Tips for Songwriting Goal #1:
Aim for Music – Not Money
Great composers, songwriters, musicians, actors, singers, etc… can get paid VERY well sometimes. But, it comes after the fact. Your first motivation must be excellence at your craft.
The goal is the product, not the paycheck. Deliver the product, and the money will often follow.
Tips for SongwritingGoal #2:
Develop the skills you need.
We live in a time when information is readily available for anything you need to learn. There are more opportunities for practical music education than ever before. Online studies, Videos & DVDs, books and private teachers are everywhere.
Don’t laugh at the fact that you don’t know what a G chord is… Learn it!
Tips for Songwriting GOAL #3:
Learn all you can.
Writing music still requires skill in 3 areas: Rhythm, Melody & Harmony.
From Ragtime to Rap…those 3 areas are your playing field. Find out what your weaknesses are and be honest enough to admit it. Then, you can get the musical help you need.
Tips for Songwriting Goal #4:
With your knowledge – Get Understanding.
Knowledge is not enough. You must learn when and where to apply it. (another name for this is experience)
I recently met a young man who manages one of his father’s restaurants. His dad didn’t start him in a management position. He started at minimum wage as an entry-level employee. Now, he has done every job available to truly understand and appreciate the importance of all aspects of the franchise.
After 2 years of college studies for a degree in Business, he has decided not to go back. When we asked him why… his response was not likely to be quoted on his college website.
He said, “The business teachers don’t know what they’re talking about. If you ran a business the way they say you should, you’d lose your ass!”
Likewise, If you are always reading and learning about music but never actually writing and recording.. you can easily become another educated idiot. Get busy writing and recording your songs.
Tips for Songwriting Goal #5:
Get Wise Counsel.
Since a wise person generally gives good counsel, learn from those who are successfully doing what you hope to do. If they’ve made a living at it, they probably have some wisdom to share!
This can be a little tricky with music… and here’s why. Great musicians aren’t necessarily great teachers. In fact, they usually are not. Likewise, great songwriters aren’t always good at explaining what they do… they just have a gift for doing it.
Your job is to learn from their music. You may not learn much from what they tell you… but what you learn studying their songs is invaluable.
Along the way, you will discover your own methods and tips for songwriting that are personal and effective.
Tips for Songwriting Goal #6:
Paint Pictures with your Music.
A great song magically takes you somewhere. Great music bypasses the brain and touches our emotions in ways we don’t fully understand. It’s a Vibe.
That’s why you can hear a song you knew 20 years ago and in an instant… you are there. You feel the same feelings you had when you were singing along with that song.
Of all the essential tips for songwriting and composing I can share, this is primo. Great songs go way beyond notes and rhythms… They capture a vibe, a feeling that you couldn’t express any other way.
Close your eyes, listen to great music and let it take you somewhere. What are they doing that you need to learn?
Tips for Songwriting Goal #7:
Learn how to Match Music with Emotions.
This is related to #6, and is something that you’ll be able to take to the bank if you get it.Watch movies. No kidding… watch great movies produced by Steven Spielberg, Disney, etc., and listen to their soundtracks.
See what genre is used for the emotional impact needed on the screen. I finally realized that music I personally enjoy means something totally different to a new listener. I may think it’s beautiful and melodic, while my wife finds it sad and weepy.
Musicians tend to get into the music… not what it does to you. Perfect example is how most of us musicians grew up playing for the dance, and never actually danced . We never thought in terms of what it makes your body do.
A great song has the music that perfectly fits the meaning of the lyrics. A funny lyric probably doesn’t need minor chords and Goliath-sized drum sounds that make you want to smack somebody.
The hit, “We Will Rock You”, (by Queen), doesn’t need violins or flutes. Listen to how they achieve a musical emotion to fit/marry the lyric.
Music has an amazing vocabulary of sounds that can lead us into most any feeling desired. If you learn the skills required to touch people with music… you just might make a living as a composer or songwriter.
These suggestions are what I consider to be fundamental Techniques & Tips for Songwriting… and talk is cheap. But I’m convinced that if you learn to set the right goals, recognize your strengths & weaknesses, then honestly work to improve… you can reach your dreams.