• River Tucker

Songwriting Tips For Beginners

For many musicians, writing songs can develop naturally while learning a musical instrument. There are nevertheless some hurdles to overcome before you become an accomplished songwriter.


This blog will help you to identify potential hurdles and provide some insight into ways to develop your latent songwriting ability.


Finding inspiration

No matter what type of instrument you play, finding music that speaks to you on a personal level and learning to play it is one of the best ways to start creating music. Many song ideas are formed around melodies that feel right to the composer. However, the most gifted writers often shape their songs around lyrics that lend themselves nicely to musical rhythms.


In conjunction with your musicianship, you should also develop lyric-writing skills. Song lyrics can come from numerous sources; so don’t limit your scope when it comes to being inspired.

Capture the moment

While playing a musical instrument is fun, there will usually be a moment in time when practice culminates into original musical ideas. New melodic arrangements can sometimes strike a musician before they’re competent enough to fully utilize them. That’s why being able to capture your initial creativeness is important.


Making a recording is by far the best way to capture the nuance of your composition. This is especially the case if you ever dream music, which will usually be an original piece. Being able to quickly record is an important step to retaining your music.


Most cellphones have inbuilt cameras, but it’s best to have a dedicated camera set up where you practice. A small camcorder such as the Sony HDR-CX405 HD Handycam will ensure you’re able to efficiently record your original musical ideas. If you’re a guitarist, a great device for quickly recording original riffs is a TC Electronic Ditto Plus Looper pedal, which has 99 memory slots available for recording short passages of music.


Another must-have tool for songwriters is a computer. In combination with an input device like the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2x2 USB Audio Interface, using a computer to capture your songs will ensure high-quality recordings are available for future reference. Also, consider using a MIDI-enabled device to develop your compositions. MIDI has improved significantly over recent years, to a degree where most people cannot tell the difference between MIDI and conventional instruments. Keyboards such as the Nektar Technology Panorama T6 61-Key USB MIDI Controller and M-Audio Oxygen 61 61-Key USB MIDI Performance Keyboard Controller are nicely priced and suitable for numerous styles of music.


Unless you’re a virtuoso, many of the faults in your playing will become apparent while listening to your recordings. But don’t worry too much about sounding perfect. What you want to achieve at first is to capture your original melodies for later use.

Ergonomics

While recording, it’s always best to have a proper seat adjusted to the right height and use the same or a similar instrument to the one you practice with. Make sure you’re comfortable and have your equipment ready to go so your musical ideas can be recorded without too much hassle.

It’s highly recommended to use the right-sized equipment. Many instruments can be supplied in different sizes and should be matched to each individual musician.

Also, make sure to set aside a dedicated time to practice. A blister every once in a while is fine, but if you ever experience any real discomfort while playing, it’s best to stop and consult a qualified professional. Using a video camera can also help identify any playing or posture-related issues before they become problematic.

Music theory

Basic musical theory can be very beneficial to learn correct keys and scales, but the beginner shouldn’t get too caught up in the paperwork. Keeping things fun by thinking musically throughout the day is the best way to cultivate your own musical ideas. While an understanding of complex theory isn’t necessary, to begin with, it should still be pursued by anybody who is serious about composing music long-term.


Once you’re happy with your songs, being able to provide your bandmates or session musicians with sheet music is a great way to ensure your work is correctly interpreted. Eventually, you’ll also need to have your songs written down and ready to go for any interesting record labels or producers.

Music lessons

Taking lessons and regular practice will greatly improve your ability to imitate other artists and also improve your songwriting skills.


Regular practice and lessons for the beginner are essential. The use of a metronome to ensure good timekeeping is also recommended. The beginner may believe they’re playing in time, but a metronome-like the Korg TM-60 Combo Tuner Metronome will ensure they truly are.


Develop a method

Most successful composers have their own songwriting methods to achieve award-winning hits. Whether you want to use chord charts, tablature or fully score your music, once you’ve found something that works well for you it’s best to learn it inside out.


Another good way to supercharge your arrangements is to find someone who shares similar musical tastes to collaborate with. This is a great way to develop your musical ideas, particularly as your musical proficiency improves.


Learning another instrument is also a good way to enhance your creativity. Invariably, accomplished musicians have a good understanding of how various instruments contribute to the overall sound. Understanding correct syncopation for instance, so percussionists and drummers can play your compositions, is an important part of the songwriting process.

Believe in yourself

Many famous songwriters were immersed in music throughout their childhoods. Others developed their craft later in life. But it’s never too early or late to acquire an appreciation for music, learn an instrument and start writing your own songs.


Most hurdles to becoming a competent songwriter will disappear as your confidence grows. And while having support from friends and family is important, the best thing you can do as a budding songwriter is to believe in yourself.

About River Tucker

River Tucker is a multi-instrumentalist and music reviewer from Aotearoa, New Zealand. In 2002, River completed his postgraduate studies in contemporary music, web and graphic design and is currently working on some original material for his seventh studio release. The river also enjoys restoring vintage vehicles and all-grain brewing tasty IPAs in his spare time.