Songwriting is an interesting activity. It requires skill, yet skill alone won’t write you a song that connects with the hearts of people. It requires heart, yet heart alone won’t give your song the platform it needs to go the distance. So how do you grow as a songwriter?
1. Write a lot of songs
There is no getting around it. In order to get better at anything you need to practice. You’ve probably heard of the famous 10,000 hour rule which says in order to achieve mastery in a field you need to practice for 10,000 hours. Well, songwriting is no different. You got to put in the time in order to see results.
2. Write with other people
Co-writing is the fastest way to grow as a songwriter. It forces you to stick to a writing session, teaches you to work with other people’s ideas, gives you immediate feedback on your ideas, and will help you write 10x more songs than you would on your own. Many people don’t co-write because they are intimidated. It’s kind of like jumping off a diving board the first time, it may seem scary but once you do it a few times you’ll find out it’s not as bad as you thought and that you may actually enjoy it!
3. Read books
Yes, just like any other field of study there are great books written on songwriting. I highly recommend starting with my favourite two songwriting books - “6 Steps to Songwriting Success by Jason Blume” and “God Songs by Paul Baloche”. These books are written by great writers and great songwriting teachers. They are incredible informative, practical and easy to read. You’ll be a better songwriter for it.
4. Listen to music
There are so many incredible songs of different music styles available to listen to today. Go onto apple music and listen to the A-List of different genres (Christian, pop, singer/songwriter e.t.c.) Enjoy the songs, but also notice what techniques they are using to make a song catchy and marketable. Knowing what is being recorded today is crucial for any songwriter that wants their songs to be recorded by others.
5. Play music
When I was a teenager I used to buy the sheet music to all my favourite songs to sing and play them on the piano. I lost that joy somewhere after high school. I’ve started to get back into that because as I play and sing songs I like and different songs the chord structures, melodies, rhythms and rhymes get into me. I absorb what the writers are doing in the song. It helps when I go to write new music because I might think of a new progression of chords I don’t usually use or a rhythm I don’t naturally gravitate to. We can all get stuck in a rut of what we typically write, and playing and singing can help us break out of that.
So if you want to grow as a songwriter, make this 5 things a priority in your schedule. Keep practicing and watch your songs get better and better!
Question: What is holding you back from growing as a songwriter?