Expand Your Songwriting Technique by Expanding Your Musical Mind

by Gary Ewer, from “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” website.

all_6If you’re looking for a fresh new perspective on songwriting – something to get your songs working again, Gary Ewer’s songwriting e-books will clear your mind and get you writing successful songs. They explain why good songs work, and how to get bad songs working! You can get them here.


I wonder if you ever feel that all the reading books, watching videos, and talking to other songwriters justmusicalbrain isn’t doing it for you. After all is said and done, you feel that your songwriting abilities are limping along pretty much like they’ve always done. Sounds like what you need is a rejuvinating of your whole approach to songwriting. Here are seven ways to expand your musical mind.

  1. Listen to music you “don’t like.” Take the time to listen to classical, or country, or jazz, or anything. And everything. You will be surprised how much of it you will like. Let me get you started with a little homework (all music available on iTunes or Amazon): Classical: check out Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” and Avro Pärt’s “Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten“; Jazz: “Swingin’ Till the Girls Come Home” as played by Oscar Peterson Trio on ‘The Will to Swing’. Folk: “An Oiche” by Irish group ‘Anuna’. Listening to music you don’t normally listen to expands your musical mind and gives you musical experiences that are crucial to budding songwriters.
  2. Take instrumental lessons. Becoming a better player will filter into your songwriting technique, and your songs will benefit.
  3. Do song analyses. Choose a song, and make a time map. Indicate on the map where each component of the song occurs. For each section, indicate things like the highest note, the lyric that occurs on that note, where vocal harmonies are used and where they aren’t – that sort of thing. Studying music is going to help you structure your own songs.
  4. Learn music theory. A knowledge of music theory is part of basic literacy. It makes communication of musical ideas much easier, and really helps open your mind.
  5. Take singing lessons. Part of communicating your song to someone is getting a voice that others want to  hear. A little research will find the teacher that suits your style. A teacher can give you tools to sing without injuring your voice, and can help you build endurance.
  6. Find an open-mic opportunity every month. Check out local hot spots, college pubs, and so on. You’ll find that getting your music out there could give you the encouragement you’re looking for.
  7. Record your music often, and make yourself listen often. As you listen, ask yourself, “If I bought this recording, would I like it or not? If not, why not? Listening to yourself is a great way to develop an objective viewpoint, and will improve your writing.

What about you? Do you have things you like to do that opens your musical mind and gets the creative juices flowing? What other examples of musical compositions do you think musicians should be listening to? What’s inspired you? Please share them with us. Just click to comment below.

(The “Musical Brain” image in this post comes from “Matter of Fact Media”)


Read all about Gary Ewer’s songwriting e-books here.

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One Comment

  1. Great article! I have noticed that my writing improves when I clean up my writing space. Organization helps to clear my mind.

    Also, if you write music with a DAW (I personally use Ableton Live 8), keep template files of how you want everything setup. This allows you to open up a project file and let the creative juices flow immediately. Having to setup all your settings every time can kill the vibe pretty quickly.

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