Oftentimes, some musicians (vocalists especially) wish to write their own songs. They want to express their thoughts by themselves and not interpret someone else’s music. This zeal leads them to songwriting. Don’t get me wrong, some persons are schooled in songwriting as a specialty. Some persons also have it as a profession whereby they sell or get commissioned to write songs for artists to sing and some persons just have the gift of writing.
Whatever category you belong to or you find yourself writing songs or wanting to write songs then this article is for you.
As a songwriter or a beginner in songwriting, the following tips would help you with creating or writing songs that will stand the test of time.
1. Record or write your inspiration
Most often we may find ourselves humming or singing an original tune. Great songs often come like that. I’ve heard some singers say they heard the tune in their unconscious state(Dream). Some songwriters get their inspiration in the bathroom. Some get it through an inspired event. Whatever moments you discover yourself with an original melody, tune or idea. You can write down the notes or record the moment with your phone or a recording device. Then revisit it later and develop the ideas.
2. The place to start
Where do you start to write your song? Some people start by writing the chorus and then build with it. Some write their songs in form of lyrical poems then add melodies thereafter. Wherever your inspiration or ideas start from you can begin to build your songs from there. It’s not a must to start from head to toe. You can also start from the body to head to toe or head to the body to toe or body to toe to head. The main goal is to start working on your inspirations.
3. Fixing the lyrics
As a solo instrumental composer, I’ve often realized that adding lyrics to music is often not so easy for songwriters. As the songwriter is particular about the right words, language, lyrics, the rhyme,e.t.c. In writing songs for the African language. Music is set to words and not words to music in order not to lose the tonality involved in the languages. As a songwriter structure your lyrics to enable the vocalist to sing with ease. Also, organize your lyrics into song sections. Ensure your lyrics are written to be short, repetitive and precise. You can often include rhymes in your lines.
4. Every song has a story
As a composer and songwriter, every song I wrote has a Story beneath it. As a songwriter, always writes from what you have experienced or someone has experienced. Let it be a song that can be relatable to those who listen to it.
5. Understand the genre you are working with
Several Genres exist in music which may include Jazz, contemporary classical, blues, rock, pop, afrobeat, highlife, RnB, and many others. To stand out as a songwriter you need to understand the genre you are writing for. You can study music theory or learn the terms involved in your genre. Listen to your favourite songs in your preferred genre and note down what you feel makes them stand out. Remember those points while developing your song.
6. Work with musicians
When I started songwriting I used to have a team of instrumentalists or friends who played the instrument I intended to compose or write for. I would share my song ideas with them and they in turn will ship in what they think or bring out more ideas to make the song greater. Working with other trusted musicians can help sharpen your creativity.
7. Be confident
I’ve met a couple of people in a group of songwriters and composers who say that their worst composition or written songs become their most popular work. The songs they think will sell to the public turns out not to go really far but the ones they do not hold with high extreme go really far. Therefore as a song writer stop tearing and throwing away your works. Build on that idea and be confident to share it with the world when you’re done.
8. Take your time
Some songwriters experience writer’s block that is they lose sight of what to write next. If you experience such while writing. Take your time off. Rest. You can always revisit your writings later. Resting and taking a break often help to relax the brain and create new ideas when you return to the work.
9. Select the structure of your song
The structure of a song involves the arrangement of a song. It uses repeating forms in songs. Forms such as 12bar blues, ternary form , strophic form,rondo, through,e.t.c. Always structure your song According to your selected forms. A basic song structure includes an intro, verse, chorus, and bridge.
Never leave out asking the Lord for his directions and guidance when writing a song. Inspiration comes from God. A great song is blessed by God.
Song writing is so much fun and it’s more fun when your song is brought to life by the performer. Just enjoy the process.