Four Ways to Grow as a Songwriter
Songwriting is a deeply personal and spiritual practice. But also requires a reach for talent and excellence.
If songwriting is something you feel you’re supposed to be focusing on in your life right now, then you need to be reaching for these four goals:
1. Grow vocally.
A stellar voice is not required to be a good songwriter. I know some incredible songwriters who don’t have amazing singing voices. But they’ve learned to write from their strength of being able to hear melodies even if they personally can’t sing them. But as a general rule, if your vocal range is limited to four or five notes, you’ll be limited in how dynamic you can make your songwriting. Even if your voice isn’t your power alley, I encourage you to try to grow vocally. Though the internet is filled with free tools and resources to help, I recommend getting someone in your city or someone LIVE online to teach you.
2. Grow in your instrument.
Not all songwriters play instruments. But if you do play an instrument, always be progressing in your skill to create more unique melodies, rhythms, and soundscapes to inspire your writing. Develop your “musical toolbelt” to the point where when you hear something, you can actually play it. I highly recommend taking lessons from a professional if you can afford it. Or from someone you know who’s more skilled than you.
3. Grow lyrically.
In my opinion, finding the balance between scripture and heart language is the goal. Are you connected to your heart and what you’re actually thinking and feeling at any given moment? And can you couple that freedom to express the truth of God’s word? The more of God’s word you have inside you, the greater your ability to weave biblical truth into your songs. Though the Bible is rich with expressive language that you can incorporate into your songwriting, the ability to share your personal experiences, thoughts, and emotions will give your lyrics greater authenticity and help people identify with and relate to you.
4. Grow in your melodic creativity.
Melody exists within you and the goal is to have it flowing freely from you. Are you skilled enough to draw out the melody that you’re hearing? Do you have time to rest in silence and shut out other noise so you can hear and release the melody inside of you? Also, are you able to connect the two or three melodies you’re hearing into a concise song? Do you know what a musical interval is? What kind of music do you listen to? Many times this is a huge influence on the melodies you create.
This isn’t an exhaustive list but has hopefully gotten your juices flowing a bit. I go into much greater detail on how to grow in these areas in my songwriting class.
Would love to hear if this was helpful! Comment below.
Huge thanks to my friend Jordan Vanderplate for letting me use this photo of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo. Check out more of his work here.