Indie Know-How

Songwriting Tips: Do’s and Don’ts When Writing Songs

Songwriting is a creative process that is approached differently by many songwriters. How do you approach songwriting?  Is it best to write the music first or the words?  Many people ask this question, and there isn’t an easy or necessarily correct answer to this question.

There really is not one way to write a song. Some artists might have an approach that works well for them, but others may not find it as effective. Here are some tips you may want to keep in mind regardless of your approach.

1)  Writing based on a general idea/lyrical concept

You may have been through a personal experience that’s important to you and feel that others want to hear your story.  This could be a good place to start.  Make sure you do stay focused and don’t get too vague though, so you can keep your listeners attention as you tell your story.

2)  Writing based on a lyrical hook/title idea

This approach can work well as long as you do make sure your lyrics strongly support your hook and have real emotional content so your listeners are engaged.

3) Writing from a melodic idea

Many people will learn your melody a long time before they learn your lyrics, so don’t take the importance of having a good melody lightly. Do make sure you remember that the melody isn’t the only part of a song and you don’t sacrific the integrity of your lyrics.

4) Writing from a chord progression/groove

Don’t rely on a groove or chord progression at the expense of your melody and lyrics.  If you don’t have a good groove you should go back to the drawing board. Even if you have a fantastic groove you still need to have a stong melody and lyrics or you’ll end up with a mediocre song.

If you would like more tips, check out Cliff Goldmacher, a songwriter, producer session musician, engineer, author and owner of recording studios in Nashville, TN and Sonoma, CA.

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