Got an email from a girl the other day asking me for some tips on songwriting…
I emailed her back with some thoughts and reckoned that others might enjoy a few pointers too.
I remember when I wrote my first song I’d been listening to Joni Mitchell all afternoon and the way she sounded so free with her melodies inspired me to pick up my guitar and start writing.
I only knew 2 or 3 chords at the time but didn’t let that stop me!
There were gaps where I had melody but no chords. It was a song I was really proud of and made it onto my first solo album. It’s called Beautiful . That moment made me fall in love with song-writing ; )
If you’re thinking about getting started, here are a few tips!
1) Find people to collaborate with. Find a friend that plays guitar or
piano maybe. Open mic nights are great places to meet other song-writers and musicians you can write with.
2) Remember a melody can go anywhere, there are no restrictions. It’s a
blank canvas ready to be pained on. Just start singing what feels good.
3) Don’t feel you need a full set of lyrics before you start to write a melody, scat singing works really well. Just sing sounds and whatever lyrics pop into your head to get you going. (Sometimes really good lyrics come out that way so jot them down as you go along)
4) Keep a note pad with you all the time so you can jot down songwriting ideas as
they hit you (sometimes inspiration finds you, not the other way around!)
5) Keep a small recording device on you (phone usually works) carry a recordable device with you (your phone should be fine). If you
start humming a catchy melody sing it into your phone and save it for later.
6) Keep both notepad and recorder beside your bed as song ideas will often come as you are drifting off to sleep or early in the morning as you are waking up .
7) Don’t feel you have to play an instrument well to write a song. Learning 4 or 5 chords on the guitar plenty to get you going, most of the best pop songs
in the world have been written using them!
8) Set aside time each week to song- write, be patient some times you will get
something and others you won’t but you have to give inspiration time!