Some ideas for changing your approach to songwriting, in a bid to change your style.
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Do you find that everything you write has a similar sound? To a certain degree it’s to be expected, since your style is a product of one mind. It’s one of the reasons songwriting partnerships can be so useful: it brings together two different minds, two different methods, forming one unique songwriting approach.
But you don’t necessarily need to resort to a songwriting partnership to create something unique. Often, the reason your songs all sound the same is that you start each song with the same process. For example, you might always begin by strumming chords on a guitar, trying to create melodic and lyric ideas.
Here is a short list of things to try that might get you out of a rut, and inject a dose of individuality to your music:
- Never start two consecutive songs the same way. If you start one by strumming chords, start your next one by singing an unaccompanied melody, or create a lyric first.
- Try developing a rhythmic hook as a first step. Set something rhythmic up on your computer/system to which you can add other musical elements.
- Try writing a song using an instrument you don’t normally play. This method doesn’t even require you to be able to play that instrument well. Even if you all you can do is manage to play some random notes on a flute, violin, keyboard, or other not-so-familar instrument, you’ll be surprised at the uniqueness of the musical fragments you create. As you get something that sounds interesting, transfer ideas to your regular instrument.
- Play an instrument “backwards”. Hold your guitar left-handed, or play a keyboard from the opposite side. All the musical ideas your fingers automatically go to will be “wrong” – which can create some very interesting – and sometimes very usable – ideas.
- Play song ideas backwards. Take some of your old songs, perhaps some that never worked for you, and play them backwards, looking for other ideas to join on. You’d be surprised how playing a melody backwards can help stimulate your creative mind.
Written by Gary Ewer. Follow on Twitter.
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