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Last week, I started this series on Songwriting tips to help musicians write better songs. I was able to share only one tip last week because I didn’t want the article to be too long. Today, I will be sharing two important tips. So let’s dive into it:
Have a central theme
I started writing songs (or rather, I started attempting to write songs) in 2004. I had just finished secondary school the previous year and didn’t know anything about songwriting. So, I just put words together that sounded sweet to the ear, made sure they fit the melody I had in my head and boom! that’s a song. Like I said, I didn’t know anything about songwriting, so my songs had no central theme, no message, nothing. Just words that fit a melody and sound sweet to the ears. It took a few years before I started to learn about songwriting.
As a musician in the 21st century, you should not write songs like the ignorant me of 2004. Don’t just pick random ideas and jumble them together in one song. Each song you write should have a central theme/idea/ message that you intend to pass across to your listeners. The depth and meaning of your lyrics is equally as important as the melody of your song. So, don’t be aimless in your songwriting; have a central theme and let that message be clear enough for your listeners to get as they listen. This leads me to the second tip for today;
Arrange your lyrics
I’m not talking about the entire song arrangement here, rather my focus is on the lyrics. Remember, you have a central idea/ message that you want to communicate to your listeners as they listen to your song. So, you need to carefully arrange your lyrics in such a way that as they listen, from the intro to the end of the song, that idea is steadily but clearly understood. If you’re telling a story, tell it systematically, from the beginning of the story to the end.
Usually, what I do when I write songs is to segment my thoughts into two or three and then develop each segment into a verse. The verses would be in such a way that the flow of thoughts continue from the first verse to the second and then finally the third. Let me give a quick example, if the central idea for my song is that ‘God does not love like men do’, I could use the first verse to talk about how men love, and then the second verse would be about how God loves in contrast to how men love. That way, my thoughts are steadily but clearly communicated from the first verse to the second.
This is something you need to intentionally and carefully do. So, as you write your next song, ensure you carefully arrange your lyrics in such a way that the main idea of the song is clearly communicated to your listeners.
This is where I’ll stop on today’s songwriting tips for musicians in the 21st century. Hope you learnt something from today’s piece that will help you write better songs? Feel free to share it on your social media for others to learn too.
After I concluded my series on Song composition tips For Songwriters, I was inspired by my wife to write on songwriting tips for musicians. Now some of you might ask, “isn’t song composition a part of songwriting?” Yes, it is, but it is not all. Songwriting also involves writing the lyrics of the song. So today, I’ll be sharing some other songwriting tips for musicians different from the song composition tips that I have already shared. I’ll like to pause a little here, to say thanks to my lovely wife for inspiring this article. As a matter of fact, she gave me this first tip. Now, let’s dive into it;
Find your inspiration
We’ve all heard musicians we admire introduce a song, especially in a live performance, by saying something like, “this song was inspired by…” Truth is that many great songs we have today were inspired. And for musicians who perform songs they wrote themselves, the difference between inspired songs and others is usually very obvious.
So how do musicians get inspiration?
Are we supposed to just sit endlessly waiting for inspiration to come? Well, different things inspire different people. Personal experiences (whether painful or pleasant) could be a major source of inspiration for a song for someone. A lot of great songs were inspired by personal experiences. Someone else can be inspired from a story they read or heard; whether from a novel or movie, it doesn’t matter, just that the story inspired them.
Another source of inspiration to write a great song is recent happenings around the person. Say for instance, there’s crisis or inflation in their country, it could inspire them to write a song about it. It could even just be something that happened as they were walking or driving on the road, like a fight or an accident or an act of kindness displayed by a random stranger.
Christian musicians could be inspired by an insight from the Bible or a sermon. Another person could be inspired by just watching nature (maybe sitting beside a stream, or on the top of a mountain). I was once inspired by the title of a sermon. Just the title! On another occasion, it was the initials of the artists I wanted to feature in the song that inspired me. There are so many things to draw inspiration from. It just depends on what works for you as a person.
So, as a musician, you need to discover for yourself what works for you and draw inspiration from such. If it is being around nature that inspires you, then try to be in natural environments often.
I had originally wanted to give two tips today, but this article has already reached it’s full length, so I will stop here. Hopefully, I will continue on this series of Songwriting Tips For Musicians in the 21st Century in my next article. But until then, find your inspiration and write amazing songs.