s just a few of them:
The process of crediting songwriters has always been somewhat tricky, but in today’s collaborative-driven songwriting culture it’s more important than ever before. Everything from songwriting collaboration software to trends increasingly favoring artists who feature one another in their work makes the process of properly crediting songwriters hugely important and often complicated.
In an era where the promise of instant gratification seems to penetrate most aspects of our daily lives, it can be tempting to look to technology and branding for ways to help us create better music. But in truth, the only thing that will improve your songwriting is practice. Yes, there’s a ton of non-musical work that’s involved in sustaining a meaningful career in music, but when it comes down to the sheer art of creating new music out of nothing, the time spent experimenting and honing in your craft is the only thing that will help you get better at what you do.
Ableton Live has become one of the most powerful Digital Audio Workstations (DAW) on the market today. Although it was designed primarily for live performance, it’s become a studio favorite. Originally built for DJs and electronic musicians, it still has enough audio capabilities to compete with other big-name DAWs. We’re introducing a new video series teaching basic Ableton tips and tricks so you can get started in Ableton Live today.
Unless the music you make is purely instrumental, the tone, felling, and narrative of the lyrical content in your songs is most likely going to be an important part of your musical identity. Depending on the kind of music you make, you might not think lyrics are all that important, but you’d be wrong. Yes, music speaks when words fail, but the stories portrayed in music often do a great deal as far as reaching out and relating to an audience. Approach lyrics with honesty, thoughtfulness, and poetic potency, and you’ll have a proven way to inspire real emotion and understanding from a listener. But all too often, songwriters rely on cliches to help tell the stories in their songs. Here are four lyrical cliches to avoid: