All About Songwriting

Songwriting Tips, Ideas & Help In One Songwriting Resource

Tag: songwriting ideas

6 Ways You Can Find Melodic Ideas Everywhere Around You

I’m a great believer that songwriting ideas are everywhere and all you need to do is to allow yourself to tap into the void and somehow, let the songwriting ideas come to you.

These sentiments are echoed in Erin McAnnally’s wonderful article titled 6 Songwriting Tips for Finding Melodies in the Space Around You which appeared recently in the songwriting blog SongFancy.

In the article she writes…

There are melodies all around us, even in the silence we may be lucky enough to experience once in a while.It is up to us to harvest them, to memorialize them and to put them to use.

The world and the mind itself can be sources of constant inspiration and provide fruitful and nearly constant ideas if we allow ourselves to listen and create.

Erin then goes on to list the 6 ways that you can find songwriting ideas everywhere around you. Without going into too much detail, they are…

  • Listen to yourself
  • Listen to the world
  • Meditate on a looped track
  • Doodle on your instrument
  • Let words lead you
  • Record everything you find

Essentially what Erin is saying in 6 Songwriting Tips for Finding Melodies in the Space Around You is that you need to stop the world, get off the merry-go-round for a bit and really take the time out to listen to yourself and the world around you.

I also think she’s saying that we also need to be brave enough to walk along paths less travelled and be prepared to experience inconvenient tangents and happy accidents in our quest for new songwriting ideas.

I enjoyed this article very much and found myself nodding my head in agreement while at the same time, feeling vindicated that my views on the infinite and sacred nature of songwriting ideas had resonated with someone else.

What are your views on this matter? Do you think that songwriting ideas reside in the spaces in between and are waiting to be channelled?

Comment below or, let me know what you think. Id love to hear your thoughts

In the meantime, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting


Check out the original link: 6 Songwriting Tips for Finding Melodies in the Space Around You • SongFancy

Your Life As One Continuous Songwriting Process

As songwriters, we need to be eternally vigilant to any opportunity that might arise which enables us to replenish our repository of songwriting ideas.

When we talk about a songwriting process though, we generally talk about engaging in a set of activities that is separate to our lives in general. We live our lives and in between that we have to make the time to write songs then, we start living life again.

My question to you is… Why limit your songwriting process only to activities where you have to make time? Why can’t you make your whole life become one continuous songwriting process?

By doing this, you create a day-to-day life/songwriting ideas loop where one activity (songwriting) can exist within another (day-to-day life) at the same time

Think about it for a moment… When we make the most out of our lives, the experiences gained will make great songs but in turn, when we also write songs about what is happening around us it helps us make the most out of our lives.

Looking at our lives as one continuous and never-ending songwriting process forces us to pay closer attention to what we do in and with our lives and be more mindful it.

I think it was Socrates who once said that “… an unexamined life is a life not worth living.”

There is no reason why you couldn’t find songwriting ideas through the activities that make up your day to day life which will in turn inspire you to find more songwriting ideas.

Imagine your life becoming one big ideas loop. That would be very cool indeed.

This concept would only truly work if first of all, you internalise the habit of being vigilant to any songwriting opportunity that comes along and secondly, to have a means to record the songwriting idea as it happens if it cannot be worked on straight away.

It’s all about being present in the NOW, and with that in mind, I’ve now got a song to write.

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

The Importance Of Always Recording Your Songwriting Ideas

As a songwriter, there are going to be times in your career where you’ll be so inspired, writing a complete song from start to finish in one go will seem like the easiest thing in the world.

For the rest of the time however, it’ll seem like that all you’re doing is constantly finding that next songwriting idea.

You don’t necessarily need to have a fully set up home recording studio to capture your ideas (although I do suggest you seriously consider moving in that direction) but having access to some sort of basic audio recording device is essential.

Personally, I always like to give the voice recording function on my smartphone a really good workout.

It never ceases to amaze me though, how many songwriters out there are still relying on their memory alone and not recording their songwriting ideas.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from all of my years of writing songs it’s this… When it comes to your song ideas, never, ever trust your memory.

A good songwriting exercise and an example of how I record my ideas is this…

If you’re like me and writing songs on guitar is your thing, I imagine you try to set aside some time each day to pick up the guitar and play whatever comes to mind.

Next time you do this make sure you have some sort of recording device near by ready to go. When a hint of an idea develops simply press record and commit that idea to “tape” for future reference.

Once the idea is recorded you then have the choice of either developing the idea a bit more or, go on to finding where the next song idea will come from.

The beauty about this exercise is that you’re not under any pressure to remember the little snippets of possibility that you’ve seemingly conjured up from nowhere. It’s all down on “tape” ready to be referenced ion the future.

Just remember, the whole purpose of the exercise is to simply record what comes out of you.

Another thing I like to do while noodling on the guitar is make nonsensical sounds and rhythms with my voice at the same time, singing whatever comes into my head. It’s quite okay to babble rubbish into a voice recorder or smartphone and not feel bad about it.

When I’m lyrically noodling, I take particular interest in the melodies and the rhythms I produce at the time. The lyrics can come later.

When doing this exercise, don’t even look at finish a song, just gather ideas, phrases, riffs and melodies and get them recorded in some way. After a while you’ll develop quite a collection of them.

This will become your comprehensive songwriting ideas archive.

Be warned though, your inner critic is going to have a wonderful time telling you how bad all of your ideas sound and how awful all the lyrics are. You just have to ignore it and look at all of your ideas in your archive as works in progress that aren’t yet completed.

Once you’ve been doing this as consistently as you can for between two weeks to a month, it’s time to listen back on what you’ve done. You’ll be amazed at how many of the songwriting ideas you’ve forgotten.

This is the part of the process always makes me feel like I’m hearing my song ideas for the very first time and it’s from this perspective that my songs get finished.

Just think, with your ever growing list of possible song titles at your disposal and your musical and lyrical noodles committed to “tape,” imagine how many more songs you are going to write and complete.

Exciting isn’t it?

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

Song Lyrics – Making Mountains Out Of Molehills

If you’re like me, then part of your songwriting process is to be constantly on the lookout for more and more songwriting ideas because, it’s from these ideas that the next song is born.

However, in the process of doing this you’ll end up having a whole lot of song lyric snippets, possible song titles and miscellaneous lines and phrases floating around the place either in your head or loosely organised on pieces of paper or, files on your computer.

After a while you start to ask yourself the question “what do I do with all of these songwriting ideas?”

One songwriting technique that I use a lot is to write a short story using one of your collected random songwriting ideas as its inspiration and then, once finished, condensing the whole story down into a working song lyric.

All you need to do is to pick one of your random songwriting snippets and without thinking about it, start writing.

Make lists, use a mind map, do whatever you need to do to explore every conceivable angle that come to mind from that single songwriting idea.

It’s amazing how much you’re able to write if you let yourself go. From one line a sentence is formed, from a sentence a paragraph is formed and from a paragraph a short story is formed.

When I do this exercise, I try to fully exhaust all of my options in one sitting. If, at the end of the session I have ten pages of writing then so be it.

For me, I find it best to begin this editing and elimination process a day or two after I’ve written the story, to ensure I have fresh eyes and ears but nevertheless, this is where the fun begins.

Once you’ve finished writing your short story, have a look at what you’ve written and start eliminating all of the non essential bits of the story and with what’s left over, mould a song from that.

You’ll find that by doing this songwriting exercise it’s much easier to write down far too much information and then take things away, than to write too little and have to add things in afterwards.

It just goes to show that in songwriting, it pays to make a mountain out of a molehill.

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

My Songwriting Process – How I Cultivate My Songwriting Ideas

Well, seeing that for a while now I’ve been putting together a songwriting blog called All About Songwriting, I thought it was about time I revealed to all of you how I get my songwriting ideas.

Now, my songwriting process may work for some but not for others but hey, if you want to give my method a go you have my permission to do so.

Before I start, let me just say that for me, writing a song is like fishing and my songwriting process is the equivalent to baiting the hook to get a bite.

So, with that in mind, let’s go fishing. Here’s how I do it…

1. Have a tape recorder/smartphone plus notepad and pen ready to go.
By getting your songwriting tools together at the ready you’re now baiting your hook and throwing the line in but you better be ready when the songwriting idea bites.

2. Pick up your instrument of choice, and start noodling.
What I mean by noodling is, don’t play anything in particular, just improvise. Let your creative juices start flowing and let your mind wander wherever it wants to go.

Don’t worry if what you’re playing sounds like something else and especially don’t worry if you are playing your stock standard, tried and tested favourite chords.

Just enjoy these bonding moments between you and your instrument. You’re fishing the sea of infinite songwriting ideas.

If you feel like singing but you don’t have anything concrete in mind just sing some improvised, non-sensical lyrics to accompany your noodlings. Engage yourself in the rhythm of the words not the meaning of the words.

3. Pay attention to what you play and be prepared to go off on tangents.
The more you noodle the more you’ll notice that what may seem familiar at first will become less so. If you stumble across something which makes you say to yourself “ooh, that sounds nice,” run with it, explore it.

