Having trouble getting a song started? Try this idea: Just say “YES!” Here’s how.
Walking on the beach or…
Being hugged by someone you love or…
Petting your favorite animal or…
Playing a game with children or… anything you like.
- Write a list of phrases describing how you feel. Say YES to every phrase.
- Choose four to six phrases and put them in any order. Say YES to the order.
- Play a groove on guitar or keyboard or just tap your foot and clap your hands. Say YES to the groove.
- Sing a melody to the beat using your phrases. Say YES to the melody.
- Add chords that go with your melody. Say YES to the chords.
There’s your first draft of a verse or chorus. Keep saying YES until you finish your first draft. THEN you can rewrite.
Check out my new book: Song Starters: 365 Lyric, Melody, & Chord Ideas to Kickstart Your Songwriting. It’s filled with creative Song Starters like this one and it’s available at Amazon.com.
May your songs flow! – Robin 🙂
Find out more about all of my print and eBooks on my Author page at Amazon. In each book you’ll find dozens of useful, real-world shortcuts that will show you how to craft songs that work for today’s music market, plus dozens of hands-on exercises to get your creative ideas flowing.
An Original is a person living an authentic, creative life, one whose work expresses truth and emotion in a way that speaks to others. While a rebel breaks the rules, an Original bends them, plays with them, twists them around and reshapes them until the results are surprisingly unique and fresh.
To do that, you need to know what the rules are, then you can select which ones to play with and what you want to do with them. It’s kind of like having the coolest Lego set ever. Once you know what’s in the box and how it fits together, you can build something special and uniquely your own.
If I use song craft won’t I end up being UN-original?
No, you won’t be un-original because, even though you’re working with the same set of song crafting techniques as other songwriters, you’re going to use them in your own way. Continue reading “Be An Original In A Play-By-The-Rules World”
Remember when you learned to ride your first bicycle? It wasn’t easy. You fell down a lot, but you kept trying. At first you needed someone to hold on, keeping you steady. Then you used training wheels to help you stay upright as you pedaled. Then, finally, you were able to ride on your own. You had found that complicated thing called balance. After that, it was a breeze! The process of writing songs is a lot like riding a bike. It’s all about finding a balance!
=> Balance Melody, Chords, Lyrics – Writing a song that listeners will love involves finding a good balance between melody, lyrics, and chords. If you have a busy lyric with a lot of words and images then writing a melody that’s easy for listeners to follow might give your song more appeal. On the other hand, if you have a complicated melody with a lot of rhythmic interest and interval jumps, then keeping your chord progression simple might be a good idea. Try the chord progressions on this page to get things going.
When there are too many things demanding their attention, listeners don’t know what to focus on and that can be frustrating. If they’re feeling confused or overwhelmed, they’re likely to tune out.
A good rule of thumb: As the complexity of one of your song elements goes up – lyrics, melody, or chords – consider organizing the other elements in easy-to-follow patterns or using more repetition.
Continue reading “Songwriting: It’s Like Riding a Bicycle”
We all want to be more creative, have more songs in the catalog, and feel satisfied that we’re getting things accomplished. It’s just that reality doesn’t always work out that way. More often than not…
- We don’t have any good ideas for new songs.
- We’re not sure what kinds of songs we should be writing and for what market.
- We get stuck working on one song that’s in trouble.
- We’re scared our songs aren’t good enough so we don’t finish them.
We all know that good quality has to be maintained, but I bet you could write more songs and keep the quality at the level you want or even improve it. Here are a whole bunch of ideas for writing FASTER and BETTER.
STUDY SUCCESSFUL SONGS
This is the quickest way to solve a lot of the problems I just listed. Spend at least one to two hours per week listening to songs on the music charts, or songs used in Film & TV. Of course, you won’t like everything you hear. You may have to dig a while before you uncover a song you want to learn from. But it’s worth it and it’s an essential part of the job of songwriting.
Too often we think of our songwriting career as ONLY the act of songwriting, but there’s so much more. Laying the groundwork for new songs, learning how others creatively use song craft, getting inspired, feeling like you could beat those songs – all of these are ways you can up your game. Get your ears used to hearing what’s successful out there and your songwriting will improve.
READ THIS: Here’s an article on my website with a list of resources where you can find successful artists and bands in a range of styles to listen to.
Embed current songs to give yourself an instant feel for the style
When you find a song you like, get a copy of the lyrics. (you can find them online or take them down by ear.) Practice singing along with the track until it’s comfortable for you. This may not be as easy as it sounds. Many current singer-songwriter songs have complex melodies and phrasing. Just learn it one section at a time. If the song isn’t in your vocal range, talk-sing along with it until you get a feel for the rhythm of the melody. These days, the rhythm of the notes is as important as note pitches. Continue reading “Faster & Better: Pick Up Your Songwriting Speed”