Writing your songs, can you? Don’t panic. If you just start, you have already made a big step. In this blog post, we list the most different topics related to the topic of songwriting. From music theory for beginners, tips on the best places to write songs such as sitting on an egg chair (egg chairs have become hugely popular in recent years), to recording advice. It makes no difference whether you just want to write some songs, purely for yourself or because you want to tackle it professionally and become known as a songwriter. No doubt you will find a few useful, practical tips here!
Writing music is a skill: practice!
Anything new in the beginning can be tricky and this includes songwriting. The annoying thing is that if you follow too many rules, this will not benefit the result. But on the other hand, it is also not useful if you are only very creative and do not develop in terms of songwriting skills. Other people may not understand your music and as with any skill, whether it’s public speaking, cooking, carpentry, or driving a car, musicality and writing lyrics is included. So practice!
Songwriting: everyone tackles it in their way
Songwriting consists of lyrics and music. Most people have been able to talk and write for much of their lives, but making music is a whole other art. That there are still many development points here will certainly not come as a surprise. So the question is how can you work on your musical skills as an aspiring songwriter? Everyone takes a different approach. One works purely on feeling, the other first delves into the theory and another do a mix of both. Whichever way you approach it, it certainly doesn’t hurt to take some time to read about music theory and chord schemes. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and just start with orientation. You will automatically find out what does and does not appeal to you.
Making music and writing lyrics
As mentioned, a good songwriter should be able to do two things: make music and write lyrics. As far as writing texts is concerned, you are lucky, because as a child you learned to talk and write at a young age. However, this can also be a pitfall if you think you don’t have to learn anything more in this area. Of course, that is not the case. There is a difference between someone who plays football in the schoolyard once a week and someone who plays at a professional club or someone who has just obtained his driver’s license or drives a Formula 1 car. You don’t just become very good at something. This takes time (and practice) to get better every day. This is also the case with songwriting.
Don’t forget to record your songs
If you would like to show your song to family, friends, acquaintances, or fans, then recording your songs is the fastest and easiest way. For this, you will have to make several decisions. Do you record it with your mobile? Do you buy recording equipment yourself or do you go to a professional music studio? Everything has its advantages and disadvantages and everything has a different price tag.
The next question is: do you perform your songs yourself or do you ask a guest musician? Also, read smart ways to set up your own ‘affordable’ music studio Maybe you have a friend with a beautiful voice, so you can accompany them on the guitar or piano. After everything has been recorded, you can optimize the result through a good mix. Do you have serious ambitions as a songwriter? Don’t underestimate that step, because a good sound is very important for successful songs.
Use a video with your song
Most people are visually inclined and the well-known saying goes: a video is worth a thousand words. Using a video is therefore not a good way to attract attention to your song. Thanks to the ever-improving quality of smartphone cameras (and many editing apps), but also because of the possibility to get good recording material for little money, it is always easy to achieve a professional-looking result.
Different genres: writing in the style
No two songs are the same. For example, if you want to write typical Easter songs, you will have to be a little more creative than just incorporating the word ‘Easter’. Even when you write a song for a special occasion, such as a wedding, it is wise to take a good look at what works and what does not work on such an occasion.
ALSO READ: The Therapeutic Value Of Music
Ambitions to make money as a songwriter?
If you have written several songs and you are now an advanced songwriter, you may have the ambitions to become better known and earn money with it. Quite a challenge in itself, because yes you need a bit of luck sometimes, but just like songwriting itself, the promotion of your music and surrounding yourself with the right people is an art that you can develop.
Writing lyrics with a musical instrument
If you’re at a point where you’re an advanced songwriter, you might be able to compose songs in your head. But, almost all lyricists (themselves professional), write their lyrics with a musical instrument, such as a guitar or a piano. The best investment! If you are also going to record your songs and a professional studio is too expensive, then recording equipment is a good alternative. Fortunately, this does not have to cost so much. With a USB microphone, for example, you can conveniently achieve an amazingly good result as a starting songwriter. With that as a starting point, you can gradually expand. For example, you could make a set-up with multiple microphones that are connected to an audio interface. The sound comes together in DAW software, where you can mix and add things like reverb and other effects.
Prior knowledge songwriter
For beginners, it is recommended to have the necessary prior knowledge before you start writing your first song. Anyone who wants to learn to cook must first know what kind of pan is needed. This creates questions such as is oil or butter better and how high should the fire be? This increases the chance of a smooth start, which benefits the motivation to keep going. You certainly need this in the long term to get better at it. But just as there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of cookbooks, there are also countless YouTube channels and workshops. Decide for yourself what works best and go for it!
Knowing the basics
So what exactly are the basic elements of a song? Form, melody, chords, and the text. First, decide which form you want to use: ABABCB, also called the verse chorus variant, is usually what you hear on the radio. However, The Beatles and Billy Joel often wrote their lyrics in the AABA form.
‘Knowing what the basic elements help you to make writing a song a success’.
Now, of course, it is not a rule that is never deviated from, because this is also personal and different per case. According to songwriter Jason Blume (author of ‘6 Steps to Songwriting Succes’), the melody is the best starting point because no one is humming chord schemes at a coffee machine in the morning.
The more incomplete work you limit, the better!
A good tip regarding writing lyrics comes from a songwriting legend and previous vice president of ASCAP – ‘Ralph Murphy’. He claims, “If you get stuck after writing the first verse, you have not written the first but the second verse.” The British singer/songwriter ‘Tom Odell’ has elevated this principle to the rule of thumb: he writes the first verse as standard as the last. Such insights are very valuable when you consider that many songwriters have an endless collection of semi-finished products on the shelf. Quite a shame, but at the same time unavoidable. But, the more you manage to limit the amount of incomplete work, the better. Half a song never becomes a whole demo and that’s what you end up considering. That first class demo, that next stop on the road to success!