Songwriting is a huge part of everything we do here at Music Therapy Connections. Wether we are writing new songs for our Listen & Learn for Little Ones Classes, composing original tunes for our individual clients, or encouraging our students to create their own compositions; songwriting is engrained in what we do.
Sometimes, the hardest part of songwriting is simply getting started. I remember sitting down to write some of my first songs as a new professional and feeling so self-conscious that I could barely put pen to paper. Even now, developing materials to suit the needs of my clients can sometimes seem like a daunting task. Overcoming that self-doubt and learning how to let it flow can be a tricky process, so Rachel and I took a little time today to talk about our favorite methods for getting past those songwriting blocks and challenges.
Below are ALL 9 tips in our Facebook Live video earlier today along with some extra ideas to get you started.
Morning Pages – In the book “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron, the author describes the practice of morning pages: taking time every morning for free writing. Creating the practice of setting aside time and putting all of your thoughts on paper every morning without editing. This free flow of thoughts can be an excellent bridge to songwriting.
Topic Journaling – Pick a word or single topic to write 10 lines or sentences on. You do not have to write complete thoughts or sentences and can use any number of lines or sentences you choose. Selecting a single topic for free writing can be a helpful way to get started on song ideas. (BONUS: other methods I love using are word associations and mind mapping to get my creative juices flowing). The primary goal here is to open yourself up to ideas and just jot them down. Save the editing for later.
Going back to music you enjoy – Is there a song that makes you feel amazing? Are there songs you simply love? Go back and give them a listen. See if you can find out why you love them or what feels good. Use them as your inspiration. OR simply take time to enjoy music other people have created. Create a playlist for your life or put together a set of songs for how you are feeling. Spotify is a great resources for this adventure.
Enjoy Yourself – My best songs almost always come from positive experiences in other parts of my life. Go do something you love and enjoy your life. Keep your voice recorder handy though because you never know when that inspiration will strike.
Think of Songwriting as a Conversation – Talk with someone about your songwriting or say your lyrics out loud like you are talking to someone. Sometimes, even just talking through why you are struggling will help you get over that hump.
Go for a Walk – Get outside. Get some fresh air. Clear your mind. Walk away for a minute and change your scenery.
Don’t Force It – If you start to get frustrated, put it all aside and come back later. Literally, walk away. Thinking about something else for a little while can be just the solution you are looking for. Sometimes, a good night’s sleep is also incredibly helpful.
Be Present – Clear both your physical and mental space of clutter and create the space to be present in songwriting and creating. This is your time to be in the moment and create.
Share Your Song – Share what you’ve written with someone. ANYONE. This can be a single client, a co-worker, your child, a friend, your significant other, a family member, or even your pet. Sharing your creation out loud with someone provides new perspective and a sense of accomplishment.
(bonus) Record your creation. The method could be a video, a simple voice recording, a full recording, etc. How you record does not matter. Capture what you have accomplished so you can listen later, remember what you’ve done, and visit your work in the future. Take a moment to listen and appreciate what you’ve created. Take pride in your accomplishment and give yourself some praise!
What are your favorite tips for starting the songwriting process? We’d love to hear from your and share your ideas with everyone!