Two guitarists-songwriters

Listening and Talking: The Two Most Important Activities For Songwriting Improvement

I don’t know of a single songwriter who doesn’t want to improve, no matter why they got into songwriting in the first place. Whether you write songs because it’s part of a career choice, or because it’s just a lot of fun, getting better is part of the challenge and part of the enjoyment.


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The two most important activities in which you can engage in your quest to become a better songwriter are:

1. Listening daily.

If you aren’t listening to music daily, songwriting is going to continue to be a struggle because you’re not discovering how other songwriters have solved the problems you’re encountering. And by listening to music from genres other than the one you write in, you have a great opportunity to pull in other solutions that can give your songs a unique sound.

2. Talking to other songwriters.

And by talking, this includes listening to what those other songwriters have to say about their craft. It may not be easy for you to find other good songwriters in your locality to have a chat with, but a good substitute is to head over to YouTube, type in the name of a songwriter you respect, and follow it with “interview”. You’ll find lots of videos of songwriters telling the world why they write the way they do, how they’ve developed their style and abilities over the years, and other nuggets that will serve as an important guide.

You will also find it extremely helpful to listen to other non-composing musicians. There are excellent players out there, for example, who don’t usually write, but have a unique and valuable perspective on what good music is. You’ll find their comments to be a very powerful source of stimulation as you seek to keep improving your writing skills.

To not listen to other songs, and to not listen to other songwriters talking about their music puts you in a kind of musical vacuum that will stunt your development. Think of these two activities as the best free instruction you can possibly get!


Gary EwerWritten by Gary Ewer. Follow Gary on Twitter

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