Ten years ago I wrote “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting" suite of eBooks, and in those 10 years I've been honoured to help thousands of songwriters reach their highest potential. Through my blog, and through these online lessons, it's been a fascinating journey, a wonderful way for me to interact with composers of many different styles.
As part of that eBook bundle, the 9-Lesson Course offers songwriters an opportunity to practice the craft of songwriting. While so much learning happens when we write music, practicing proves to be an invaluable tool for developing songwriters.
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So what does it mean to practice? Generally, practicing means to break the job of writing music up into its constituent parts, and offer ideas to songwriters for developing each individual element without having to be overly concerned about making the other parts work. That's what my 9-Lesson Course within the eBook bundle does, and I wanted to give you a shortened online version here on this page.
HOW THIS COURSE WORKS
At the end of each lesson in this online version of the course, you'll see that there are activities designed which allow you to practice the concepts covered. You should consider those to be starting points to which you can add your own activities. So in the first lesson, which gives you a short list of words for which you'll come up with synonyms and other words that conjure up the same feeling. But don't stop there; create your own list of words, perhaps ones that pertain to a song you've been working on.
In fact, expanding on these exercises by thinking of songs that you're currently writing is a great way to keep the activities relevant to your situation. When I work with composers of music, I'm able to look at the music they're currently writing, and that shows me exactly how I can help. Doing that in this sort of online format is trickier, but it can still work.
The lessons in this online course work by:
- Expanding your imagination and developing your creativity.
- Expanding your understanding of form and structure.
The ideas found in this course are quite easy to follow and complete, and are meant to be as fun as they are useful. Creative training needs to be enjoyable. It's hard to be creative when your brain is being taxed trying to complete mundane, uninspiring tasks.
SOME PRELIMINARY ADVICE
If you are doing this course, it means that you are serious about improving your songs. And if that's true, then I highly recommend that you begin that process of improvement by doing the following:
- Listen to a lot of music. Try as much as possible to expose yourself to as many genres as possible. The more music your creative brain experiences, the more eclectic your ideas will be.
- Read as much as possible. You need to experience how good writers phrase their ideas. And you need to learn how good writers control pacing, drama, and the general presentation of ideas.
- Don't throw anything out. As you work on songs, fragments of ideas will pop into your head. A bit of lyric here, an interesting chord progression there. You may find that a lot of ideas don't work their way into your song. But they could find their way into a future song. So keep a book for your ideas.
- Set aside a regular time every day for writing. If you're a student at school, you may have to be a bit creative with your schedule, to accommodate your class schedule. But try to be as consistant as possible.
- Prepare your mind to try different methods of composition. Most good songwriters would tell you that they try many different ways of writing. Sometimes they work on text. Other times they develop a chord progression, or base a song on a bit of melody. Try to be open-minded and creative with your songwriting process.
If you're ready...
Proceed to Lesson 1: Focusing Your Lyrics
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