Category Archives: Songwriting Tips

songwriting

Thoughts on Inspiration

 

 

Whether you’re new to songwriting, or you’ve been doing it for years, you’ve probably experienced some form of writer’s block at some point. It happens to everyone. You sit down with the intention of writing a song, and absolutely nothing comes out. After a while, you may even start to force it, thinking that you must have something, but what you make ends up being, at best, unoriginal and dry, and at worst, just plain bad. The good news is that you will get past it. No one has ever had writer’s block for their whole life. Sometimes, though, it’s nice to be able to get through it a little quicker. Here are a few ideas for turning writer’s block into inspiration.

 

Just wait

This isn’t always the fastest option, but it’s often the simplest. Writer’s block can sometimes be a mood, which means if you give it a few hours, or a few days, it will pass. The important thing here is to do something completely different. Waiting doesn’t mean staring at the paper until something comes out. It means cooking a meal, reading a book, getting some sleep, visiting a friend, and then maybe seeing if anything comes up. Sometimes, something will even surprise you while you’re doing something else.

 

Draw on your own life

Many of the best songs are stories. Think of a time in your life that caused you to feel a lot of emotion, or perhaps a time that caused you to feel extraordinarily little emotion. Really, any story that people might like to hear or read could also be a good song. Instead of thinking about the song, just think about the story. Tell it to yourself, like you would a child or a large crowd. Then start thinking about how you can fit it into the lyrics of a song.

 

Observe the world

Go to a public place, such as a busy coffee shop or a town square. Watch people and what they do. Listen to the conversations that are happening around you. Think about what they’re doing, and what their background is. Don’t be afraid to make something up. Sometimes the best stories are completely made up. As for the snippets of conversation, they might come in handy as lyrics, or even a general idea for your song. Remember that your interpretation doesn’t have to make any sense with the rest of the conversation. A lot of this is just creating random thoughts in your mind. Those can turn into ideas. They don’t actually need to have anything to do with where they came from.

 

Write out-of-order

Try writing the song out-of-order. Start with the chorus, or the last verse, or even the last line, and then see what comes before it. In the end, you may not even end up with any of the original idea, but it may lead to something that ends up being exactly what you are looking for.

 

Free write

There are a number of techniques that help you to directly access your subconscious. This also tends to make your ideas more random, which can also be helpful. One of these techniques is called free writing. Find a pen and paper, and just write words. It can be whatever’s in your brain, or it can be something that’s not even in your brain until after you’ve written it down. Don’t think, just write. Once you have some things on the page, look through and see if you can make any of it make sense.

 

A lack of inspiration is a problem that we’ve all experienced, but luckily, it’s never a permanent one. Hopefully some  of these ideas will help you work through it faster. If you’d like more inspiration tips, or help with anything else related to songwriting, don’t hesitate to contact us.

What Makes a Great Musician?

 

 

If you are a songwriter, then you’re also a musician. By now, you know that it takes a lot to be a musician, and it takes even more to be a good one. But have you stopped to think about what’s actually important in the life of a musician? Every great musician will give you a slightly different list, but most of them will agree on the most important things. Here are a few of the most important things you can do to be a great musician and songwriter.

 

Listening

A musician is always listening to music. Whether you’re in the car, or working, walking from one place to another, no matter what, listen to music. Listen to music you love. Listen to music you hate. Listen to music you’ve never heard before. Listening is what makes music a part of your soul, and it’s impossible to make good music if you haven’t heard someone else do it first. It also helps you diversify your background and influence. Even if you’ll never write anything in a particular genre, listen to it anyway. It might still give you good ideas for the songs you do write.

 

Learning

Go out of your way to learn as much as you can about music. If you’re really serious about it, get a degree, and maybe even more, in whatever you love most about music. Even if you don’t want music to be your life, if you want it to be important, read as many books as you can. Look up things you don’t know on the internet. If you can’t find the answers to hard questions, make musician friends that can answer them. However you do it, learn as much as you can, because you’re not really a part of the world of music until you know what you’re talking about.

 

Writing

Write as much and as often as you can, especially if songwriting is your passion. Don’t wait for a great idea to come to you, because that might never happen, and if it does, you won’t know what to do with it. Write constantly, even if you think it’s really bad. Write anything that comes into your head, and you’ll slowly get better. Then, when a good idea comes to you, you’ll know exactly what to do with it.

 

Instinct

A small piece of music comes from instinct. Some people are born with more of a gift than others. It’s important to understand that the lack of this gift does not mean that can’t be good. It doesn’t even prevent you from being great. It may mean that you have to work a little harder than those who were born with more of a gift than you, but you should see this as a challenge rather than weakness. No matter what you were born with, you can be as great as you want to be.

