All About Songwriting

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Category: Video

Six Tips For Basic Songwriting – A Video

Here is a video that really impressed me with the directness of its message. It comes from a singer/songwriter named Kyle Erwin and it’s called “Six Tips For Basic Songwriting.”

Now I’ve been writing songs for a while now and most of the information that I come across online is stuff that I already know or have experienced however, there was something that I found in this video that I wasn’t aware of and now will incorporate into my own songwriting process.

It’s not often that this happens hence why I want to share this video with all of you.

On his blog, Kyle also has his “Six Tips For Basic Songwriting” as a post and cleverly links to it from his video to save you writing down notes on the information he imparts.

He also mentions about a product for the iPad called Music Memos. I’ve actually downloaded that and have been playing around with it. I’ll see if I can do a review of it in a future post.

Anyway, enjoy this video and remember, if there’s anything that you’d like to share with me regarding any of the information presented on the video just let me know.

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

Songwriting Tools – Randomness And Oblique Strategies

Oblique Strategies (with the subtitle “over 100 worthwhile dilemmas”) is a set of published cards first created in 1975 by ambient music pioneer and music producer to the stars, Brian Eno and his longtime friend Peter Schmidt.

They were designed to break creative deadlock through generating thought, discussion and inspiration from randomly chosen phrases or cryptic remarks written on a set of separate cards.

Oblique Strategies is now in its sixth edition.

A number of songwriters have used the concept of randomness as a songwriting idea generator.

Most notable of these writers is David Bowie who used the technique of cutting up words, throwing them up in the air and creating lyrics from the end result.

If my general knowledge is correct, some songs that were written in this way are featured on his albums “Low” (1977), “Lodger” (1979) and “Scary Monsters” (1980).

I have been fascinated by the Oblique Strategies concept for a long time and I can really see how they would be extremely helpful in my own songwriting process.

Like most songwriters, I have songwriting ideas in my archive that I can’t seem to progress any further because I’ve unfortunately set the songwriting idea in concrete.

Every time I revisit these ideas I find myself playing the same things over and over again and it’s in these types of situations that I would find the Oblique Strategies cards useful.

Speaking about randomness…

If you have taken my advice in my other blog posts “Brainstorming Possible Song Titles” and “Expanding On Your Possible Song Titles” you would have at your disposal quite a large collection of lines, phrases and semi completed songs.

Look at your list as your own personal set of Oblique Strategies. You’ve created your very own songwriting tool to help you break through those periods of creative deadlock that we all face from time to time.

Even if one line from your list sparks an idea that finishes a song that you’ve been agonising over for ages, it would’ve been well worth the effort.

Here are some other Oblique Strategies links for you to check out:

Plus, to finish things off, here is my favourite Brian Eno song. It’s called “By This River” and it’s from his 1979 album “Before And After Science.”

It’s a song I wish I had written. Enjoy…

Until next time, happy writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

VIDEO: Austin Kleon – Steal Like An Artist

I’m a firm believer that when it comes to songwriting, the originality in your songs comes from the fact that you wrote it in the first place, not from any external source.

To reinforce this belief, I found a video of a TEDx talk by author and artist Austin Kleon called “Steal Like An Artist” in which he talks about how art can be put into one of two categories…

  • Art that is worth stealing
  • Art that isn’t worth stealing

He also talks about his poetry writing technique called “newspaper blackout” which is blackening out unimportant words in old newspapers and how this seemingly original idea actually has a 250 year history attached to it.

He finishes off the video with some quotes by Pablo Picasso, TS Eliot, Steve Jobs and David Bowie which all extol the virtues of “… taking the things you’ve stolen and turning it into your own thing” rather than just copying ideas for copying sake.

Anyway, I reckon you’re going to love or hate this video plus, pick up a fantastic songwriting idea generating technique as well.

Well, what do you think of this video? What do you think of the whole concept of “Nothing Is Original” in songwriting?

Comment below or contact me about it. I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

VIDEO: Songwriting Tips With Beth Neilsen Chapman

This is a great video by M Magazine of an interview with hit songwriter Beth Neilsen Chapman who has had her songs performed by such artists as Faith Hill, Willie Nelson, Trisha Yearwood and Mary Chapin Carpenter.

In just over ten minutes Beth Neilsen Chapman eloquently answers these four questions.

  • How do you write a really good song?
  • How can someone develop their sense of creative flow?
  • How do you work through (song) writers block?
  • Is songwriting an innate skill or can it be taught?

I really love the way she talks about how important it is to just show up to write even if nothing is coming out at the time.

I couldn’t have said it better myself…

Until next time, just keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting