Songwriting is the Most Important Thing

To me, songwriting is the most important thing. I’ve written songs since I was a kid and all the experience has helped a lot. The more you write, the easier it is to write. Even if what you’re writing sucks, just keep at it and finish the song or idea.

You never know when you’re gonna come up with something cool after working on something mediocre for a while. Also, you might be able to use a concept or arrangement idea from a less inspired idea in something you dig. Experience and practice is the key. In songwriting, higher quantity will end up in higher quality (hopefully).

Along with working on tunes, you gotta be working on your instrument. I would play guitar for hours and hours everyday growing up. I still play all the time. You have to in order to stay on top of your game and progress. But more important than that, you have to play all the time because you love it. Sometimes people run from technique on the guitar because they’ve read in so many magazines that all they need to do is write a good song. While the song is far and away the most important thing, being able to play your instrument well will only improve the music.

Often times, a great guitar solo is going to enhance a great song. Soloing does not necessarily equal wanking or overplaying, like so many newer bands love to say. Many new bands use the whole “I play for the song” defense as an excuse to be lazy on their instrument. If I grew up hearing all my favorite bands saying that guitar solos took away from songs, I probably wouldn’t learn my scales either. But the fundamental problem with this philosophy is that you can learn to play well, and still write great songs—with or without solos.

Visit The Singing Station Songwriting is the Most Important Thing by Dave Rude

I’ve always believed it’s better to have the ability and hold it back when you want to, than to be limited in what you can play because you don’t know your instrument well enough.

One way to become a better player is to learn scales up and down the neck. Once you’ve memorized a scale in every position, the possibilities for cool leads are endless. Repetition is the key to committing scales to memory. Even just going up and down the scales while you’re watching TV or something will make a big difference because you’re building muscle memory.

As far as songwriting goes, there is one secret weapon you should have: a small recording device to keep with you at all times. You can buy a small, hand-held cassette recorder really cheap, or you can spend a little more for an even tinier digital voice recorder. Keep it with you whenever possible to catch any ideas you have throughout the day. I’ve written tons of songs from little scraps I’ve found on my various portable recorders. I’ve also rewritten and rearranged songs on them because I had the luxury to listen to ideas over and over again while I’m going about my day. And if you have a little idea when you’re busy, you can sing or play it on tape and then work on it later when you have more time.

"At the end of the day, music is about having fun. So however you do it, just play and enjoy yourself."

Visit MySpace: The Dave Rude Band

Frank Hannon Band w/ Dave Rude ~ Eye Of The Mind

If you like this article, you might dig this one too! Songwriter or Craftsman

You are strumming your acoustic guitar, freshly polished, new strings and perfectly tuned. The sound is bright and crisp. You are playing a few chords that you have learnt from Guitar Alliance when bam! A brilliant chord progression hits you like a bolt of lightning.

You rush to find a pen and paper and grab a pen that hasn’t been used since your primary school days. You etch down your chord progression on an old scrap of newspaper dated January 7th 1994 that you found under a pile of magazines, yellowing from age. By the time you finally get the pen working you have forgotten the chord progression and have managed to get blue ink all over your hands and freshly polished guitar. -

SONGWRITING Part One: Being prepared when inspiration hits.


Updated: 12/31/06