21 Songwriting Tips!

Discussion in 'Musician's Corner' started by xxXXAlaNXXxx, May 22, 2011.

  1. xxXXAlaNXXxx

    xxXXAlaNXXxx Member

    Been looking around, couldn't find it.

    Having trouble writing your stuff? Well, here's a compilation of songwriting tips for you to let your imagination flow.

    1.- Never stop working on your abilities
    The main goal of a songwriter is to connect with the audience, and in order to do that he/she needs to have the tools needed to truly create that connection, so the more abilities that we have, the more choices we can make musically. It’s important to have a wide arsenal of choices at your disposal, because if we keep doing the same ‘tried and true’ methods, their emotional effects will wear off as the songwriting becomes caged into a predictable movement.

    2.- Who are you writing your music for?
    If you are making music for other people, you will have to be aware of how people relate to it. For example, let's say you're a computer genius and you want to say people how to fix their computer, if you techno-talk to them, they'll get lost and you'll get a "get lost" too! Once again you should ask yourself when you write a song: Who am I making this music for and will they be able to relate?

    3.- Exercise your mind!
    Simple, don't leave your mind out there like a flower without water, practice to write new songs. Here's a suggestion: set yourself a goal o write a song per week, it doesn't matter if it's 50 seconds long, the purpose is to get your brain to find new avenues by exploring different ideas. It’s about trying something new every time.

    4.- Music vs. Robots
    Please don’t be a robot! Don’t give in and throw in random notes that fit in a scale just to fill a passage. Make a reason for why every part of your song exists. When you write a phrase or a tune ask yourself: "Why does this belong here?" "What's the reason of this songle part?"

    5.- The song’s opinion is better than yours!
    When you think in the best interests in the song, you may have to rid yourself some very good ideas that you wanted to do. You may have written the most beautiful line of a song in the world, but, if it doesn't fit in with the song, get rid of it. You have to think of what's best for your song, what sounds better or what fits in more with your song's topic.

    6.- Where does inspiration come from?
    This is an easy question, everywhere! Use your experiences in life as inspiration, what does this means? Get out of your house and do stuff! Simple, it's all about daring to try out new thing, new experiences, do anything but music! Read poetry, watch ballet, go see a movie, walk around in a museum, look at oil paintings and sculptures- these are all different forms of art. Music is an art form too. Sometimes other forms of art can be inspiring to the musician. Come back, after your mind has been freed, and try to write a song about it.

    7.- Oops I made an accident.. er- no I didn’t!
    Sometimes, when you're composing, your minds knows where it wants to go, and in this excitement you may hit the wrong key and suddenly you're out of the road and open to a new and fresh adventure! Take advantage of that! There is such thing as a "good mistake" Accidents can be good things. Remember that. If you don’t have an inspiration, sometimes just ‘playing around’ is a good answer!

    8.-Country?!? I make rock songs!
    It is hard to compare Clint Black to Korn. That is not to say there isn’t something to be learned from different styles. The best way to be able to attack a song from every angle is to have as many techniques and styles as possible. Your talent will tell you which ones would work for your song. Learn country, rock, alternative even try polka! Learn as much as you can. There might be a place to use that knowledge somewhere in the future!

    9.- A + B =C. A + B = XYZ???
    Don’t use the same formulas for your songs! Just because you found a winning formula, that may only work for that particular song. Try different avenues. There are artists that you hear (even on the radio) that seem to have all of their songs to sound alike. Be creative.

    10.- Don’t retrograde your V into a IV??!? Are you crazy?!
    Don’t be a music theory lawyer, but use it to your advantage. Knowledge of the rules of music can be a great thing- if you also know that it’s okay to break them. If you stay theoretically sound, you may have a generic sound. Dissonance can be a powerful tool.

