Hello again everyone! Happy October! I’ve had an awesome week at MTC and I hope your week went well too!
Throughout my time here at MTC, I have had many opportunities to write songs that can be used in my music therapy sessions. I had only written one song prior to my internship, so this was a pretty daunting task at first.
The first few songs I wrote were not the best, but they were functional and appropriate for my clients. My songs definitely got better the more I wrote. It also helped to have feedback from my supervisor, Rachel Rambach, who is pretty well-known for her original songs.
I have truly come to love songwriting and have even started composing songs for myself. I have found that songwriting gives me a healthy and creative outlet to express my emotions. Hmm, who would have ever thought that?! :)
My clients have really responded well to the songs I have written specifically for them and their sessions. As I continue to grow in my songwriting, I wanted to share with you some tips I have found useful!
Pick a Topic
Before you start writing, you should come up with a topic for the song. In a music therapy setting, this could be centered around the goal for the client(s). For example, a big goal for several of my clients is to improve social skills. I have written songs describing appropriate behavior when meeting someone new, using manners, and when to walk/run/tiptoe at school.
Write the Lyrics First
When I first started writing, I tried to do everything at once. Let me tell you, it is very difficult to write lyrics, the melody, and the chords all at once. I have found it so much easier to start by writing the lyrics. The melody will often come to you while you are writing the lyrics.
Having Trouble Figuring Out a Melody?
There have been multiple occasions where I have the lyrics written, but the melody just hasn’t come to me yet. When this happens, I pull out my guitar, pick a chord progression, and start improvising a melody with the lyrics I have written. The chords behind my improvisation help me pick a direction in which the melody should go.
Keep it Simple
Your songs don’t have to be the next big hit. They just have to be applicable and functional. Many of my songs just contain a typical three chord progression. Nothing too fancy!
Make a Rough Recording
After your song is finished, record yourself singing and playing it. I use the Voice Memos app on my phone to do this. This rough recording will help you in the future if you forget exactly how you want your song to sound!
Songwriting is so personal and rewarding. Have fun with the process! It’s always a good feeling to witness your clients respond positively to the song you created for them and watch them grow in their goals. Also, write some songs for yourself!
I have truly enjoyed my songwriting journey and hope to keep growing. I hope these tips help you get started on your own songwriting journey! Those of you who are experienced songwriters, please add to these tips by leaving a comment!
Have a wonderful rest of your week!