All About Songwriting

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Month: July 2014

Songwriting Help – Some Ways To Improve Your Songwriting Output

Here are some ideas I’ve picked up lately on how you can improve your overall songwriting ability because it’s amazing how the smallest changes to your routine can make the biggest differences

1. Listen To Music

It sounds simple enough but by immersing yourself in the music of others you’re allowing the music to flow through you and the stuff that you really like will unconsciously latch onto your psyche and come out in your own songwriting later on.

2. Don’t Listen To Music

The other side of the coin… There will be times where silence, not music is needed to soothe the soul and when these moments happen immerse yourself in the silence. This is an opportunity for your subconscious to process information or for you to meditate. Either way, silence is sometimes a great way to invite the muse into your world

3. Keep A Digital Recorder With You

Whether this be your smartphone or something purpose built, always get into the habit of being ready to record anything that pops into your head while you go about your daily business because you never know where your next songwriting idea will come from.

4. Watch A Movie/TV With The Sound Off

It’s amazing what you pick up when your senses are less distracted. Watching a movie or the TV with the sound off and a notepad at the ready allows your imagination to fill in the gaps.

I also use it as an opportunity to practise some guitar at the same time. This multitasking can muck around with your brain al little bit but persist with it and you’ll find that the results are worth the effort.

5. Jam With Other Songwriters/Musicians

Always look for an opportunity to get together with other people and just jam for jamming sake. You don’t necessarily have to have a formal agenda attached to it.

Jamming with others allows you to be exposed to other influences plus it keeps your improvisational skills in check and who knows, you might stumble onto a songwriting idea worth exploring.

6. Find Some Songwriting/Musical Allies

Having some songwriting/musical allies in your corner will go a long way to sustaining your motivation. No matter where they come from (friends, family, mentors) the most important thing about these allies is that they are able to provide you constructive feedback without being either too patronising or fake in their praise.

7. Read Books, Poems And Stories

If listening to music infuses musical ideas into your songwriting then it would make sense to say that reading books would infuse lyrical ideas in the same way. By reading the words of others and utilising your imagination filtered through your own experiences, you’ll be putting a new spin on what you read and who knows… A song might come from that.

8. Challenge Yourself To Write Something Every Day

It’s all about creating discipline in your songwriting practise. I’m not saying that you necessarily write a song every day but to really get your songwriting process flowing you need to write at least something every day.

A list of possible song titles, a verse/chorus, a blog post, a poem, some free writing. Even if it’s just a few lines, anything will do.

Do you have some favourite things you like to do to keep the songwriting fires burning? Let me know and I might write a post about it.

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

Songwriting Tip – Using Cliches To Your Songwriting Advantage

There are many songwriting articles around telling us how bad cliches are for songwriting and that they should be eliminated from your life but for me, the question still remains…

“Is it possible to completely eradicate cliches from your songwriting?”

Well, I believe that you can’t completely eradicate cliches but you can look at them from another perspective. You can look at them as a possible songwriting tool.

Wikipedia defines a cliche as “…an expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has become overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, even to the point of being trite or irritating…” and while I was doing some research for this post I came across a website called ClicheList and I was really surprised with what I found.

I discovered how deep rooted cliches are in our everyday language and how there were some cliches listed on the site that I thought weren’t cliches.

Now I hear you asking… “how can ClicheList help me with my songwriting?”

Well, the beauty ClicheList is that it contains a very concise list of phrases that have become cliches over time plus, it also gives you the place of origin and the meaning behind the cliche which can give you ideas on how perhaps rephrase the cliche into something more original.

You see, by knowing the meaning behind the cliche you can then internalise that into your own experience and come up with something that comes from you and you only.

A good example of rephrasing a cliche to a songs advantage is the Toni Braxton song “Un-Break My Heart” (written by Dianne Warren) which is a rephrasing of “Break My Heart” a well worn cliche in its own right.

Here’s how you can rephrase a cliche to your advantage. Pick a cliche and play around with the phrase and the meaning behind it.

Write the cliche down on a piece of paper and try to match an event in your life that fits in with the meaning of it. By personalising the cliche you are changing its meaning to you from a global one to a unique one.

From there, you can start brainstorming your own phrases, lines and ideas from the rephrased cliche but these will be borne from your own experiences and knowledge. I believe that this is how you can use cliches to your songwriting advantage.

Here are some other cliche websites for you to check out:

What are your favourite cliches? I’d love to know what they are as there might be a song lurking underneath it.

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting