For some people, doing something like writing a song for the first time might seem as challenging and foreign as performing open heart surgery or building a computer from scratch. Writing your first song can be intimidating, but it’s essential that you start somewhere if you’re interested in becoming a songwriter. Here are 5 tips to help you write your first song:
1: Don’t Try To Sound Like Anyone But You
Yes, imitation is the sincerest forms of flattery, but attempting to sound like an artist you admire will thwart and undermine all of your creative efforts. Writing your first song should be an exploration of your own ideas and creativity. Rather than trying to sound like an artist you admire, try covering a few of their songs instead. Attempt to define what it exactly is that interests you in a song and bring those ideas into your first song.
2: Set Goals and Stick To Them
A lot of would-be songwriters fail to get past a beginning lyric or melody because they haven’t learned to set goals. Songwriting might seem like a lofty or even spiritual type of work that’s devoid of anything tedious or mundane, but in reality it’s hard work just like anything else. Yes; some incredible songs have been born out of emotion and inspiration, but if you wait to write your first song until you feel a sense of divine inspiration, you might never write anything. Have goals like, “Today I will write lyrics for the first and second verse”, or “By the end of the month I will have finished this song.” This might seem unromantic or even ingenuous, but rules like this will help you get started with your songwriting practice.
3: Don’t Be a Perfectionist…Yet
Your first songs are probably not going to be amazing, and that’s ok. Don’t fall into the trap of, “My first song isn’t going to be that good, so why even try.” The very act of trying to express yourself through songwriting is massively important and valid no matter what song you produce. The trick with your first few songs is to learn how identify your strengths and weaknesses as a songwriter. Are your melodies good but you have no idea how to write lyrics? Then go discover what makes someone a great lyricist. The important thing here is to produce something and build from it. Be brave and learn from your mistakes and successes.
4: Record Your First Song and Listen To It
How can you build on your strengths as a songwriter if you don’t have a demo of your first song to listen to? You can record your first song on anything: Your phone, computer, it doesn’t matter. The idea here isn’t to record a studio quality song, but to have a rough reference of your song to listen back to. Listen to your song religiously. What do you love about it? What do you hate about it? These are important questions to ask.
5: Perform Your First Song In Front of An Audience (or enter a songwriting contest)
Some people might hate this advice, but it’s essential for anyone who wants to learn to write music. The experience you’ll gain from performing your new song in front of an audience is invaluable. By the way, an audience is basically one or more people. It could be an open mic night at a coffee shop or your best friend. Performing your new music for people allows you to get feedback about your songwriting. Get out there and show everyone what you’ve got.