Songwriting is arguably one of the most compelling art forms. It is humanity looking back at itself – giving us the ability to reflect in profound ways. A song about heartbreak has the power to bring a person to their knees by ways of evoking memories that are universal. One of our most important missions as songwriters is to present universal experiences to listeners in human and accessible ways.
Making human experiences come off as interesting in music demands a delicate balance. By simply saying “I’m in love and am very happy in this moment,” you may be missing out on an opportunity for greater creative license. However, that same idea presented as “Since I found you, I don’t feel like eating spiders anymore,” rings cryptic and obscure past the point of comprehension.
If you struggle with feeling forced to decide between following your creative intuition and staying stylistically consistent as a songwriter, you’re not alone. It’s not easy to know whether to stay the course or constantly forge new creative paths as a musician, and, spoiler alert, there is no one wrong or right way to go about this because every songwriter is unique. But there are a couple of universal truths you can look to for guidance if you find yourself in this tricky position as a music-maker.
Making music isn’t easy, but we often make it a lot harder than it has to be. If you’re committed to being a serious songwriter, music creation has to become a regular part of your life. And while there are some significant sacrifices involved with doing this, there are some simple life changes that are easy to make and will benefit your music in huge ways. Here are five manageable life changes that can improve your music:
Curiosity is by far one of the most important traits to embrace as a songwriter. By asking questions, you’ll get new perspectives for your music; ways of seeing and hearing that will take your music into exciting new directions. But coupled with curiosity is the risk of failure, and whether we realize it or not while writing, most of us try our best to avoid failure at all costs, even if that means not living up to our potential as music-makers. Pursuing music in an open, curious way takes intention and work. These five strategies will help you to prioritize curiosity in your songwriting practice:
The things we write music about in our early twenties aren’t usually the things we write about in our late thirties as songwriters. That’s an obvious observation, but what’s much more subtle are the ways that musical inspiration can bend and shift over time as we develop life experiences. If music creation is an important part of your life, the truth is that you won’t be able to write authentically if your musical inspirations stay the same year after year. You and your music change over the years, so the ways you feel creatively inspired should too.
When times are good and inspiration is easy to find, making music can feel like the most natural and exciting thing in the world for an artist. But when things get rough, writing something exciting and meaningful can feel impossible. If you’re still sticking to the idea that writing music only when you feel like it will result in you reaching your songwriting goals, the truth is that you’re limiting yourself in a huge way.
Every songwriter’s creative process is unique and shaped by dramatically different factors––goals, intuition, experience level, genre. For example, most seasoned professional songwriters follow rules and expectations that most developing artists don’t have to think about when writing a song. But the idea of recording and producing music that can’t be played live is something that musicians of every experience level should consider. From making live shows much more complicated than they need to be to impacting the humanity and immediacy of your writing, creating unperformable music comes with some significant drawbacks.
Sheet music has been a growing area to generate new income for musicians in the last few years. Releasing sheet music not only provides the obvious benefit of generating more income, but it also poses unique marketing and fan engagement opportunities. So, in this blog post we will share four ways that selling your sheet music can provide opportunities for you as a musician: