Among other admirable qualities, the individual members of The Beatles were known for the astonishing diversity of their writing styles. For every song they wrote, they threw out the template and came up with a new song that bore little similarity to past ones.
That meant that every new hit had a freshness. Every new song was a new musical journey, and it paid off.
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If you’re interested in diversifying your writing style, it’s not easy to do if you aren’t spending a lot of time listening to music from other genres. In most interviews with The Beatles, musical influences were bound to come up. They all spoke of recordings their parents had played as they each were growing up. Jazz, Dixieland, blues, swing, avant garde, musical theatre — the pool of musical experience The Beatles individually were able to tap into was deep.
Add to that their more contemporary musical experiences and interests of other bands they were interested in (Little Richard, Bob Dylan, Gene Vincent, The Byrds, and many, many more), and they had a seemingly endless supply of styles and genres they could infuse into their own songs.
Adopting a new style is a bit like learning a new language:
- You need to immerse yourself in it; and then…
- You need to communicate to others by using it.
If you want to diversify your writing style, try the following:
- Choose a genre – one you don’t normally listen to.
- Take a week and listen to as many different artists from that genre as you can. Google and Wikipedia will help you search new songs and artists.
- Keep a notebook, and be sure to write down your thoughts and impressions as you listen. You’ll find that putting your thoughts into words helps you grasp the nuances of the genre.
It stands to reason that you should be choosing genres for which have at least some initial interest. As you listen, you want to gain an appreciation for the history and the compositional characteristics of that genre.
As the weeks pass, you’ll find that, without even knowing it, your own songwriting style will begin to change. As your knowledge and experience deepens, your songwriting will deepen. Your sound will become a fascinating melange of styles and characteristics.
And the great thing is that you won’t even have to think about it. It’s something that will automatically happen.
If you love the blues, and you write lots of blues, and you listen exclusively to blues, you’re going to find it harder over time to keep coming up with new ideas for your songs.
But if you can deepen the well from which you can pull ideas, the music you write will be a distinctive blend of styles, and just think of the unique journey you’ll be able to offer your fan base!
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