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Curiosity is perhaps the most important quality for any good songwriter. “What chord is that?… What instrument is that? What’s the bass doing there? What’s the melody doing on that chord?
If you aren’t curious about the structure of music, you’re probably listening to music the way many audience members listen to music: for the pure enjoyment of it. So what’s wrong with that?
Nothing. But a songwriter needs to be able to listen with much more attention to detail than the average audience member. One of the best ways to improve your songwriting craft is to hear what other songwriters are doing, both within and outside your chosen genre.
And then you need to be able to replicate that in some way for use in your own songs.
All that starts with curiosity.
How do you know that you’ve got that kind of curiosity? One of the best ways to assess your level of curiosity is to look at the kind of music you’re listening to. If you find yourself often straying outside of your favourite genre, and digging down into songs that you’ve never heard before, or wandering into genres that are new to you, you’re probably the kind of curious person whose songs will eventually benefit from it all.
So if daily listening isn’t a part of your normal routine, you need to change that: start listening!
Want a little listening list for music that will hopefully get your creative juices flowing? Here’s a list… it’s not a “best of” list, just songs that I hope will get you inspired.:
- “Jolene” (Dolly Parton)
- “Siberian Khatru” (Yes, written by Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman)
- “In Trutina” (Carl Orff, from “Carmina Burana”)
- “We Do What We’re Told (Milgram’s 37)” (Peter Gabriel, Daniel Lanois)
- “YTZ” (Rush, written by Geddy Lee, Neil Peart)
If all you need are tons of progressions to try out, you need “Essential Chord Progressions” and “More Essential Chord Progressions.” They’re both part of “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting 10-eBook Bundle.”