Songwriting 101: 7 Tips That HelpOct 21, 2022
Songwriting is a skill that combines the creative capacity of that of a poet and a music composer. More often than not, listeners remember a particular song for the iconic lyrics it has, and many artists hire ghostwriters who write the lyrics for their compositions. Songwriting becomes extremely important because even if the composition, in terms of tone, rhythm, tempo, and instrumentation, is catchy and engaging, the lyrics and the vocal performance make the listeners sing the song along. Why else would people listen to the 10-minute version of All Too Well by Taylor Swift?
Here are 7 tips that can help you write your songs better and make them as authentic, personal, and appealing as possible.
Get your song structure
Many artists like to vocalize after 30 seconds, and some others after a minute. You need to understand your composition better to know the beginning, middle, and end of your vocal performance, bridges, as well as instrumentation. Beginning with your song's hook/chorus isn't for everyone.
Some songwriters prefer to start at the beginning of their track by writing a badass intro that will automatically lead them into the rest of the song, whereas others will try writing the lyrics first and worry about the tune later. Try both methods, and see which works the best for you. Once you know and comprehend your songwriting process, the rest should be fairly manageable. Stick to the process that works best for you.
If you are not composing an instrumental track, lyric writing will become your next priority. If you are experiencing creative block, or writer’s block (which is extremely common), lyric writing can seem to be exhausting and irritating. Nonetheless, there are many different ways to get past that block.
For instance, try going on a walk in a park, nature has remained many songwriters’ inspiration. Or, engage in a completely different activity, such as your chores. For some artists, an insight or an idea has always flashed when they forget about the track and engage in mundane routines.
Before beginning to write your lyrics, have a clear vision of what your song wants to convey and how. It is suggested that you write down your broad topic (for example, love), your subject under the topic (love at first sight), the details that are original to you (redhead, freezing fingertips, the streets), and your metaphors or smilies (she was autumn and I couldn’t help but fall). This way, there’s a structure you can circle back to and simultaneously indulge in creative spontaneity. Tally between your line and the rhythm. A strong lyrical hook for your chorus is essential, while the verses and bridge can be constructed around your main theme.
Document creative moments
This is significant because sometimes you may create a rhythm or tune, or sing words in the flow that may be completely fresh. To avoid any possibility of you forgetting your tune or what you sang, recording any spur-of-the-moment outbursts is critical to your songwriting.
Even if you cannot record instantly, make a note of your ideas, musical or lyrical, so keeping a pen and paper handy is vital. You'll be grateful for the clue when you return to work on the song.
Experience is your inspiration
Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo, Selena Gomez, Charlie Puth, and many more have time and again written songs that are based on their personal experiences, which makes their tracks easily relatable and real. If you are unable to write, the most reliable way is to take inspiration from your experiences. It may or may not be confessional, but try to make it yours, as much as possible.
If you have composed a warm tropical tune, try to recollect your experience of being on the beach, how it felt, and what did you observe. Even if it is the little things like drinking Pina Coladas, the sound of the waves, or taking a swim, do not hesitate to write something down about them. Who knows, you may end up having a beautiful composition on sand castles!
Collab is fab
Collaboration with other artists can boost your creativity and compel you to create something different from what you usually do. Collaborations expose you and your songwriting abilities to different structures and genres. Understanding how to bridge two artists through their music can greatly help you write better.
Show them what you've got so far, talk about any new ideas they might have, and see what happens. Getting external opinions on your track from another composer can enable you to get the most out of your music. Two heads are always preferable to one.
Break to stay awake
If you are going to stay up all day and night and work every minute on your track, you’re not only being hard on yourself, but you are also straining your mental capacities. It won’t be long until your brain shuts down. Hence it is important to take breaks now and then, especially if songwriting is already becoming frustrating.
A 15-minute break away from your instrument or lyrics pad can often help get the flow of your creativity and prevent your mind from becoming too muddled to perceive the thoughts and inspiration you seek. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, as long as the product comes through that speaks about you and your music.
Get your feedback
After spending hours, days, or even months on a track, you may not see the good and the bad in it. Hence, getting feedback from those you trust to give unbiased opinions is significant in tuning your song to perfection. Ask them to give constructive criticism, and try to listen to the song from their point of view.
Don’t be afraid to confront criticism, they may have wonderful insights and takes on your song. Don't just play it for somebody afraid to offend your sentiments; you want honest feedback. Imbible their suggestions and recommendations.
Songwriting can appear to be burdensome. However, given time, effort, and creative outflow, you can write songs that touch you and your listeners, and bridge the gap.
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