Lots of good songwriting tips here! Read on…
Focus on love.
The greatest hit songs of all time have been written on this theme. No point re-inventing the wheel. Write songs on the subject of LOVE. Take a look at the songs that make it to the top of the charts and you will see a common thread throughout. Whether it’s about cheating, break-up, faithfulness, or whatever, most of them talk about something to do with love. Let ideas flow out of your heart. You should not be afraid to write lyrics that say what you feel. Love songs work!
It’s not all about the money.
While this is the music business, you would do better focusing on doing music for the love of it instead of making money your primary focus. If you’re doing this just because you think there is money to be made, when that doesn’t come you will become frustrated and give up. Focus on writing good songs and have faith that the money will follow.
Listen to hits.
Listen to hit songs and pattern your songs after them. I’m not saying that you should let originality out the door at all. But it would be wise to understand what makes these songs as big as they are. What tricks and techniques have been used? Allow yourself to be inspired by these songs, especially those you like.
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Write songs every day.
Like with any skill, the more you write songs, the better you become at it. Keep your mind open to receiving new ideas as they come to you. Write something down no matter how good or bad it is without any judgement whatsoever. Or use a phone or any recording device to record your ideas. Develop that habit. Very soon it will be part of you. You don’t necessarily have to write an entire song every day, all at once, but a few lines will go a long way. Practice makes perfect.
Write songs about your own experiences.
It’s probably much easier to write about what you know than what you’ve never been through. When you write about your own experiences, your lyrics will be more genuine and will have a better flow. You will find yourself writing songs more quickly too because it comes from within and is so natural to you. Chances are that someone else has experienced what you’ve experienced and will be able to identify with your song.
Rewrite and polish your songs.
You should keep rewriting and re-polishing your songs. What sounded brilliant to you at first may not be so great when you listen to it later. This is why you must go through your song over and over again after it is written the first time. It’s been said that good songs are not written but re-written. Give yourself that competitive edge by going over your song with “fresh ears” and re-writing and re-polishing it. As much as possible, polish your song to perfection.
Keep a recording device close by.
Unlike years ago, nowadays many people have a mobile phone that has recording capabilities. The good thing is that the phone is usually close by or in your hand. As soon as you get an idea, don’t ever take it for granted. Record it. Some people are known to leave a voice mail message. Any form of recording device will do the trick. It’s simply about saving that idea.
Keep a recording device close to your bed. Sometimes you may wake up with a brilliant, million dollar idea.
Carry a notebook.
Similarly, you should carry a notebook. Particularly if you like working with paper. Jot down these ideas. They come unexpectedly. Some of the greatest hits that were ever written started with one simple, stupid idea. Don’t miss out. In the digital age, your smart phone or other device is just as or even more convenient.
Songwriting Tips: Here’s what Ralph Murphy had to say about writing hit songs.
Before you begin writing a song, one thing you can do is get into a childish frame of mind. It will fuel your creativity. Just ask the psychologists. So my friend, start playing those childish games of ‘ yester-year’.
Read, read, read…
Read books on the subject of songwriting. Read the good ones. There are many good songwriting books out there, that will give you all the songwriting tips you’re searching for. Nowadays everything is online. Read articles and spend time on websites like this one. You can never know too much about your craft. Visit a library if you have to.
Know your audience.
Ask yourself this question. Who am I writing for? It’s important for your audience to understand and identify with what you’re singing about. Write in a language that your audience and target market understands and appreciates. Your lyrics shouldn’t be over their heads. The tempo of the music, the rhythm and everything else should relate to them.
Use catchy phrases.
This one almost goes without saying, but is often ignored. There are certain phrases which people use every day. Why not use them in your songs? By using these words, people will be reminded of your song each time they use them. Write your lyrics the way people speak.
Use different formulas.
There is a saying which goes like this: If it works then why fix it. The same is not always true in music. Using the same songwriting formulas over and over, will lead to diminishing returns. Your ‘winning formula’ will suffer from over-kill!
Learn from everyone.
“This guy can’t play…!?” One mistake many songwriters/musicians make is to criticize each other behind their backs. Instead of focusing on people’s weaknesses, you should learn from their strengths. In order words, make their strengths yours. I’m a firm believer that every musician has something to offer, no matter how small.
Too many times, musicians and songwriters work under stress. They don’t enjoy what they do. It’s sad. Do yourself a favor and enjoy creating music. Remember when you first started in music? I’m sure you did it for the fun of it. Have fun and let those creative juices flow. It’s all about the journey.
Hook the listener.
Your song should revolve around the hook. The hook is the part that grabs the listener and has them sub-consciously singing your song all day long, to the point where … they just can’t get it out of their heads! It is the sweet part of the song that’s repeated over and over. Don’t waste the listener’s time with extra-long verses. Get to the HOOK!
Make a good first impression with first line.
Make a good first impression with the first line of your song. Grab your listener’s attention immediately. If you cannot grab the listener in that opening line it may be difficult to have her hear that great line which you have in let’s say, your second verse. Prepare your listener to listen to, and to want to listen to the rest of your song. If you don’t get their attention by the first few seconds, that’s it. They move to the next song.
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- How to improve songwriting skill.
- Songwriting for Dummies Review.
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