All of us have a favorite artist or songwriter that we admire. Whether or not you know anything about music theory, you can identify the different musical elements that make up a song and invoke the feeling that the music is trying to express. The songwriting process takes a lot of time, effort, and inspiration, and these things make the result beautiful.
If you are a budding songwriter or a songwriting enthusiast, there are various ways in which you can hone your songwriting skills. Let’s have a look at five essential songwriting tips for beginners.
- Listening to Different Types of Music
Songwriting is all about gaining inspiration, and there is no better way to do it than listening to different types of music. Depending on which genre you want to cater to, you will have to extensively listen to songs in that genre. Apart from this, you can also explore a wide range of genres, as this would help you gain inspiration and enable your creative juices to flow freely.
Whether you like rock, heavy metal, or jazz, it shouldn’t stop you from listening to classical, country, EDM, pop, folk, and other types of music. Each genre comes with distinct musical elements that you can pick up on. Thanks to the wave of fusion in the past few decades, you can also incorporate elements from other genres into your songs, and no one would be any the wiser.
- Break Down Hit Songs
The next best thing for budding songwriters is to listen to the greatest songs of all time and break them down into their musical elements, i.e., tempo, key, rhythm, chord progression, genre, form, etc. Pay attention to the parts of the melody that accentuate the song and how the chord progression helps create a certain mood in the music.
While doing so, also contemplate how the arrangement of the song is different from others and also identify any variations in the way each verse is written. You will also be able to identify the various instruments being played in the song and how the lyrics portray the story and feel of the song. This exercise would help you optimize each component of your songs as well. You can also read about Ed Sheeran’s songwriting process to understand how the Grammy-winning artist wrote his greatest hits.
- Learn Music Theory
Music theory is the foundation of great songwriting, and there is no better example of this than Adele’s songwriting skills. The Rolling in the Deep singer has garnered a massive fan base with her exceptional skills, her use of complex music theory, and her songwriting talents. The use of chord variations, harmonic stress, and intimate writing has propelled the 15-time Grammy winner to success.
You can start by learning basic music theory, and it would help you understand how to use the various musical elements in your songs. It is also advisable for you to learn how to read and write sheet music and chord progressions, scales, rhythm, intervals, etc.
- Structure Your Songs on Paper
Once you have a basic understanding of music theory, it would be much easier to write your song by breaking it down into its bare bones. You can do this by jotting down all of your song’s musical elements on paper, and it may include diagrams, tables, notes, and much more. Your song doesn’t have to make sense on the first go, but putting it down on paper will help you revisit and understand it later.
You can buy a notebook and dedicate it to songwriting, and you may also carry it with you when inspiration strikes. As the notebook starts filling up, you would have a complete database of ideas, lyrics, chord progressions, licks, and other components that you can use in later songs as well.
- Try Out Different Songwriting Approaches
In songwriting, there is no right or perfect approach. Even artists have different methods and processes that help them write their songs perfectly. Similarly, you should experiment and mix up different approaches to see which one works best for you. Some of the approaches that you can try include:
- Writing the lyrics before the music
- Setting the music before the lyrics
- Writing the lyrics first and the title later
- Writing the title before the lyrics
- Writing down ideas or a general concept
There are several other approaches that might work for you, and you need to give all of them a try before you lock down the most effective one. The chances are that you might have to change your approach for different songs.
In The End…
This is the end of our article on songwriting tips for beginners. By following them, you will be able to improve your songwriting skills and write good music that helps you gain recognition. If you want to learn about more artists’ songwriting processes, you can visit the Soundsongwriting.com site.