On Songwriting: Songwriting Tips For Beginners
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It really depends on the type of music you are making, the way you express yourself through sound, but songwriting is in most cases a part of your music journey. It may seem easy when you think about it, but good songwriting can be a pretty challenging situation. Just as many other things, it is something that can be improved over time. It is one thing to find yourself as an instrumentalist, but totally other thing to find yourself as a songwriter. Here’s a few tips to get you going, especially if you are new to this:
Listen to your music
If you have the instrumental piece ready, and you’re missing the right words to go over it, sit down and carefully listen to what you have. Something caused you to come up with that music after all. So what was it? What inspired it, affected it, influenced it? These are things that might take you to the right lyrics when it comes to their context. Lyrics many times not only go along with the instruments, but they are the crown of your piece. They stick in your listener’s head, and they deliver something. They have a meaning. Give yourself the genuine approach your music deserves and try to grasp what is the mood, the feeling that hides behind it.
Start with a word
When you listen to your instrumental, think of what reminds you of. Is it sadness, or nostalgia, a person, a place? Where does it take you? What is it that you picture in front of you when you close your eyes and listen to it. Write down the first word and start working around it. That first word pops into your head for a reason.
Simplicity and songwriting
I won’t ever say this as an absolute when it comes to music writing, respecting already existing pieces with different structures in their core, without hooks and with long lines of words to hear, there are quite a few of these that are worth your time and respect, but.. I feel like there is quite the beauty in keeping things simple, as well. So, thoughts may rush and you’ll want to say a lot. Say it, write it down. And once again, work around it. Eliminate what you think can go away. Keep your words simple. Keep them true to the way you express yourself. Don’t rush. Build a structure that belongs in the rest of the picture. This can take time.
When the songwriting is done but you are missing the melody…
Yup. This can happen too. Why wouldn’t it? Art works in mysterious ways. So what happens when you have the song written and ready, but you need to add a melody? I feel like this can almost be a completely different topic, but if previously when you were missing words you had to listen to your melody, it is now time to listen to your words. They too, have a melody behind them.
So now open your ears and picture the sound behind your poetry. Songwriting without melody is simply poetry. Read it to your instruments.
Fix it up, but don’t overdo it
It can aaaaaaaalways be better than we originally did it. It is a fact. We grow and mature, even artistically. But that doesn’t mean it is bad. So when you listen to your final product after the songwriting, I am sure you will have a few things you’ll want to work on and change. But find a nice equilibrium and a limit to which you stop, before you turn it into something completely different.
So.. are there any specific rules I am supposed to follow to hit the charts with my song?
Yes, yes.. there are. Tons of them. You can find them somewhere here. You know, the verse, the hook, the build, the outro.. What opens, what your words should focus on, what is easy to sing along to. But it is all really hidden in the nature of your work. And if you ask me, that is the only rule you should follow.
When you are in a band
I am in a band. And when we first started playing, we had quite the situation with songrwriting. Why? Well, first because there’s four of us. I remember after our first rehearsal ever, we had an amazing time jamming for about an hour, and then looked at the singer who sat there and we remembered – oh, words. There’s supposed to be words. So who decides about the words? Who writes them? It doesn’t mean it should be just one of you. Give it a discussion with your band. What’s your music really about. Everyone contributing to at least the context of the lyrics is important, since you are all experiencing the music. The rest you can leave to the one that’s best at being the penmaster.
Is rhyme everything?
Not really. There is music out there in which the songwriting didn’t produce that much of a rhyme, and they still sound perfectly good. Which leads me to…
Lyrics aren’t essentially everything
See, there is this thing we are taught when our job involves human beings. And it is to look at them as a whole structure of biological, social and psychological, that create an individual. I feel like it’s the same with songs. It’s not just the lyrics, or just the melody, it is the whole thing. Everything contributes to an extent, and create what you have in front of you. So, take it easy.
When working on a song, it can take a really short time to have it all wrapped up and ready to go. But many times this isn’t the case. Songwriting, especially. It doesn’t mean that it should happen in one sitting. Make sure to take your time. Make sure to work on the concept. It’s important to build that bridge between you, the words and the melody. It should all come from the same place before you get more technical. This is important because your lyrics should touch your audience and be your blueprint.