    11.- "Is my music like ****'s music?"
    When you stop comparing to the outside world, you can learn from them. Maybe the guitarist isn’t the most technically sound, but maybe he can fingerpick like you wouldn’t believe. Learn from his strengths so they can be yours too. Examine his style and abilities and see if there isn’t something you can’t learn from him

    12.- I feel like listening to...
    If your sucked on a song or simply lack of inspiration, listen some music. Put on a CD of your favourite artist or band and just enjoy their music, listen to the mix, how the instruments blend in with each other. You’ll find that many times you can get ideas from other artists. This doesn't mean "steal a riff from MCR"! but you can take some of their ideas and blend them into your own style.

    13.- Location: Checked!
    Location and atmosphere are extremely important when song writing. Foer example: if you're next to a lake, you'll probably feel relaxed, when in a concert, you'll feel pumped up, right? So try this, find a place where you can be comfortable and arrange it to get you in the mood...of songwriting, put some posters on the wall, try colorful lamps, etc.

    14.- It sounds okay... I guess...
    Get rid of it! Half-hearted songs don’t count in my opinion. Playing around is nice and all, but your ultimate goal should be to write a song like you’ve written before. It is how we expand as musicians. Don’t fall into the habit of generic music!!!

    15.- Ideas.. Ideas.. Ideas...
    Let them flow, sometimes songs come out of ideas instead of emotions. Think of your ideas as hypothesis, you can't reach a conclussion until you try them out. If you think distortion over drums would sound good in a love song, go for it!

    16.- I like it, but what do you think???
    Let me start by saying that your friends and family members will most likely be very biased about your music. Ask them what they think if you want a self-esteem booster. I take compliments more to heart from strangers who like my music. The most important thing is that you like the music. Will others like it as well? Maybe, maybe not. If they offer suggestions, consider them... There is no right or wrong way to write a song. There are only songs that people can and can’t relate to. And I’m sure that almost any song that was ever made could probably relate to at least 1 other person in this world.

    17.- Catchy phrases for lyrics
    Use words that people use everyday. Why? Because if those same words are used in just an everyday conversation, it will remind that listener of your song. Just think of Staind, “It’s been awhile”. Every time someone says that phrase it reminds me of that song.

    18.- Be healthy. Eat, sleep and exercise regularly as part of your daily routine.
    Strange to think how proper sleep, exercise and food come into play, but it can. Just think of this: Food is your body’s fuel. Without fuel, your body wants to shut down. That is why people who aren’t healthy are tired more often. When you’re in shape, your metabolism will rise giving you an extra supply of energy that you can use to focus onto music or whatever. So keep your body fueled!

    19.- Building a hook.
    Yeah, I know it sound generic, but it works! But, hooks need to be predictable and not predictable at the same time. If there is a degree of predictability then the listener will be able to relate to the song more quickly. For instance, how many of you have said in your mind, “that would be so cool if this song did this...” and then the song took the same direction you wanted it to go. Immediate satisfaction.

    20.- Texturize
    Music is about textures as well as melody. Think of the texture of a nylon string guitar as opposed to the texture of a steel string. Think of the texture of a piano, and the texture of a synth. Some of the same melodies played with different textures can completely change a song. Textures can bring out the best and worst in a song. We pay great amounts of money to get the ‘best’ texture we possibly can. That is why people buy expensive musical equipment over cheap pawn shop items. Distortion has a huge variety of different tones and sounds. Not every distortion pedal sounds the same. Why? For texture. Don’t keep using the same sounds, experiment with as many textures as you can.

    21.- Have fun
    Have fun!? What kind of topic!? Guess what. People don’t have fun making music all the time. It’s really sad. If you don’t believe me, think about all the people who have been upset because of something their band did to them. Revert to the very beginning, when you first realized that you loved to create music... and have fun!
  2. -melovesMCRXx-

    -melovesMCRXx- New Member

    Wow, that's really helpfull :yes:
    Thanks for that xD
  3. xxXXAlaNXXxx

    xxXXAlaNXXxx Member

    glad to help!

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