Why it’s important to practice songwriting
Writing songs is not a skill you were born with, like many other types of art, it takes rehearsal and practice to improve. Here are a few ways to refine your makeup, no matter how long you’ve been doing it.
Guest post by Patrick mcguire for Reverberation
When you first learned music, practicing your instrument was probably a daily struggle. Whether it’s dealing with pain in your fingertips while playing the guitar or learning how to master the mouthpiece on the trumpet, it’s safe to assume you’ve spent months learning the basics of your instrument. and years of honing your technical skills. The world knows how difficult it is for someone to sound really good on an instrument and that musicians cannot be great without thousands of hours of practice. Unfortunately, musicians and non-musicians often don’t see songwriting the same way. Many musicians and non-musicians alike believe that songwriting is a talent that cannot be developed with years of practice. They are wrong.
Myth: You got it or you didn’t as a songwriter
Writing songs is not a “you got it or you haven’t” kind of. We love stories of bands and solo artists who succeed overnight after releasing their first single or video, but these situations are extremely rare. For the vast, overwhelming majority of songwriters, getting really good at what they do is a bit like learning an instrument in the way that tangible progress means spending a lot of time and effort. In the same way that you have improved your skills on your instrument little by little and day by day, you will slowly improve yourself at making music as you do it.
If you write music for a year and decide you’re not good at it and might as well quit, you’re giving up way too soon. Every songwriter is different, but it can take you years to develop your style, your writing technique, and your self-confidence. There is no set timeline for progressing as a songwriter, but you will be disappointed if you demand positive results too quickly.
Some musicians need to write dozens of bad or mediocre songs before they start writing good ones. Others need to develop the confidence to write truly unique and authentic music instead of emulating the sound of another artist. Since every songwriter is different, the practice needed to improve at songwriting will be unique for every music maker, but you won’t be able to improve without a lot of consistent practice. Developing your authentic creative voice and becoming a better songwriter takes time, and it cannot be rushed or planned. It’s not like you can tell yourself, I’ll be making music everyday and be the perfect songwriter in a year. All we can do as songwriters is make music as often as possible.
When it’s time to spread the word about your music, it’s time to watch Promote It
If you’ve been writing music for a while and feel like your songs aren’t improving, it’s probably because you don’t write often enough. To truly improve as a songwriter you will need to embrace music making as a lifestyle, not as something you do when you can get down to it. It means engaging in the work of ambitious music creation in your daily life. Designate a place in your house where you can write songs or rent a studio and start doing the job.
How to practice writing songs
The only way to make sure that you will get better at writing songs is to create as freely as possible as often as possible. Instead of writing when you feel like it, create a weekly writing schedule with time spent doing nothing but making music. If you can swing it, three two-hour periods in your week is a good place to start, but more time will give better results. If you currently write sporadically, sticking to a schedule will dramatically improve your writing in no time.
Writing consistently is very important, but it’s not the only thing you should pay attention to when it comes to practicing songwriting. Equally important is the way you write. Eliminate distractions, designate a space in your home or near your place of residence for music creation, and fully focus on music creation during your writing sessions. Recognize that dead ends, poor songs, and not knowing what to do at times are all inevitable parts of songwriting practice. Stick with it long enough and your music will just get better and better.
Patrick mcguire is a writer, musician and human man. He doesn’t live anywhere in particular, creates music under the name Straight White Teeth, and has a great affinity for dogs and puts his hands in his pockets.