If You Can Play Songs, You Already Have Enough Musical Talent to Write Songs…
Songwriting talent isn’t as important as you think! Here’s what you really need to stop feeling overwhelmed so you can write songs you’re proud of…
I thought songwriting would be easy…
I could play a bunch of songs, they weren’t hard.
I could almost hear those new songs I’d write.
Turns out actually writing it down… the actual writing part is confusing.
I could hear it but I couldn’t find it when I tried to play it.
I could hear parts of it, but I couldn’t sing all the words…
Somewhere between “I wrote half a line… now what?” and “I wrote this song, but it sucks” I was questioning, doubting myself…
Is there something wrong with me?
Because Songwriting is Supposed to be Easy!
Do I Have What It Takes To Be A Songwriter?
Do I Have Enough Songwriting Talent?
Later, I realized songwriting isn’t difficult, it’s just complicated… there’s lots to learn and much to do. Stick with me, if you can play songs you’re already more than halfway there…
Below the video lesson is a summary of everything in the video, with some bonus ideas and links to other songwriting resources to help you get your songs written!
Why Songwriting Is Harder Than You Thought…
It takes more time, it’s harder and it’s more complicated than you expected. This is completely normal. Most songwriting tips are little pieces of a complicated puzzle. You’re left to figure it all out on your own.
You’ve also read and heard stories about professional songwriters who write (some) songs quickly. You aren’t a professional songwriter yet, so comparing yourself to them, or expecting to write as well or quickly as they can isn’t realistic.
It takes time to write songs, there are many choices to make… I don’t have to write a song every time I sit down.
To Write Songs You Need…
1. Songwriting Knowledge (not Songwriting Talent)
You need to know how to write your ideas down. How to edit your ideas and create lines of lyrics. How to create a first draft of your lyrics and how to improve it to make it the best that you can.
You need a songwriting process to get from your initial inspiration to a finished draft.
What Goes Into a Song…
- Lyric Writing
- Chord Progressions
- Song Structure
- How to Create an Interesting Story
2. Songwriting Practice (not Songwriting Talent)
Then you need to practice… take all your songwriting knowledge and put it into action by writing!
Just like learning to play your instrument, you had to learn to put abstract knowledge into practice so you could get the music out.
You learn to drive a car by driving, not just passing a written test!
Songwriting Knowledge is Something You Learn…
You can learn from:
- By taking private songwriting lessons and in person courses and through
- Online songwriting courses.
It’s faster to purchase knowledge than to figure it out on your own. The trouble with learning from YouTube or learning from books, is you only get bits and pieces of a complicated songwriting process. You’re left to put it together yourself.
When you buy lessons or a course (in person or online) from the right teacher you can learn an entire songwriting process. Think about lessons as an investment in yourself. If you can afford to pay for lessons or a course you can save months or years of trying to figure it out on your own.
Would you rather spend your time songwriting or learning about songwriting?
Songwriting Practice Is…
Learning to apply songwriting knowledge to actually write songs. Watching a video or reading an article, doesn’t mean you can actually apply the knowledge. There’s another step in the learning process….
You can learn the basics of songwriting quickly. My self-paced online songwriting course, the Ultimate Songwriting Jumpstart has about 8.5 hours of video lessons. While you can binge watch the entire course in a day, it doesn’t mean you can learn to apply that knowledge that quickly. I designed the course in units of about 15 minutes each, then wrote exercises to help you use and remember what you’ve learned about. Because I know how to teach, I focused on the most important concepts you need to know and then created exercises to help you apply them. For every 15 minute block of video lessons, there are 15 minutes of exercises.
It Takes Longer To Write a Song Than You Thought Because… (Bonus – not included in the video)
Songwriting is creative and open ended. It requires more creative decisions than playing songs.
Songs are complex, the lyrics, melody and music are interrelated if one is weak the others will feel weak too. The lyrics you thought were terrible might have actually been fine, but perhaps the melody was too predictable or the way you’re playing the chord progression doesn’t support the lyrics.
You’re feeling like a failure because your expectations weren’t realistic. Bring your expectations in line with reality instead of letting the frustration get the better of you!
The Myth of the “Instant Song”… there are countless stories of songs written in one sitting. You’ve heard them because they’re more exciting and get more attention in the press than the reality that most professional songwriters write several drafts before a final version of the song.
You’ve studied music and how to play it in more detail than the lyrics. It took time to learn to play your instrument, expect it to take a while for you to write solid song lyrics that you’re satisfied with.
Nobody properly explained songwriting to you… most “songwriting tips” are bits and pieces of a larger complicated process!
Summary – Songwriting Isn’t About Songwriting Talent
Stop worrying about talent… if you’ve learned to play songs you’ve got enough talent for songwriting!
I wish I could remember who said this awesome quote…
If you’ve ever “not liked a song”… you’ve got enough musical taste to be a songwriter.
I’d say: If you can recognize bad (songwriting) you can learn to write great songs!
You need songwriting knowledge and songwriting practice. You didn’t learn to play your instrument instantly, so don’t expect songwriting to happen in one day. Because you’ve already learned to practice and learned about music through your instrument… you’re songwriting journey will be faster. You’ve already done a great deal of the hard work.
Investing in your songwriting education isn’t cheating, it’s making the most of your time. Consider it as an investment, not an expense. You can deduct tuition and lesson fees on your tax returns in my jurisdiction, check into it. The government considers it an investment.
Write where you are… a song is a snapshot of where you are as a person and a songwriter. Accept that your latest song is what you can do now. Keep writing, learning and getting feedback on your songs (and using the feedback to improve your songs) and the songs you write will continue to improve.
It’s easy to write bad songs, it takes more time (and effort) to create awesome songs.
Take your time and enjoy the journey…
and spend your time writing songs, instead of worrying about your talent or your abilities!