If you’ve always wanted to write music but have never tried it, you might be wondering if you need to master a musical instrument first before you give it a shot. From a non-musical perspective, there are big costs of entry to learning how to write music, and this is true to a degree. From the price of recording equipment or studio time to not knowing where to start, it isn’t always easy to get into songwriting if you have no experience. Luckily, when it comes to experience using an instrument needed for songwriting, you probably need a lot less than you might think.
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.
Music makes us and our listeners feel big, sexy, and profound things, so it can be tempting to think embracing extremes all the time will help us make our best work. But, as it turns out, this really isn’t the case. So often, unsexy things like planning, consistency, and discipline are the things that will help you be your best and most productive musical self as a songwriter. Here are five boring things to import into your musical life to help you create your best music:
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.
You might not realize this, but there’s an internal conflict that plays out whenever you write music. As songwriters, we carry the weight of our experiences and allow them to shape who we are and the music we make. Things like a traumatic breakup or the six months you backpacked across Europe inevitably show up in your music in subtle or overt ways. However, we often forget that our musical pasts have complicated impacts on the music we make in the present. Believe it or not, how you approached learning your first instrument could be bad for your songwriting process through an overreliance on control.
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.
When it comes to the things that can shape great music the most, inspiration is generally thought of as being the most important. But the hard truth is that inspiration is not the holy grail when it comes to factors that will help you write amazing music. Is it important? Yes, without a doubt. But it’s also deeply misunderstood, and, dare I say, overrated. We think inspiration falls into our laps and our ability to create our best work follows. This isn’t the case. While inspiration is an undeniable ingredient found in some of the world’s most impactful songs, it’s often not all it’s cracked up to be. Here are three big reasons why:
Write enough songs and you’ll eventually run into the problem of stagnation and feeling uninspired in your creative process. Combating this isn’t easy. It’s a process of willingly embracing newness and discomfort when we create. It’s the conscious decision to let failure and uncertainty shape your songs more than safely determining the outcome before you start writing. Bringing newness to your writing approach over and over again is one of the hardest but most rewarding things you’ll do as a music-maker, and it’s an essential part of sustaining a passionate songwriting approach. Here are a few ways to approach creating music in a completely new way: