If you’ve always wanted to be a songwriter but you’ve never made the leap into creating your own music, it’s time to overcome your inhibitions and get started. There’s no better time than the present to write your own songs!
Though it may be tough to put yourself out there and expose your innermost ideas, thoughts, and feelings to a potential audience, there are a few things you can do to journey down the path to composition.
Here are 5 ways to conquer your fears and truly find your creative voice as a songwriter.
1. Boost your confidence with music theory classes.
If you’re not a seasoned musician, it’s a good idea to perfect your musical knowledge and understanding of music theory.
Find a local music school, instrument teacher, or community college where you can try out a few classes. Spending time on the basics of musical composition may help you learn additional songwriting techniques and could help make you feel less self-conscious as you begin the writing process.
2. Take small steps with your songwriting.
Don’t get overwhelmed. No one expects you to crank out a hit tune in 30 minutes! Take baby steps in your songwriting. Instead of writing an entire song, start with composing a simple melody.
Once you’ve got that under your belt, if you haven’t already, brainstorm some ideas for a few lyrics. As you master each component, slowly put the pieces together to make connected segments.
3. Get feedback on your ideas.
At some point, you’ll need to get feedback. Share your songs with close friends or family members. Ask for input about the sound and the themes they convey.
If you’re not getting helpful constructive responses from the people in your life, consider joining a songwriting group for a no-pressure way to have your work peer-evaluated. Observe how other songwriters put their music on display to get more feedback.
4. Practise songwriting every day.
As you gain more knowledge and skill in your craft, foster even more creativity by doing songwriting exercises each day. Eventually, you’ll get into a familiar routine, which could have you generating even more great ideas.
Sticking with a process like this can also lead you to forget about the fear of opening up and sharing your music.
5. Be open to different subjects and styles.
Finally, you can help yourself feel more comfortable writing music and lyrics if you experiment with different types of subjects and musical styles. This exercise will allow you to flex some creative muscles and stretch your own capabilities.
For example, if you primarily want to write country songs, try writing a rock ballad instead. For those who want to focus on hip-hop jams, see what happens if you write an old-fashioned standard. If most of your songwriting ideas are autobiographical, do something that’s centered around someone else. Go for a more fictional approach that creates a new character in your music.
Being a songwriter can be a scary thing if you aren’t comfortable revealing your thoughts and feelings to an audience. If you go for it and move outside your comfort zone, you can begin to truly express yourself through song.
Thanks for these useful ideas I really appreciate it.
As far as #1 and 2, be careful to not overthink it. Sometimes it is best to just write (and finish!) a song. Don’t feel like you need to create a great song on your first try. If it turns out amazing, then cheers to you. If it is not so good, then it is a learning experience. Not every song is a classic. Even the best composers write stuff that is not so good. Your best shot at writing a great song is to simply write a lot of songs…
I have been writing my own songs for many years now. I hope to take it out there for people to listen. Thanks for all these wonderful ideas.
Hi Christopher, I started writing songs (without being a musician of any kind at that time) in 2014 and almost only used (mostly free) online resources. There are great classes out there for songwriters. If that helps, we’ve collected quite a few link to free tutorials and classes on everything related to songwriting http://patpatpro.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=7
I think, if you’re not living in one of the big cities in the UK, US or Australia, finding RL classes on songwriting is quite difficult. Online learning makes this a lot more accessible. The same holds true for songwriting circles, easier to a start online.
For my process, I tend to start with writing the lyrics and then do what I call “composing for dummies”, grab my guitar, play random chords and try to sing the lyrics to the chords. Invent your own chords. If it sounds good, it is good 🙂 Then, you got lyrics and a melody and harmony = a song! Just repeat to practice, it’ll get you started. Listen to the songs you like, learn from that. Of course, music theory helps but it’s not absolutely necessary. I gained more confidence by having written a couple of songs than by learning theory.
I’m not quite sure if I would use the word song(s) but I have been writing lyrical poetry since I was 17! Who knows they might become actual song(s)!
I’ve written hundreds of songs but only felt the need to perform 3 with my old band. Now, I’m 20 years older & writing with a purpose once again.