Songwriter Practice

swarfrat

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Ever get stuck on a song that you kinda feel is way outta your league. Like I have a couple of awesome verses and no chorus. And I'm stuck between AAA is ok right? And "it has to have chorus" and "if you didn't start with the awesome hook chorus your kinda screwed now"
 

WRHB

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I’m glad I don’t get paid to write songs. Or create music. I don’t have a creative bone in my body. I’m more of a copycat. I play chords everyone else plays and I play songs out of fake books. In my recliner. I appreciate all the work creative people like you put into making good music. Thank you.
 

Timbresmith1

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Practice? Songwriting?

I recently read an article online where the writer emphasized practicing writing songs.
Now, of course, I can’t find the article, but it certainly made sense to me.

The thrust of the article was that, just like any other skill, one needs to practice it to become proficient. Maybe too many of us wait around for an inspirational idea, or an interesting lick.

I remember when I was in my heyday of songwriting, I actively tried to write songs frequently. I’m talking 2-3 per week. Most turned out to be bombs, but there are some diamonds in the rough as well.

So, it makes sense to me based on my own experience, yet I never perceived it in terms of practicing.

I will post the article if I come across it.
Thoughts?
Yep. I practice improvising as often as possible. I used to play with a drummer where the basic rule was to start from zero whenever possible. No covers EVER and no lazy crap (for example reggae or white-boy funk).
I recorded every time we played and started compiling songs.
Jerry Seinfeld talks about writing every day. Every freaking day, no matter what. Elvis Costello claimed to have written 5000 songs before 1990 iirc.
Do it.
 

blowtorch

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yeah it's not so much that you practice songwriting as it is that you just write songs.
that's what you do.
You don't stop and you don't take a vacation from it.
you are constantly in the process

and it's not really even a choice.
it's what you are driven to do
and you're never happier than when you're actively pursuing that
because it's what you're meant to do

that's my take, anyway
 

swarfrat

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Yeah. I need to get to work on writing the first 300. The current world of algorithmic copyright claiming has kinda squelched my spirits but nobody is going to hear the first 300 anyway so .. 1456- here we go
 

Old Plank

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Jeff Tweedy of Wilco is one who also says to just write write write, he came out with a great little book a few years ago named 'How to Write One Song' with the approach of 'just doing it' and starting with one to get over the hump and the creative juices flowing; and lots of good writer tips.
 

swarfrat

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I have a number of books on the subject. My nephew always asks "but what songs has he written?"
 
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arlum

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I've written more than two hundred songs but have only bothered to keep maybe 60 to 80 in total. Even after writing for over 55 years I'm satisfied with maybe a third of my output and discard the rest. I've found that being in a strong emotional state, (sadness, joy, hurting inside, etc.), when I write, (spur of the moment. unplanned.), results in my best work. I've successfully written material requested but it harder and I might have to write four or five before one of them meets the expectations I have for my work. The best come out of a well that only opens during times of great emotional stress. I've also found that being open to whatever genre the song is developing as, rather than trying to steer it toward a specific genre, (like country, blues, rock, pop or whatever), also results in the best finished product. Creativity hates to be tasked. It likes to grow from the vague at it's own pace and in it's own way. Sometimes I feel more like a scribe taking down what the voices in my head dictate. The biggest advice I can give is don't get in it's way. Don't try to shape it. If, when it's done, it sounds great but you wouldn't be caught dead playing music in that genre, write it out and, if possible, record at least a basic four or five piece arrangement of it. Just because it doesn't fit your style doesn't mean it won't find love among performers who do like it's genre. My highest quality comes from letting the song realize itself. My output ranges in genre from Gordon Lightfoot type back to The Smothers Brothers. '30s, '40s and '50s big band like Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington. Jazz singers like Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett, Mel Torm'e. The Byrds to Alice Cooper. spooky swamp ballads, Cat Stevens like lyrics and melody, Lennon & McCartney, Harry Nilsson, Badfinger. The Moody Blues, Procol Harum, The Strawbs. Al Stewart. Willie Nelson. Waylon Jennings. Jim Stafford. Bobby Darren. Roger Miller. The Beach Boys. The point of these examples is that, while I enjoy listening to most all of them, I wouldn't join a band specific to the genre of many of them. Self control is a terrible trait when it comes to songwriting. A open, receptive free spirit that will suck in any stray thought, emotion, feeling, insight or vibe and bring it into reality is the key. Don't attempt to rule your creativity. Give in to it. Creativity is the master and you are basically a historian of all it shares with you.
 

swarfrat

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Tried to do the 10 minutes writing thing. I think I spent 10 min looking for a pencil. Another hour cleaning out the bonus room, and 40 minutes trying to learn to count and write down the first 8 bars (x2) of changes I came up. Lyrics (probably what I should have been working hardest on... Maybe tomorrow.

Please tell me you get better at it. (At least the hour cleaning wasn't wasted)
 
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drewg

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I've written more than two hundred songs but have only bothered to keep maybe 60 to 80 in total. Even after writing for over 55 years I'm satisfied with maybe a third of my output and discard the rest. I've found that being in a strong emotional state, (sadness, joy, hurting inside, etc.), when I write, (spur of the moment. unplanned.), results in my best work. I've successfully written material requested but it harder and I might have to write four or five before one of them meets the expectations I have for my work. The best come out of a well that only opens during times of great emotional stress. I've also found that being open to whatever genre the song is developing as, rather than trying to steer it toward a specific genre, (like country, blues, rock, pop or whatever), also results in the best finished product. Creativity hates to be tasked. It likes to grow from the vague at it's own pace and in it's own way. Sometimes I feel more like a scribe taking down what the voices in my head dictate. The biggest advice I can give is don't get in it's way. Don't try to shape it. If, when it's done, it sounds great but you wouldn't be caught dead playing music in that genre, write it out and, if possible, record at least a basic four or five piece arrangement of it. Just because it doesn't fit your style doesn't mean it won't find love among performers who do like it's genre. My highest quality comes from letting the song realize itself. My output ranges in genre from Gordon Lightfoot type back to The Smothers Brothers. '30s, '40s and '50s big band like Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington. Jazz singers like Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett, Mel Torm'e. The Byrds to Alice Cooper. spooky swamp ballads, Cat Stevens like lyrics and melody, Lennon & McCartney, Harry Nilsson, Badfinger. The Moody Blues, Procol Harum, The Strawbs. Al Stewart. Willie Nelson. Waylon Jennings. Jim Stafford. Bobby Darren. Roger Miller. The Beach Boys. The point of these examples is that, while I enjoy listening to most all of them, I wouldn't join a band specific to the genre of many of them. Self control is a terrible trait when it comes to songwriting. A open, receptive free spirit that will suck in any stray thought, emotion, feeling, insight or vibe and bring it into reality is the key. Don't attempt to rule your creativity. Give in to it. Creativity is the master and you are basically a historian of all it shares with you.

Creativity hates to be tasked. It likes to grow from the vague at it's own pace and in it's own way. Sometimes I feel more like a scribe taking down what the voices in my head dictate. The biggest advice I can give is don't get in it's way. Don't try to shape it.

Self control is a terrible trait when it comes to songwriting. A open, receptive free spirit that will suck in any stray thought, emotion, feeling, insight or vibe and bring it into reality is the key. Don't attempt to rule your creativity. Give in to it. Creativity is the master and you are basically a historian of all it shares with you.

I love the way you put it in these two quotes. My best, most original songs were born in this way, learning to follow the surprises and abandon what I had planned.
 
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