We're not all composers. But we all know a good song when we hear one. Maybe thats what stops us from taking those first awkward steps towards developing ourselves as songwriters? The first couple of songs we write can feel tentative, unformed and generally leave us feeling like we'll never become songwriters, with our first attempts unfinished and unheard. Thats normal and a natural part of learning a new skill set, it's really challenging to compare our first attempts with our favourite songs. We're bound to come up short. However there are some ways that we can deepen our craft and get better at it, if we are willing to suck for a while.
No One Gets There Overnight!
The key is to know your emotional life well enough to be able to boil our feeling in a given situation down to a few simple lines. Many a great song has been born when a singer trusts their collaborators enough to bring a few snatches of lyric to a musical composer, a producer, a band mate etc and allowed them to help finish it into an actual song.
Sometimes we can stay in the process and help steer and shape the outcome, sometimes it's best if we get out of the way and let the more experienced "professional" finish the job. That doesn't matter, what matters is that the final product will have some of our emotional life in it's DNA. That will make the song feel closer to our emotional centre and much easier to perform!
We Deepen Our Skill Set Over Time!
However if we are going to become composers there will be a drive to do better, to learn the craft, to co-write with more experienced composers, to learn the tricks etc.
Practical Coaching Advice: Breaking the NegativesBecause we haven't "finished" songs that we feel proud of it stops us from investing in the journey.
BUT in truth the only way we ever get there is to BEGIN! Those few tentative steps we take are the most important ones! Here are a few suggestions to get you moving!!
*Keep a "lyric" journal by your bed. Fill it with your dreams and unfigured out feelings..grab a hold of any pieces of lyric that float in for you first thing in the morning. Write and DO NOT worry about how it might become useful as a song.
*Read poetry to discover the power of language separated out from music. Dive into the world of the word and discover your affinity to expressing through language.*Learn to play some simple songs on the piano or guitar and get used to singing to an instrument that you are playing. That will go a long way towards allowing your first tentative composing efforts!
*If you can't seem to finish songs bring them to a more experienced collaborator and pay attention to the way that they help build the final song from simple building blocks!
Songwriting looks hard.. but is in fact very simple. Its ALL about trusting your instincts and following you heart. Of course the more experience you have at "problem solving" during the process the easier it gets! But you will never get to your destination unless you START YOUR JOURNEY!