Songwriting can have its ups and downs. It can have its traps too. Unbelievable? At face value, these traps would seem to boost your songwriting skills. However, that’s exactly why they are traps. Your ability to identify and avoid them will help you become a stunning songwriter and keep you on top of things. Keep in mind that every coin has two sides. What could be used for the highest good can be catastrophic as well, depending on how you use it.

Talent

There is no disputing the fact that any musician needs to be talented in what they do. Talent is what sets you apart from others when training and practice are not taken into consideration. You may have great talent in songwriting. Good for you! However, there is a downside to it that is best explained as follows:

One of the biggest problems that comes from being naturally talented is the formation of bad habits, to the extent that people start to believe their bad habits are actually an asset. The “well, it works for me” opinion can seriously impair a songwriter’s ability to improve and build on their instincts for music. Via Secrets of Songwriting

guitar part
Image Courtesy of Flickr

Instinct

Another great asset to have is good instinct. Who would not love to have an endless flow of words to write? Instinctive songwriting capitalizes on the moments of inspiration and actually produces awesome songs. Although this isn’t wrong on its own, it could get you into a comfort zone and cripple your potential.

There’s an important aspect of discipline that comes from scheduling your songwriting activities. If you only ever write because a great idea suddenly hits you, you are missing out. Scheduling your songwriting means writing when you don’t think you have anything in your musical brain to write. Via Secrets of Songwriting

Specialization

This is something that could easily raise eyebrows, but still worth considering. There is nothing wrong in being an expert at playing the piano or guitar or any other instrument. Or even singing and songwriting. However, focusing on just one could limit your creativity. There are things you can do on the piano that you cannot do on the guitar or with your voice. So why not venture beyond your boundaries?

Explore as many new and different ways to initiate the songwriting process as you can. Try guitar, piano, mandolin, your old high school flute, your uncle’s fiddle, and so on.

You don’t need to be good at an instrument to get melodic ideas. But sticking to the same old instrument all the time locks you into a kind of muscle memory that works against musical innovation. Via Secrets of Songwriting

songwriter
Image Courtesy of Pixabay

Independence

Look at it this way, you can wake up one day and play a tune on your guitar that just came up as you sipped your coffee. Then you pen it down, complete with lyrics – all on your own. Great songwriting, no? Another unbelievable trap.

If for you songwriting is always a solitary event, where you never incorporate the ideas of someone else, you could be missing an enormous opportunity of expanding your musical palate. Find times to connect with other good musicians. Via Secrets of Songwriting

guitar
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia

Genre Specificity

There is no disputing that focus on one particular genre will make your songwriting better than if you did everything at once. That is true. On the other hand, it is also true that complacency is an enemy of progress. Exploring what’s going on outside of your genre could really enhance your skills.

So take the time to do an online search for “best country hits”, “best metal songs ever”, “best bluegrass”, and so on. As you experience other genres, you’ll find your own personal definition of what good music is will get nudged in different directions. And that’s always a good thing. Via Secrets of Songwriting

Conclusion

The conscious awareness that your greatest assets can turn into your greatest liabilities will help you remain attentive and conquer any challenges that may come your way. You are more likely to do better than a person that thinks all is well and there is no need to worry. Keep your eyes open! Don’t limit your songwriting in any way.

Featured Image: Image Credit

Related Articles:

7 things that could sink your songs: beware of these bad songwriting habits!

[This article is an excerpt from The Music Producer’s Handbook by Bobby Owsinski.]

At the heart of every music production is its basic building block—the song. It’s the key element, because if you don’t have a great song or songs, you won’t have a great record. You can have the most brilliant players provide excellent performances, and you can do a masterful production job, but if the songs aren’t there, not much of the audience is going to care beyond the first listen. Indeed, music history is littered with artists, bands, and records that had everything going for them except the most important thing: the songs.

That’s why I’m spending an entire chapter analyzing song structure. In the end, no one can predict what will be a hit or what might touch your audience’s heart or feet, but certain elements have tended to work in popular music of all types since the beginning of recorded music. It helps to know what works before you try something else. Via DIY Musician

 

Why It Is Important To Keep Your Songwriting Clean And Basic For Your Listeners

In creating songs, one of the best things you can do is to keep your songwriting as simple as possible. Keeping it simple does not mean lightweight or nonsensical or adding a lot of fluff, it simply means maintaining clarity so that your listeners don’t have to be doing mental gymnastics to keep up.

In an attempt to make their songs sound different from what’s already on the air, some songwriters may try weird song structures and arrangements. While there is nothing wrong with trying new things, you run the risk of overwriting or straying, which can turn out to be just too much for listeners. To ensure you’re keeping it simple, there are a few things to keep in mind when writing your songs.

1. Visualize your songs in three parts

Keeping this basic song structure in your head is the easiest way to ensure your songs stay simple and are easy to digest by the audience. Most popular songs that are highly listened to use this basic construction, which can come in the form of verse – chorus – verse – chorus – bridge – chorus for example. You can even drop the bridge for some songs or add a “pre-chorus” if needed. Via Music Think Tank

 

FIVE BAD SONGWRITING HABITS

From the USA Songwriting Competition blog: If you are spending hours working on writing songs and not getting the results you want, you may have a “songwriting habit” or two that needs dropped.
Here are five habits to ditch that will help you grow your songwriting —not to mention reduce the amount of time you spend on you getting your songs cut by music artists.
1. Churning and burning. Yes, you want to have your songs cut by major music artists, and perhaps even yourself as a singer-songwriter act, but if you are only focused on writing new songs without paying attention to existing your existing songs, you are wasting a lot of time and energy and leaving a whole lot of lessons learnt on the table. If you have a system in place for writing songs but it is not working – if your songs are going nowhere and you are dissatisfied with your songwriting career or singer-songwriter career, maybe you may want to think “outside the box”. Via Indie Music