There is a popular misconception that songwriting is like magic – that songwriters are able to tap into a mysterious part of the human psyche and weave a song out of the invisible music ether.
Well this perception suits songwriters just fine, as we get seen and treated as if we have a magical gift handed down from the heavens.
Of course a lot of soul, passion and creativity are involved in songwriting – as it does in any form of artistic expression. But at the same time there is also a huge amount of technique, skill and practice required to hone the craft.
You’ve heard of “The Tipping Point,” right? Malcolm Gladwell’s theory that the key to becoming successful at anything is that we need to practice something for 10 000 hours before we can master it. Michael Jackson accomplished his 10 000 hours of stage work before he was 8 years old and then went off to dominate the world, he wasn’t just born with all of the skill AND all of the ability! Of course talent plays a role, but even sporting (or musical) prodigies have to put 10 000 hours of work in before they can succeed.
Well, people think that this rule shouldn’t apply to songwriting! Of COURSE it does. Most musicians and bands that do not succeed do not put enough practice in to their songwriting!
Now I’m not saying that you now suddenly need to get 10 000 hours of songwriting under your belt to start making money as a songwriter, because you don’t! But if you want to be a truly great songwriter, that’s a good thing to be aiming for.
What I am saying is that you NEED TO PRACTICE as a songwriter, in the same way a footballer has to practice his ball skills.
On a daily basis, I receive songs from artists from all over the world who want me to play their songs on my radio show. And sometimes, the production is elaborate and the artwork expensive. Sometimes the biography will say “recorded at Abbey road,” or “produced by” some famous producer. None of that matters if the SONG isn’t strong.
Before you go spending ANY money on your band, your production, your producer or expensive gear, musicians need to spend some time honing their craft as a songwriter. And this means just following some simple guidelines, and practicing your craft every day.
Practicing your SONGWRITING is not the same as practicing your guitar, or piano or whatever instruments you are trying to improve your skills with. Songwriting is your instrument and THAT is what you need to practice. You should be writing a handful of songs EVERY day.
In coming weeks I am going to be helping you get started with your songwriting. By teaching you painless and simple exercises that will improve your songwriting tenfold, and increase your songwriting output by more than 100 times, you will be on the road to making money from your songwriting faster than you’d expect.
Please leave a comment below about anything you’d like me to write about, or about any opinion you may have!
Till then, happy practicing.