Here’s a guest post from our friends over at ZingInstruments.com who are almost as obsessed about drums as we are!
Songwriting is an art, but there are more than a few little hacks you can use to help you write new music faster and help you take your work to the next level. Next time you’re stuck, try out a few of these tips and tricks for songwriters and see if it doesn’t make a difference!
1. Borrow From Other Artists
Are you trying to come up with ideas for a new song, but can’t seem to find anything good? Try writing additional verses to a song you like. You can then use this as a ‘jumping off’ point for your own music without having the difficulty of starting completely from scratch.
Similarly, you could sample music from recognizable songs to build fast and effective beats without having to do all of the work. This way you get the perfect combination of familiarity, popularity and shorter writing times. Doing this at choice moments, such as for hook lines or even as a short repeating loop throughout most of a song is very common, and there’s no shame in doing it.
2. Keep a Songwriting Morgue
Keep lyrics, chord progressions and other snippets from songs that never quite got finished. Look through these every couple of months or so to see if you can’t think of a new way of using them or developing them further.
3. Make a Reference Guide
Build a ‘rhyme book’ that you can refer to as you’re writing. This can make writing lyrics much easier as you don’t have to sit and ponder the right word to use for as long. Building your own rhyme book is essential, because those used by others will have slight accents and other vocal qualities that might stop the same material working properly.
4. Avoid This Common Mistake
Never use parallel fifths. When you have two or more instruments playing a melody, don’t have both of them play a fifth higher or a fifth lower than the previous note at the same time. It’s okay to have them going in separate directions by a fifth, but parallel fifths cause the two lines to blend together and lose the independent qualities they each possess.
5. Think Inside Somebody Else’s Box
If you’re struggling to find material from your own life to inspire your songwriting, write from the perspective of another person. You could also use a fictional character instead, perhaps as part of a narrative or mythos you’ve created for a concept album. For example, Epic Rap Battles of History is a popular youtube channel featuring rap battles between various historical and fictional characters.
Remember, songwriting doesn’t have to be a completely unique exercise each and every single time you sit down to write. Rather, it’s better to give yourself guidelines that suit your own individual style. This way you still have all the freedom you need to create great new music, but you’ve also got a rough map of how you’re going to do that each time.