Friday, April 9, 2010

Song writing

I love writing songs. I just finished writing a song, and I'm really excited about the potential it has.

I started writing songs out of necessity, really. When I first started playing guitar at 16, I wasn't skilled enough to cover songs. So instead of just giving up on guitar, I started making up my own chord progressions and putting words in with them. Like most songwriters when they start, my songs were absolutely terrible. You know what I mean, the kind of songs that have rhyme schemes like "me" and "be" and "us" and bus." But my Mom thought I had potential and encouraged me to keep writing. Once I got a couple buddies to join me, I started writing more frequently and slowly improving my rhyme patterns and schemes. But trust me, my songs were still pretty pitiful. I enjoy looking back on them every once in a while and getting a good chuckle out of them.

It was probably around my senior year when I started writing songs that I was confident in. Songs like "You're Not Alone" and "Hit And Miss" are songs we still play today, and they still mean a lot to me. I also started writing some singer/songwriter style songs, too. One of my favorite songs I've written is "I'll Always Love You," a song I've described as 'a love song to no one.'

Since I got into college, my songwriting has gone to a different level. In high school, I would often sit down with a chord progression in mind, a pen in hand, and just write the song in one sitting. Now, I tend to spread my songwriting out over a few days and give the lyrics time to soak in and resonate until I like them.

I'm certainly in no position to give songwriting tips, but if I could give three tips, they would be this:

1) Write often. Songwriting is just like any other skill; it takes lots of practice and patience. Do your best to write as often as you can, whether it's a whole song or just a little verse.

2) Have someone critique your music honestly and brutally. You'll never get better as a songwriter if your critic tells you "This is great!" after every song. I'm thankful to have a friend like Mike who isn't afraid to ask "What are you trying to say with this line?" or say "I don't like how it flows right here." If you have someone who can help you in that way, you can see what you are doing wrong so you can not only fix the problem, but strengthen your writing ability.

3) Have fun! Songwriting can certainly be stressful sometimes, but don't be afraid to step back from the process and remember why you are writing songs. For me, I write songs because it's a great challenge and it's fun. Enjoy doing it.

11:54 pm

Jack's Mannequin
Album - Everything In Transit

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