Singer-songwriter in concert

Consistent Excellence: It’s What the Music World Demands

If you’re a songwriter, you’re a dreamer. Not unlike the kid who dreams about becoming a professional baseball player, hitting a homerun to win the World Series, then works to become that player.

As a singer-songwriter, you dream about hitting big on the charts. You dream about turning on the radio and hearing your song. You dream that you’re in a store and hear someone humming your song!

Hooks and RiffsSongwriters are very familiar with the chorus hook, but there are other kinds to experiment with, and you will want to discover the power of layering various kinds of hooks in the same song. “Hooks and Riffs: How They Grab Attention, Make Songs Memorable, and Build Your Fan Base“ shows you how it’s done.

And then you work to become that songwriter.

If you hope that all this will just happen randomly — the arbitrary convergence of good luck scenarios — then I’d say you aren’t dreaming: you’re hallucinating!

The songwriting world doesn’t support hallucinations. It does tend to support good planning and hard work. And it supports one other thing: consistent excellence.

Dreaming is good, because it’s like the bright light shining at the end of a very long tunnel. If you’re dream is to write and perform the kinds of songs that the world wants to hear, that’s a dream that’s quite possible, if you’re willing to chart a course for yourself.

The Importance of a Plan

That bright light is the professional life you want, but you need to make a plan for how to get there. And the most important thing you can and should be doing is figuring out a way to make the writing of good songs something that’s a consistent occurrence for you.

No one in the music industry is willing to hitch their wagon to someone who’s written one good song. Frankly, you’d be too much of a risk. Like an amateur golfer who makes a hole-in-one, the industry needs to know that your good song wasn’t just a random convergence of good luck. They need to know that your song is good for one main reason: you know how to write good songs.

But how do you become that kind of songwriter who can write excellent songs, and do so consistently? Beyond just the raw talent for putting musical ideas together, you need to commit to the following:

  1. Making songwriting a daily activity. Daily songwriting is how you train your creative mind.
  2. Putting songwriting into your schedule. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with suddenly picking up your pencil and writing down a line of lyric that’s just occurred to you. But beyond that, you need to make songwriting a purposeful activity, something for which you set time aside.
  3. Making the listening to music and making objective observations a crucial part of your development. In other words, become a student of songwriting.
  4. Writing lots and lots of songs; keeping the ones you don’t like, because bad songs can be fixed.
  5. Knowing what a hit song in your chosen genre should sound like, and enjoying the process of trying to hit that target.
  6. Taking advice from other more experienced musicians.
  7. Surrounding yourself with good players, and partnering with other good writers. Even if you’re not the kind of songwriter who typically works in collaboration with others, an occasional partnership can be a great way to extend your own abilities.

And through it all, consistency is the quality that gets attention from industry executives. The notion of the professional music executive “taking a chance” on someone is a bit of a myth. It may look that way to others, but unless you’re showing that you’re consistently excellent, you’ve got work to do.

And to deny the importance of consistency, and hope that you’re simply going to become a household name in music just because you want it… that isn’t a dream, it’s a hallucination, and you need to stop, make a plan, and prepare yourself to work!

Gary EwerWritten by Gary Ewer. Follow Gary on Twitter.

“The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 10-eBook Bundle“The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” eBook bundle includes “Writing a Song From a Chord Progression”. Discover the secrets of making the chords-first songwriting process work for you.

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