I have been primarily a lyricist for almost 25 years. To survive that long in the music business, I have had to stretch my boundaries to come up with ways to evolve my lyric writing along with changing music landscapes.
Over those years, I’ve developed what I like to think of as melody hacks for lyricist songwriters.
Along the way, I’ve picked up some tricks that help me stay current and relevant in whatever genre I’m writing.
Even if you are an accomplished melody writer AND lyricist, I think you may find these tips and tricks helpful in your songwriting.
Paul McCartney’s development as a bass player provides a textbook case for today’s songwriters and music producers on how a little creativity can go a long way to help make a recording stand out.
Through the Beatles’ evolution, McCartney’s bass lines became an integral part of each song’s texture, sound, and colour.
If you ever wanted to teach yourself how to play bass, my suggestion is that you learn everything that Paul McCartney did (in sequential album order).
This article beautifully demonstrates the sublime bass player that McCartney continues to be.
From French electronic and Japanese indie to K-pop and Spanish jazz, it’s common for people to listen to songs they don’t necessarily understand. Not knowing the language of the lyrics, it seems, doesn’t stop people from liking—and sometimes even singing along to—a song.
This is a fantastic article demonstrating the power of music and how the meaning of a song can transcend the lyrical content.
The article talks about “Sound Symbolism” and the way that music communicates emotions without words.
Conveying emotions through music is the ultimate way of “showing, not telling” your story.
Why, then, do some songwriters seem to have an over abundance of fans buying their music while others struggle to sell the first song? Why do recording artists record every song writer X writes, but writer Y can’t get arrested?
The answer is…there is not a huge difference in skills between writers who get either 95% of the way or 100%, but there is a little. And, that extra 5% makes a BIG difference.
I often ask myself the same question and have the belief that it’s the little extra things that you do that make all the difference. This article outlines the activities that make up the extra 5%.
It really is the difference between a good and a great songwriter.
I am a great believer that the creation and the maintenance of a songwriting process is the number one thing a songwriter needs to do in order to be consistent and productive in their songwriting output.
In a recent Bandzoogle article “5 Steps To Enhance Your Songwriting Process” it states that…
Whether you’re new to writing songs, or have been at it for a long while, there is always an opportunity to optimize your process. To figure this out, it helps to identify what your particular songwriting process is currently, and what you need to do to enhance it.
I couldn’t agree more. Great article.
In songwriting, creating a lasting impression in the listener in the shortest space of time is essential for making your songs heard. Robin Frederick in her article “Hit Songwriting: Using Trigger Words” has this to say about it…
You have to make as strong an impression as you can during the time you have with your listener without asking them for anything, not even their attention.
If you can do that, they may come back and listen again… maybe in the car where the only distraction is a crazed tailgater or a whining dog in the backseat.
Trigger words enable your message to be received by the listener more effectively and in this article Robin Frederick outlines the different songwriting trigger words and examples of songs using them brilliantly.
Martin Child of Oxfordshire band The August List shares his five tips on how to keep those creative juices flowing
These are some pretty good songwriting tips here all reflecting on the element of play and experimentation to get results. Worth a read 🙂
A listening journal is a tool that will help transform your music listening habits into a source of knowledge and inspiration. Though you can use an actual journal for this purpose, single sheets of paper, a Word document, or a note-taking app on your phone or iPad will all work just fine.
I am a huge fan of journalling as a way to get down your thoughts out of your mind and onto paper.
It’s a great way to collect songwriting ideas but the concept of a listening journal is a new one to me.
I must research this a bit more and report to you all on what I find but this article from SoundFly is a fantastic start
My opinion has always been this: there is no particular best way to write a song. That’s true in all of the creative arts: there is no process that is necessarily better than any other process.
Having said that, I will add this: the fragment that you initially create — whether that fragment is a chorus hook, a line of catchy lyric, an enticing bit of melody — will tend to get more attention from you than all the other bits you write.
There are many roads that lead to a finished song and there are as many variations of the songwriting process as there are songwriters in the world.
Any way is the best way to write a song…
There are going to be times as a songwriter when your motivation towards your craft is going to be low. You just can’t be motivated all of the time.
Making music might be the thing you live and breathe to do, but it doesn’t mean you’ll feel motivated to write and record songs all the time. In fact, you might encounter months-long stretches of time where you’d rather do pretty much anything else more than writing songs if you’re a serious or professional songwriter with years of experience under your belt.
This is normal, but you’ll need tools and strategies to get back to work eventually. Motivation is crucial for music-makers, but it’s not always easy to access
A lack of motivation for something that you love like writing songs might be the start of songwriters block or, it could mean that you’ve been burning the candle at both ends and you just need to get some more sleep.
It happens to me all of the time.