This leads to the next step.

4. Stop noodling and start exploring – You’ve just got a bite!
A songwriting idea has taken your bait and now is the time to reel that sucker in and make some sense out of it. Play what you’ve discovered over and over again and get a little familiar with it.

What you’re doing here is formulating a skeleton structure for the newly discovered songwriting idea.

5. Record the songwriting idea and (if you can) write down the chords on paper
Once you’re familiar with the songwriting idea start recording it, nonsensical gobbledigook lyrics and all. If anything, recording your songwriting ideas will enable you to tell one idea apart from another.

6. Leave it alone and start noodling again.
Once you’ve recorded the idea go back to the beginning of the songwriting process.

What you’ve recorded is not meant to be a completed masterpiece. It is only the concrete beginnings of a songwriting idea and there’s plenty more where that came from. The time to refine the idea is not now, it’s later.

Getting back to comparing this process to fishing, when you finally catch a fish you don’t then stop everything to prepare the fish to be eaten don’t you? You store the fish and continue.

It’s the same with songwriting ideas.

Rinse and repeat as many times as you like… How long you want to keep fishing is totally up to you (or as long as your schedule allows).

This is the main way that I gather my songwriting ideas. It may not work for everyone but it works for me. I would be interested what people think of it so if you have any questions and/or feedback then feel free to let me know.

And another thing, don’t be concerned with getting a result straight away. If you start noodling and all you do is noodle then that’s fine. You can always try again next time.

Practice makes perfect but the most important thing about this exercise is that you’re perfecting your songwriting process, not the end result at this stage.

Turning your songwriting ideas into completed songs comes later (but I will cover that at another time)

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

Songwriting Tip – Always Be Prepared To Capture Songwriting Ideas

Sometimes songs come from the most amazing places.

I was once asked to facilitate a songwriting workshop with the topic being how to capture songwriting ideas, and in my research for the workshop, one of the questions I asked myself was “where have my songs come from?”

It was one of the first times I really looked at my song archive and traced the origins of my songs in this way and I realised that some of my songs had come from the most unlikely places.

This was most interesting to me.

Doing this research reinforced in me the notion that, as songwriters we have to be prepared to note down everything that is of interest to us because songwriting ideas can come from anywhere.

My research had shown me that I have written songs while sitting in cafes, waiting for and on public transport, having a shower, going for a walk, drinking at the pub and waiting at traffic lights.

I try as much as possible to have my smartphone at hand so I can capture these flashes of inspiration at anytime.

Get into the habit of seeing and experiencing the world as if it’s an infinite songwriting ideas machine.

As a songwriter all you have to do is find your own way to reach out and tap into this amazing resource. Of course doing this takes practice and a willingness to become much more observant and mindful of what’s going on around you.

On a personal note, since making an effort to be more observant and mindful of what happens in my life, I have managed to get more things done and my songwriting output has increased.

Don’t be afraid of what you see and what you feel. Write down your emotions and what your senses are telling you.

Emotions demonstrate to us all what it’s like to be human and embracing what you see, hear and feel on paper will go a long way in developing your own style as a songwriter.

Be brave in the face of the unknown and always be prepared.

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

How To Maintain The Flow Of Songwriting Ideas

Your goal as a songwriter is to keep your songwriting ideas alive at all times and at the same time, developing ways to capture those ideas at any given opportunity.

With that being said, my advice to you is to never trust your memory. If you do, you’ll lose more ideas than you gain and at the end of the day, your songwriting process is all about maintaining the flow of ideas.

Our brains are amazing things. They can soak up information and store things away however, as we get older, we start to forget. Our internal filing system starts to break down and it seems that we need to let some of the old stuff go so we can let the new stuff in.

Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way calls this concept the filling of the well.

I liken this concept to the syphoning of liquid. Once you get the initial flow established it then becomes constant. By emptying your mind onto paper or playing your ideas onto tape you’re making space for other ideas to come into being. It’s like you’re creating a vacuum for the new ideas to appear out of the ether.

Your ability to create a constant flow is determined by how much you’re able to accept any songwriting idea that appears before you.

Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones said once that he was merely the channel for a song to come into existence.

It’s was like he was the transmitter and through him, the song was able to be received by the listener.

Remember, if at anytime you think of something that could even be minutely used in a song, write it down, record it onto tape or even ring your home phone number and leave the idea on your answering machine (I’ve done that a few times to great effect).

Do anything to keep your songwriting ideas alive. Your future songs depend on it.

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting