A quick Google of songwriting tips is likely to bring up thousands of results but sorting through them to find the ones that actually work will take some time. Many of the tips you’ll find for songwriting might not work, while of course, there will always be some that will be useful, such as collaborating with a new songwriting partner or recording cover songs. However, there are some ways to get better at songwriting that take into account the fact that it is a personal process and that you need to put yourself and your ideas first to come up with songs that work. The below tips give you the chance to really focus, experiment, and come up with new ideas that make your songs work well.
Listen to Different Radios at Once
While this is a tip that you’re probably best doing when nobody else is at home, listening to a few different radios at the same time is a technique that might sound weird, but actually works. Turning on a few radios gives you a chance to listen out for any interesting overlaps. It is a form of aleatory music, which is where some parts of the composition are left to chance and creates a good environment for song inspiration.
Set a Tight Time Limit
Some of the most successful songs were written in a short timeframe. For example, Sia wrote Diamonds by Rhianna in just fourteen minutes, and that’s a song that has gone platinum in the US a total of five times. Timing can be difficult when you are writing a song, since if you give yourself too little time, you might end up getting nothing done, but on the other hand, if you have all the time in the world, you’re going to run the risk of overthinking and second-guessing. Setting a time limit that is shorter than the time you usually take to write a song will allow you to better focus on what matters and streamline the process.
Write Fewer Lyrics
If you’re stuck when it comes to writing a song, get to the point and cut out some of the lyrics. Simple is always effective when it comes to songwriting, but it is important to take a ruthless approach and can be difficult to pull off. However, writing fewer lyrics and coming up with simple songs is a skill that is important for you to master as a songwriter. Also, it will make sure that your songs are catchy, relatable, engaging, and easier to sing along to, which ultimately results in more memorable songs.
Find a Suitable Space
Sometimes, ideas for songs can come to you randomly, no matter what you are doing. However, most of the time, you need to consider your environment if you are planning to write a song. You may want to consider a writing studio to carry out your work. The writing studios from PIRATE are kitted out with everything that you need for songwriting, including all the equipment that you need to record and test out your song as you go. Check out the PIRATE website to find a writing studio near you; they offer studios in a range of locations around the world, including the US and Europe.
Keep a Notepad with You
While getting a writing studio or another dedicated location for songwriting is a good idea, you might find that sometimes, you’re in the middle of something totally unrelated when an idea for a song comes to you. Now, this can be seriously frustrating if, by the time you finish whatever you were doing, you have lost your train of thought. Keeping a notepad with you at all times allows you to quickly jot down any of the random ideas that you have to come back to later when you have more time. You never know, this could be the source of some of your best work.
Use the Cut-Up Technique
The cut-up technique was created by author William S. Burroughs to help with writing books. However, this concept can also be seriously effective when writing songs. It is a simple technique that involves writing out a bunch of whatever words are on your mind, before cutting them out and rearranging them to create new ideas. When you’re writing songs, you can use this technique for almost anything – you don’t have to limit yourself to words as it can also work well with notes, melodies, chords, and anything else that works for you.
Listen to Mozart
You might have heard about the Mozart effect – listening to Mozart has been proven to have a positive effect when it comes to improving your focus. This classical music has an impact on your spatial-temporal reasoning, or your concentration. When you’re starting out with a songwriting session, listening to Mozart can help you get your brain ready for the work. Plus, as one of the greatest musicians to ever live, you can certainly find some inspiration in his melodies and phrases.
Use Extended Techniques
Extended techniques involve playing your instrument the ‘wrong’ way. It was developed as a concept during the 20th century in order to help composers push the boundaries of traditional music. Extended techniques aren’t just for academic music, either. You can use them anywhere to come up with new ideas and think outside of the box when writing music.
Go on a Sound Walk
Most neighborhoods are filled with interesting sounds, so it’s always worth spending some time going out to find them, record them, and put them in your own context. All you need to do is grab something to record with – your smartphone will do – and go for a sound walk. Think of any places you could go to get some interesting sounds to sample, like birds singing in the morning, rainfall, church bells, or the babble of conversations at a coffee shop.
With so much new music coming out today, coming up with ideas for interesting and unique songwriting isn’t always easy. Keep these tips in mind to get more motivated and improve your songwriting technique.