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:
Filling a space with a song that was previously occupied by nothing is incredible if you think about it. Today, we’re surrounded by so much music, that it often feels like it comes out of nowhere, though if you’re a musician reading this, you know that’s not true. Just like a house is built using materials and a thorough plan, music takes time and resources to make. For many songwriters, the tricky part comes with knowing what amount of time they should be devoting to their work. Spend too little on an idea, and it could come out under-developed and rushed. But spend too much time on an idea, and you could end up wasting your time never finishing it. Is there a middle ground to look for?
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.