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Songwriting Techniques- 10 Ways To Keep The Creative Juices Flowing

Apr 11, 2008
Great songwriters seem to have an infinite well of ideas and inspiration which never dries up. Just how do they manage this? How is it that they resonate and connect with their audience over and over? Perhaps they have some mysterious bag of songwriting techniques which they use again and again. Perhaps they are just born talented!

Successful songwriters usually tap into every day topics, coming from a different perspective for each new song. By doing this, the songwriter ensures their listeners stay entertained and engaged via the familiarity of an old subject presented with a new and fresh treatment.

One wonders just exactly how songwriters can achieve this. Exactly what techniques do these songwriters use to keep producing new and creatively fresh material? There are many songwriters and many songwriting techniques, but here are just a few which can help to keep the flow of ideas and inspiration coming. Try them!

1. Keep a digital recorder and/or notebook with you at all times. It's impossible to predict when inspiration will strike, or a new melody might come to you.

2. Make time to jam with others. Getting songs ready for a jam session can help creativity and song fluency.

3. Practice singing harmony. As a songwriter, one of the best skills that you can develop is to sing harmony on the fly. By singing harmony on the fly you are really "composing".

4. Listen to lots of different music. Listening to other writers' music can give creativity a real jump start. The subconscious can pick up riffs, nuances and tone which can help a writer to write much more fluently.

5. Don't censor yourself. If you have a strange or unusual idea for a song, use it and keep going with the song. You can change it later if you still don't like it.

6. Get inspiration from everywhere. Many writers have been inspired by great works of fiction or art. (remember Mona Lisa and Wuthering Heights?). Another source of inspiration for starting songs can be the titles used in magazine articles, which are often short and snappy.

7. Find supporters. Writing music is very personal and difficult to produce without positive feedback. Having friends who really enjoy your music and provide encouragement helps to keep you motivated and inspired.

8. Use poetry. Challenging yourself to produce poetry can really help with writing lyrics for your songs. Take existing poems or bible verses and write melodies for them. Tuning in to others' imagination through reading can also assist with imagination and so improve lyric writing ability.

9. Think in multiple lines of instrumentation. When music is going through your head, try to stretch your composition ability by thinking in multiple lines of music. This is not easy, but the more lines of instrumentation you can hold in your mind, the better you will be able to compose.

10. Practice writing music on the fly. Improvise melodies while alternating between two chords of accompaniment. Use the left hand to alternate between two chords, and the right hand to improvise melodies.

It is easy to discount a popular and easily understood song as "not creatively sound". Nothing could be further from the truth. Music and lyrics are a very subjective thing, and everyone is different. Your least favorite song could be somebody else's all time favorite.

So the moral of this story is, don't ever suppress your artistic and creative instinct. Perhaps some of the songwriting techniques you are reading today could just make the difference. And never forget that there are people out there waiting to hear your songs!
About the Author
Jean Littman is co-owner of the guitar and music resource site GuitaroJam.com. Free newsletter and articles, online guitar lessons, guitar tips and techniques. Read interesting articles on songwriting and learn new songwriting tips and techniques.
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