All About Songwriting

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Active Listening – A Songwriters Greatest Skill

When we start engaging in a conversation with someone, our minds generally start thinking a few steps ahead and therefore we miss out on the whole experience.

You know, ordinary people really say the most extraordinary things if you just listen out for it.

If we, as songwriters practise the art of actively listening to a conversation then we won’t miss out on anything. I can assure you that you’ll gain many more opportunities for gathering songwriting ideas if you do this.

It’s a known fact that songwriters like Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and Paul McCartney cite everyday conversations as the, primary sources of inspiration for some of their most well known songs.

Just think of it, as a songwriter, there’s always an opportunity to gather a new songwriting idea because the art of conversation happens on a day to day basis.

What we must do is learn to actively listen to what people say rather than just hear them and believe me, there is a huge difference between “hearing” and “listening.”

Active listening is, like any other skill, something that has to be practised over and over again because as human beings, listening does not come naturally to us.

To actively listen to someone requires us to be mindful of what we’re doing and to be fully in the moment. It requires us to give 100% of ourselves to the other person.

Active listening in a conversation means not thinking ahead about what you’re going to say next while the other person is talking. It’s almost like a form of meditation.

What you’re doing is emptying your mind so it can be filled with the conversation and it’s surroundings.

With active listening there is no doubt, no having to have words repeated back to you because you didn’t hear it the first time. Being in this head-space leaves you open to flashes of inspiration.

Once you become more skilled at this practise you’ll realise that everyone has something important to say.

There are other spin-offs in mastering the art of active listening. You’ll be greatly appreciated by others because you’re someone who really listens and understands them.

We live in a world where we are told time and time again that we have no time for ourselves, anyone or anything. This also means that we don’t take the time out to listen to other people because we are too busy to do so.

Very sad isn’t it?

When you get down to it people want to be happy, loved, validated, acknowledged, appreciated and listened to. Imagine, with your new found active listening skills how much of a breath of fresh air you will be to the people around you?

You will really get to know yourself and others a whole lot more and you’ll also have a constant stream of songwriting ideas at your disposal.

The world is an infinite song ideas machine and you already have the tools to operate it to your advantage.

Your eyes, ears, mouth, brain and heart.

Start really listening to everyone and everything around you today. Your songs will love you for it.

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

Why You Should Collaborate With Other Songwriters

Here’s a songwriting tip for you all… Sometimes, two (or more) heads are better than one when writing a song.

Songwriting doesn’t have to be something that you have to do by yourself. Some of the greatest songs ever were written by two or more people.

Examples of these great songwriting teams are:

  • Elton John/Bernie Taupin
  • Hal David/Burt Bacharach
  • Mick Jagger/Keith Richards
  • John Lennon/Paul McCartney

Working in collaboration with another songwriter can be the most rewarding thing that you can do for your songwriting process and there are a few reasons for this.

1. You can be challenged by somebody else
Some people relish the opportunity to work alone but for the most part it can be pretty lonely and un-motivating working by yourself.

Working with others keeps us honest and there is a joy in being spurred on by someone else to be your best.

2. You can cover more strengths
Maybe you are strong with lyrics and not so strong with melody or arrangements. If you choose a collaborator that has strengths in other areas then imagine what songs you can come up with?

I bet you they will be songs that you will both be happy with.

3. Brainstorming is much more fun with a collaborator
The concept of brainstorming for songwriting ideas is most effective when there are more than one songwriter participating. When you have someone else to bounce ideas off of the songwriting process seems to run more smoothly.

4. You can double the experience that you can write about
You and your collaborator are both individuals with different experiences. The amount of scope you have to write about expands.

5. You get exposed to new songwriting ideas
Working with someone else can be very eye opening. I can guarantee you that you will learn something new every time you and your collaborator get together.

6. It’s a great way to network and meet new people
You can collaborate with people that you know or you can seek a collaborator by looking on different songwriting forums, websites and organisations from all over the world.

They don’t even have to be in the same room, even in the same town or even country because you can use services like Skype to write songs. I’ve done this in the past and some songs I’m proud of have been written this way.

One of the most important thing about working with a collaborator is to have open and honest communication with each other especially after the song is written and it’s time to work out the songwriting percentages because there’s nothing that destroys a songwriting team faster than the feeling that credit is not being given where it’s due.

If you are feeling like your songwriting is in a bit of a rut, go and write with other people for a while, you wont regret it.

As a matter of fact, I’m up for a bit of song collaboration so contact me and see what we can do together.

Until next time, keep on writing

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting