Songwriting Tips and Tricks

Jimi, Voodoo
Jimi, Voodoo

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How you can improve your songwriting skill. by Mantius Cazaubon

"Are you a beginning songwriter who strives towards writing songs that become hits? Do you need to know how you can improve your songwriting skill?"

It's not too complicated. Don't try to re-invent the wheel. As far as I'm concerned the best way to improve your songwriting is to study what hit songwriters do. Forget about the mediocre stuff and learn from the leaders in the songwriting and music industry. Study what works.

As a songwriter who has written quite a few number one songs in my country, one thing that has helped me and continues to help me is the radio. I listen to the radio all the time so I know what type of song is happening. I know what people like, what they want to hear, and what is current. This gives me a good idea of what kind of song I should write to target a particular market.

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When you listen to the radio, take notes on what hit songs have in common. Study the structure of these songs. What tempo seems to work? Are the chord progressions complicated or are the songs based mainly on riffs? What kind of chords are used? That way you can write songs that appeal to today's audience. No matter how good your song is, if it sounds like something that would be better suited to ten or twenty years ago, you can forget it.

It is a shame how some songwriters treat the songwriting craft. I'm sorry, but if you do not spend time at developing your craft you are bound to fail. I don't care if it's baseball or dancing, those people who come out and top are the very same ones who practice everyday. Those who spend years at perfecting their craft. So learn form those who were there before you. Study and write songs everyday. Lay hold of songwriting books, get songwriting software, do anything to take you to the next level.

To improve, a songwriter needs to become more knowledgeable everyday. The more things you know about, and the more you can relate to different aspects of everyday life, the better for you. I never heard of a novelist who didn't read constantly. The same applies to songwriting and great songwriters. You must put in a lot of work if you want to excel.

Nothing comes easy in life. Work, work, and work some more. Pattern your writing after what has been proven to work, but never copy. Do it everyday and reap the rewards.

About the Author

Mantius Cazaubon offers lots of valuable songwriting tips, techniques, suggestions and advice on his site Visit Ultimate for the ultimate truth about lyric writing and songwriting.

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Recommended Resources

"Now anyone can write and play their own songs on the guitar - with no prior training! This inspirational handbook teaches readers how to play guitar, while providing a solid foundation in songwriting techniques, using well-known songs as examples, easy-to-follow text, and graphics that explain and demonstrate lyrics, melody, harmony and rhythm."

The Chord Wheel - sheet music at The Chord Wheel The Ultimate Tool for All Musicians. By Jim Fleser. Instructional. Size 9x12 inches. 12 pages. Published by Hal Leonard. (695579)
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How to Write Songs on Guitar - sheet music at How to Write Songs on Guitar A Guitar-Playing and Songwriting Course. Book (not sheet music). Size 8.5x11 inches. 192 pages. Published by Miller Freeman Books. (330574)
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Songwriting For Beginners (book) - sheet music at Songwriting For Beginners (book) Published by Alfred Publishing. (14840)
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"I'd like to point out is the action of your guitar. "Action" is how easy (or hard) it is to press the strings down to the neck to get a clean fretted note.

If you're just starting out with barre chords, you should use a guitar with low or "easy" action. This will save you from frustration as well as physical pain from pressing down so hard while your hands are getting used to this technique. Once you get the idea, I SUGGEST practicing on a higher action guitar just for strength training." - Action

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Updated: 3/18/07