Updated: Oct 18, 2020
With the COVID restrictions requiring all of us to spend more time at home, music is a great way to keep ourselves engaged. All the new songs that are on YouTube, Prime music and Spotify got me thinking about songwriting and the creative process for songwriting. I had posted a poll on Reddit about the creative process for songwriting and received a wide range of responses.
Here is one of those responses for the poll from Daniel Egan.
I think it's easy to fall for the creativity hype when it comes to writing. Creating a song is a technical process of:
Forming a structure (verse x2 - Bridge - Chorus, etc)
Stringing chords together for each section
Coming up with an engaging melody
Assuming we're not including the process of recording, etc. The creativity comes from the choices you make - what chords? What's the song about? What is the melody like?
Writing a song
You can practice writing songs until you can write music as easily as you can post on Reddit - the more you do it, the easier it is to tap into. Songwriters that can't get the creative fuse to light usually struggle with a good technical understanding of what they're doing when they're creating a song, whether they use all of the music theory words or just have a weird abstract process that only works for them.
What's important is that composition is a skill that can be tapped into whenever you want. It's not just something to wait for, because you end up frustrated when inspiration fails you. Songwriting as a discipline mostly involves keeping at it until you strike upon a piece of music you really like, that you created yourself, even if it took a dozen (or a hundred thousand in my case) dud attempts to find something you were happy with!
I'm a music teacher and I've had a lot of luck teaching my compositional approach. This applies to all ages, and everyone is able to come up with something that sounds very musical and interesting. Such feats can be achieved on-demand, and not just once in a blue moon. When people follow this approach, they can use their creativity and inspiration in creating and refining something they're really proud of.
The Final Word
I can't stress enough that using drugs or drinking alcohol is not a doorway to creativity. It is only a cheap way to disinhibit yourself. So don't talk yourself out of working on your craft even if it's a miss rather than a hit this time. It's better to work on the discipline and motivation to carry on. This is better than telling yourself you need expensive and addictive substances to stop yourself from giving up too early, to finish the day with a song!
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