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For many, it’s a matter of simply determining to change things up every time you write something. All composers of music have their comfort zone – the go-to melodic shapes and chord progressions that seem to keep popping up.
The causes of sameness are simple:
- Muscle memory. Your fingers keep going to the same melodic and chordal patterns.
- Limited musical experience. You keep listening to the same genre.
- You lack confidence to branch out. You stick with what you know, and with what you feel most comfortable with.
Lennon & McCartney commented often on their desire to keep changing their writing style with every success. For them, it took purposeful determination to change directions every time they wrote a new song.
If you find that every new song sounds like the one you’ve just written, you need to:
- Try composing songs using an instrument that you don’t normally play. Even if you aren’t very good with the instrument, it may be enough to create songs with. That will help cure the muscle memory that comes from always using guitar, or keyboard, or whatever your most comfortable instrument is.
- Listen to lots of music. Don’t limit yourself to one genre. Make this a daily activity.
- Play lots of music. If you’re a rock & roller, play country or folk, or anything that takes you into new musical worlds. You’ll love what this does for your songwriting.
- Take chances. Open your mind, and find the confidence to stretch your imagination. Experiment with new instruments, new song forms… new anything! Don’t allow yourself to get locked into something old.
Written by Gary Ewer