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5 Songwriting Tips for Musicians

Do you want to be a music sensation? Of course! We all do. But, in order to get there, we have to put in the work and learn from those who have been doing this for years. 

Songwriting is the most important skill for any musician. It’s what separates the good from the great and it’s what sets them apart from their peers. 

If you’re serious about your craft, check out these five songwriting tips that will help take your music skills to the next level!

1) Write down everything that comes into your head and don’t worry about how good or bad it is.

Keep a journal – wherever your musical adventure takes you, keep it with you at all times, even on your bedside. You never know when inspiration will strike or when that amazing melody or song lyric will come to you.

Use your phone’s notepad to jot down ideas, or record that line stuck in your head while walking down the street. Then, while you’re in the studio, play them back and build the song around it. Many songwriters tell stories about writing a hit tune in 15 minutes while in the shower. Always be prepared to seize the situation.

2) Listen.

Music is about listening as much as it’s about making music, so make sure that you’re always paying attention to the music around you and taking it in for inspiration. 

Listen to as much music as you can. Whether it’s popular music, classical music, jazz or rock and roll. All of these types of music have something songwriters can use in their own composition. Even if you don’t know what you’re listening for at first, the music will come through and show you how it can be applied to your music.

Listen carefully for the dynamics of a song and the instruments in the song with intention so that you’ll know when it’s time to use your own music. Listen for the subtle changes in those songs. What is it that makes this song stand out from another?

3) Experiment. 

Experiment with different music styles. Try writing a song using a style that is the opposite of your usual sound. For example, if you usually write rock music, try writing an R&B song and vice versa! Who knows? You might end up creating something really cool that will have more commercial appeal or better connect with a different audience. 

Try different music techniques such as adding more or less instrumentation, using unusual song structures, or adding an unusual beat. 

Don’t be afraid to try new sounds and instruments too. You may find using a different sound will cause you to write in a different style.

4) Keep an open mind when listening to other people’s suggestions. 

This one can be challenging. While music tastes vary, songwriting tips might be beneficial. Just make sure they’re coming from someone with experience and a want to help, not just someone offering their ‘opinion.’

Many songwriters are happy to share their knowledge, especially if they believe you’re on to something fantastic and want to see your song thrive. I usually tell people to listen to them, and try things out. You might not like it, you might find inspiration, you might learn something – but at the end of the day, it’s your song, so do whatever you want with it.

5) Be patient with yourself. 

In order to be successful as a musician or songwriter, patience is key. You must learn from other music professionals, keep practicing your music skills, and stay in the game so you can be successful! 

It may take some time to build your ‘ideal sound,’ and the only way to do it is to keep writing, writing, writing. 

  • Sometimes you just need to set a song aside for a bit and come back to it later.
  • Sometimes you just put it aside and never look at it again.
  • Sometimes you compose something that you would never use as a song, but there is a section of it that you can use in another song.

Many bands recount stories about how the guitarist brought a demo to rehearsal, then the singer talks about another demo he recorded, then the bass player says they’ve been working on this amazing bass line but weren’t sure what to do with it. Then, after an hour of putting those components together, have a hit song!

You never know. 

The world deserves to hear your music. So, get to it!

If you’re a songwriter, what are some of your tips? Share them with us below!