Hello Fellow Music Lover!
For the sake of these 4 exercises, put on your lab coat,
rub a layer of curiosity into your skin,
and let’s dive into your inner Musicologist!
1. Write at least 16 Bars every day – commit to this minimum! Journal it, type it in Google Docs, record it into your phone or swipe it into Google Keep so you can access your work from anywhere! Flex and stretch those songwriting muscles!
2. Listen to a music style other than your wheelhouse, and then write in that Style. For example, you may find that you are not drawn to Rap. But go to Spotify and listen to the top 3 rap songs or artists for just 5 minutes. Remember, today you are a curious Musicologist. After listening, write 16 bars of rap – on any topic. You may find that you still don’t desire to write rap, but you may be pleasantly surprised to find that you really LOVE how fun it is to sink your teeth into syncopation, new cadences and tight internal rhyme schemes. Maybe you like the freedom of being a little cheeky for a few bars. These realizations could become new tools to season the kind of songs that you ultimately do enjoy writing. You may even discover that you’re great at writing in this new style!
3. Write music in a different Method! There are many, many methods to write a song. For some people, the songwriting process differs for each musical piece. Perhaps the lyrics come first, or the melody, or one can topline lyrics and melody over a track that’s already written, using their talents to fit the tone and phrasing of that instrumental. Whatever your usual method is – just for the exploration of your craft, try it a different way today. Spread those wings and you’ll never be “stuck” again!
More fun methods for writing songs are:
a. Choose an interesting theme or song title and write about that (ie: Earth, or Kiss the Ground, or Back to Back, Consciously Unconscious, Petals…).
b. How about writing a song using the same specific phrase as the first line of Every Verse. Like, “In the blink of an eye…”, or “I knew it then, I knew it when…”, etc…. If 5 people wrote with that prompt, each song would still be very different.
c. Try an unusual time signature for you. If you find you usually write in 4/4, try one in 3! A waltz can be surprisingly yummy, and quite palatable in pop music! In 1970, Diana Ross’ team was nervous about her releasing this 3/4 song as a pop song, but it turned out to be a stunning success. Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand) … These Covid days though, it might not have been so popular – but for completely other reasons. I digress. Give a different time signature a shot, and feel what the new cadence inspires within you!
And what if you write a song and you don’t love it? Here’s something fun to try:
d. Flip the script. If the song’s perspective has a person that is being sung to, Re-Write the song from the perspective of that secondary person, directed to the initial protagonist. This shift in perspective could be just what the song needed.
Creativity is endless! That’s just what we do, what we breathe, what we swim in as songwriters! There’s no wrong way to get to the end of your song. 🙂
4. Finally, and importantly, read an article or clip about music promotion or the music industry every day. Even if it’s 2 minutes, or a nugget of a 2 sentence quote from a seasoned professional, read something every day!! Be it in Rolling Stone, a blog on CD Baby, Music Industry How To, or search Google for something professionally songwriter related! I came across this interesting article on OmariMc.com about song promotion today, and I was able to find some new resources through which I can promote my music. Sweet!
Off you go then, keep on that Musicologist lab coat and get writing! Practicing these tools consistently will cultivate new creative perspectives to draw from. Have fun, stay curious and I can’t wait to hear what you’ve written next. Until then, I’m sending you creative juices from LA!