My journey with songwriting
My real desire to play music started when I was nine and it began with drum lessons. Shortly after this I began playing drums on worship team at church. Let me just say, it wasn’t pretty! It took a while for me to develop and unfortunately it was mostly done while playing on Sunday mornings! Things eventually improved and it became somewhat bearable to listen to me play. At the age of 12 my dad started teaching me some guitar chords and I fell in love with the guitar! It was so amazing to me to have an outlet of creativity and being able to write songs. I remember being so excited every time I would learn a new chord. It wasn’t until many years later that I saw why the Lord gave me a desire and love for music!
My brother had played piano for quite some time and when he went off to college I began playing on his keyboard in his room. The piano opened up a whole new world of creativity for me and that’s when I really began to have a love for writing music, although song writing for me was still a real frustration.
I always had this idea of what song writing was supposed to be, but it was so hard for me to communicate what I was feeling and I struggled for years and could barely write anything! I remember this one time I wrote a song and wanted to bust it out and do it during worship at youth group. Wow… what a depressive night. I vowed that I would never do one of my songs in public again! The lyrics went something like, “I want to fly away, fly away with you, into the night…” or something like that. Let’s just say it was rough!!
My brother on the other hand was always (and still is) an amazing song writer. He has such a way of writing lyrics that flow off the tongue that are clear, challenging, and anointed! My brother is the song writer and my sister is the story teller. She has a great talent and gift to tell a story and has written a lot of short stories and is currently co-writing a musical. I think being around people who could write so well helped me as I gleaned and learned from them over the years.
When I came to IHOP songwriting was still a huge challenge for me. So I eventually stopped trying! Once I stopped trying, songs finally began to come.
My testimony of song writing and what I encourage you to do is:
1. Study and meditate on the Bible as much as possible
2. Diligently practice your instrument and keep taking lessons!
3. Set aside several times a week when you will play, practice, and write (commit to it for 6 months)
4. Ask God for wisdom on how YOU should write songs (it will look different for everyone)
5. Ask God to continually re-align your desires for wanting to write songs
6. Don’t get weary! Just keep at it
God, I pray that you would raise up a generation of song writers who are like David, ones who are after Your heart, who sing and play in the secret place when no one else is looking, that songs of adoration, and songs of abandonment would be birthed as they press into You.
© 2010 Justin Rizzo