 

Passion

Passion is really, by far, the most important aspect of being a musician and a songwriter. You can be born with skill, and do all of the things you’re supposed to from time to time, but if you don’t love it, you’ll never get very far. On the other hand, even if you’re born with nothing, and you have trouble writing, and can’t afford to go to school, no matter what hardships you come up against, if you truly love music, you’ll become great. Passion is what makes everything work.

 

Are you looking for more information about become a musician or a songwriter? Please contact us! It’s what we do, and we’d love to help you with anything that you need.

looper pedal

How to Use a Looper Pedal When Writing Music

Once you catch the songwriting bug it’s impossible to shake. There’s no better feeling than moving on from being a beginner songwriter to more advanced practice.

With each step along the way, you learn to express yourself more and create beautiful music. It’s also so much fun to get curious about new techniques and tools.

Studying the masters, and music from different genres can open a whole new world of expression. Once you start mastering the basics of songwriting just listening to a new song on the radio can get you inspired.

You might think, how did they do that?

Among the essential ingredients in a songwriter’s toolkit is a looper pedal.

Beyond helping you play your music live, a looper pedal can assist you to get big sound and experiment while writing music.

We will show you how.

Here we go:

What Is A Looper Pedal?

A looper is a footswitch you can activate while you are performing, playing or songwriting. As with all equipment, there are a number of pedal varieties.

But the basics of a looper is that it is a pedal that when pressed allows you to sample and playback your own music.

Using A Looper For Songwriting

Before you’re ready to being practicing a song or working out the kinks with a band, a looper will help you find the song while you write.

And in terms of songwriting help, a looper is easy to use and very helpful. You can hear what something sounds like as you go.

Master The Chorus

Some songwriters have the chorus of their song immediately. It’s their hook and they fill in the sound and then work the lyrics around it.

A simple technique for songwriters is to get the chorus recorded using your looper pedal. Then, when you get to that part of the song you’ll have it down.

Create Your Background Rhythm

For some songs, the background rhythm drives through the entire song and builds upon itself. A looper can help you craft a background melody that is strong enough to carry the tune.

But creating your underlying loop is only the beginning with a looper. A looper pedal then allows you to experiment on top of the loop.

Experiment

What’s one of the biggest differences between beginning and long time songwriters? A willingness to experiment and try out new things.

When you’re just starting out it’s difficult enough to master the basics. But for many, once you’ve got the basics down it’s intimidating to break into new ground.

Maybe you have a signature style or a comfortable approach that you hate to deviate from.

A looper pedal can break you free from the rut.

Even using a looper for some basic rhythms and building on top of them can create an innovative song filled with variations and fresh energy.

Laying down any part of your song with a looper and using replay will let you riff and experiment on top of it. These endless variations will create better songs.

Tinker

We all know that hearing something a few times changes it for us. We can spot a crack in the foundation or recognize places that need some tightening up.

Using a looper pedal to write songs allows you to tinker with each part and get it right before moving on. A looper will make your songwriting stronger.

It’s like editing as you go.

Practice

What’s the key to great songwriting? Practice.

A looper helps you practice parts of your song as you go. You can fill in different parts once you have chords and chorus down.

Master the rhythm guitar and fill in the lead. Create a baseline and get the rhythm on top of it.

You will put your song together in parts and practice as you go.

You’ll get your timing down pat. But first, you’ll need to master timing to even use your looper correctly.

Timing

One of the biggest challenges for new songwriters when using a looper is getting the timing right. The difference between a good and a bad loop is knowing where to begin and where to end.

Beginning

To start using a looper begin small. Try activating the switch and letting a beat ring for four beats.

When strumming, this might mean playing a chord for 4 beats. Build up to 8 beats and you have yourself a loop.

Once you learn how to put down and playback a basic loop the tool builds on itself.

Layer

Using a looper means creating great layers for your tracks. Some musicians play loop on top of loop and fill in on top.

The layering technique can allow for experimental sounds. It also creates the sound of being in a band when alone in your studio.

As loopers are so portable you can practice that new song anywhere. Whenever you are inspired pull out your looper pedal, build a loop, and you’ll be writing new parts of your song all the time.

Big Band

Some guitarists even prefer to use looper pedals when they’re performing. Ed Sheeran is knowing for creating great songs by himself with his looper pedal.

Sheeran doesn’t just write this way, he performs live.

Advanced Techniques

Once you understand how to use a looper to write music you might take your performances to a whole new level as well. The technology allows for the big sound of a huge backing band even if you’re up on stage by yourself.

You can sample your own music live and string it back into harmonies the critics will rave about.

Get The Best New Gear

If you’re like us, you’re always looking for the best gear to make songwriting easier. There’s nothing more satisfying than capturing a tune, combining it with an emotion, and making a beautiful new song.

Beyond a looper, there are many different tools on our wishlist to make playing, writing, and performing more enjoyable.

Ready to take your songwriting to the next level?

Be sure to visit our suggestions for the best and coolest gifts for musicians.