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What Skills Do You Need to Become a Songwriter?

how-to-write-a-songWhat Skills Do You Need to Become a Songwriter? 

Becoming a successful songwriter is the dream of many musicians. But knowing how to write a song, learn an instrument, and make a successful musical career can seem impossible. Well, it does take a lot of work. Not everyone that wants to be a professional musician will succeed, and many just enjoy writing songs as a fun hobby for their enjoyment. 

Do I need to Sing or Play a Musical Instrument?

This might seem like a simple question, but it actually has a complicated answer. Why? Some songwriters never learned a single instrument yet can come up with great lyrics and catchy melodies. Others have played piano or guitar for years or are trained singers. So what is the answer? 

As a songwriter, you need to understand different aspects of the songwriting process. That doesn't mean you have to have an incredible voice or be the best guitar player on the block. What it does mean is that you need to know music. There is no better way to learn music than by playing an instrument or singing. 

Studying guitar and piano would be the best way to begin your musical journey. Knowing how to sing will help. You can use the guitar or piano to help you with chord progressions. Both instruments combine harmony, melody, and rhythm. This means that you will learn three main aspects of writing a song just by playing these instruments. 

If you have a so-so voice, don't despair. You don't need to sing your own song. In fact, many professionals write for other performers. It helps if you can sing well because you can demo your own song or perform your own song. You don't have to depend on someone else to hear it or have a good recording. Vocal lessons or being a member of a band or choir will help you develop good singing chops. 

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Should I Read Music? 

Not every songwriter knows how to write out a score. You do need to know the difference between different types of charts, lead sheets, lyric sheets, guitar tabs, and full scores. However, you can usually get away with a basic lead sheet that has songs and chord symbols. 

I am a trained composer, which means that I have spent over two decades perfecting writing full scores for multiple instrumentations and vocal ensembles. You don't need to write music at my level to succeed. Learn the basics. Basic music theory, rhythm, and chord progressions are important. 

You can take a night class or online music theory classes. If you take guitar or piano lessons, talk with your teacher about teaching you basic music theory. Learning how to read and write music will help you develop your songwriting skills. 

What about the Lyrics?

Writing lyrics can be challenging. Read and listen. Read poetry from every culture, language, and poet you can find. Study different literary devices like alliteration and metaphor. Read through the lyrics of your favorite singers and from your favorite songs. Knowing literature and having a strong understanding of how rhythm and words work together will help you develop your songs in a mature fashion. 

Final Words

If you have the musical skills, some good songs under your belt, and a great recording, you need to learn music business skills. Get your music out there. Are you hoping to sell your music to top-notch artists? Then make a move to Nashville or another booming music city. You try reaching out to artists online or work with someone local. 

Will you perform your own songs? Then get great recordings with a qualified audio engineer or studio. Are you going to sell via YouTube? Then your video production skills need to be high. There are many components to becoming a successful songwriter. Follow these great tips to succeed.

Want to practice songwriting? Check out my Composer Boot Camp Workbook. Over 50 exercises to work on your lyric, songwriting, and instrumental skills. For any musician at any level. 

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Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals. 


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