Here is a common problem that one of my subscribers expressed to me recently…
“I’m 16 and the main problem is, I know what I want to write, but when I do write it down I just think it sounds lame”
Now she’s 16 years old, but I’m pretty sure that this problem transcends all ages.
The truth is, nearly every thing *I* put down I also think sounds lame too… at least at first. We all have to understand that in most cases you will never write a ‘great song’ the first time around. It doesn’t happen that way.
I always jokingly tell those who are aspiring songwriters that “you aren’t in the business of writing songs, but more like… you’re in the business of editing them”.
By that I mean, you’re not necessarily ‘song writing’, but rather ‘song crafting’. That’s why they call it a craft, and that’s how you should be thinking. It’s about constantly editing and re-arranging your song until you see it fit to be heard by other listeners. When you have a song down, don’t just let it stop there. Trust me, it ain’t finished.
There may be exceptions to the rule, but mostly – you will still have work to do.
Listen to the verse… could it do with a change of melody? Does it tie in well with the chorus or Pre-Chorus? Does the song make sense lyrically? Step out of the song for a moment… would you dig the song if you were an outsider listening in? Does the song bore YOU? What could you do to change that?
Now, you don’t have to go mad here. Don’t nit-pick every little knock and cranny – that will only drive you crazy. Take in the first instance of what you feel could do with re-working, then DO IT. Change it up… and make it better.
Critiquing your own song is probably one of the most difficult things to do in songwriting – but it CAN be done relatively easily. It involves you really having to stand apart from your song and looking at it a little objectively.
By listening to the song from other people ears can do wonders for your songwriting.
After you have done this, it’s time to let the cat out of the bag… BUT only for a limited audience.
What do I mean by that?..
…I mean, you should now play your song to a fellow musician, singer or songwriter. All three if you can. If it’s somebody you respect, then even better. Here’s the ticket: There is no better way to drastically improve your songwriting then when you actually begin to listen to your song though another songwriters/musician’s ears – of whom you respect. That’s the ultimate.
In fact, I’ll say that one more time so you can engrave this phrase in your mind…
There is no better way to drastically improve your songwriting then when you actually begin to listen to your song though another songwriters/musician’s ears – of whom you respect.
If you don’t have a friend who’s a songwriter or a musician that you admire and/or respect, then go get one. Honestly. Befriend one. Develop any sort of relationship with one. FIND one. It will be the greatest move you ever make in songwriting.
Eventually, you will not have to keep asking for feedback from them because you will soon be able to listen to your song ‘through his/her ears’. That’s why the above paragraph is so crucial to your songwriting success.
I’m convinced that should you follow the advice in this article that your songwriting will reach to it’s highest degree. Not only that, but you’ll achieve a higher level of songwriting in a shorter space of time.
Finally, remember you will get better as you write more and more. By definition, if you do something more than often, you will get better at it. So keep at it and for goodness sakes, ENJOY it