These are my top recommendations to songwriters below. I own and have used (or my friends have used) all of these and I/they were more than satisfied with them. These are no doubt the best products in their respective fields.
When David Foster accepted an award recently, he listed his top 10 pieces of advice for songwriters. One of them was that it’s important for songwriters to learn to play an instrument. For most of them it’s the piano or the guitar. Without that, you can become a songwriter but you’ll never be a “complete package”. You won’t be able to communicate with composers/collaborators efficiently. You don’t necessarily have to write music but it’s important to understand how it’s made.
But don’t worry. Learning an instrument doesn’t have to be torture. It’s not like it was 20 or 50 years ago. These days there are entertaining, low-cost home-study courses that make it much simpler and faster to achieve this goal.
✓ The Gibson’s Learn and Master Guitar and Learn and Master Piano courses are the best I’ve encountered in this field. I strongly recommend that you give them a try!
✓ Masterwriter is a software program for songwriters and especially lyricists. It contains several essentially important built-in tools. Some of them you can find on the internet (like dictionaries, thesauruses) but it’s an exhausting process. And some of the important lyric writing tools in Masterwriter you simply cannot find anywhere else.
✓ Finale SongWriter is a piece of music notation software for songwriters who compose music and have at least a basic knowledge of music theory. It’s quite inexpensive and helps a lot in capturing, editing and printing music you’ve written. I’ve been using Finale Songwriter for a couple of years and to me it’s become indispensable.