In the past, we have shared valuable tips on how to become a better songwriter, as well as unusual ways to write song lyrics. But ensuring you continuously improve on your songwriting skills is more than just following tips. It means taking well thought out, career-shifting actions that will get you to another level in your songwriting journey.
If you're reading this, you're probably looking for ways to get to that "next level" in your career. Are you doing any of the seven things below? If not, give one or all of them a try and see what happens. If you already are, maybe you just need to double down in order to maximize the results.
Audit your songwriting skills
To know where you want to go (what you need to improve upon) it is a good idea to evaluate where you are now. When it comes on to songwriting, every writer has their strengths and weaknesses. You might be a good topliner (writing over a beat) but struggle with creating a song from scratch. Maybe one of your weaknesses is that you aren’t particularly good at coming up with song ideas. Or it could be that you are a slow writer who takes weeks or even months working on one song at a time. Whatever the case, audit your skills by listing out what you’re good at, and the things you’re not, to figure out what areas need strengthening.
Learn something new
Acquiring new knowledge or skills could help you become more rounded as a songwriter, and it doesn’t have to be music-related. For example, doing a marketing course could help you discover new ways to make your song messaging more impactful (in addition to possibly improving your knowledge on how to develop your brand as a musician). Of course, you can also learn something new that is music related, such as taking up an instrument. You can also get caught up with music theory if you don’t know much about it. Music theory can help you understand the basics of music itself, which will no doubt help you become a better creator overall.
Reach out to other music creators for ideas or collaboration opportunities
Sometimes all you need to get to another level in your career is a new perspective. That said, connecting with other songwriters and musicians is a good way to get your creative juices flowing as they might provide ideas you never thought of. Interacting with other creatives can also open up opportunities to create songs that are different from what either party is used to, and maybe even have hit potential. If you have little or no contact with people in your field (maybe because you live in a remote area or you just started writing songs and all your current friends are not into music), you can make use of social media. There are also numerous workshops, meetups, and other events where you can connect with like-minded individuals.
Find a songwriting mentor
In business, many young entrepreneurs get some type of guidance from people who are more experienced and established in their respective fields. It’s no different in the music business. Getting pointers from someone who has deep knowledge of the music industry can help you to figure out what you need to start/stop doing to improve as a songwriter. Now, you may have to pay for mentorship, and finding a suitable music mentor isn’t always easy. However, the benefits of having a good mentor are sometimes worth investing time (and money, if possible) into finding one.
Change up your routine
Indulging in the same routine - day in, day out - is a surefire way to take the shine off your personal and professional life. If your songwriting output has been on the same level for a while, it might be time to look at how you can switch things up. Think about changing the way you go about creating. If you work on creating songs at the same time every day, for instance, consider scheduling a different time. Try a different spot if you always write at the same place in your home. If you always start with creating the lyrics first, try starting with a melody on an instrument or music sample instead, and vice versa. The changes you make can also be unrelated to songwriting (at least indirectly). Trying a different route to work/home (if possible), for instance, is an easy way to change up the scenery. Or you could move around the furniture in your apartment to give it a different look. Whatever you choose to do, switching things up might just give a boost to your creativity while helping to spur growth in your life as a professional songwriter.
Set new goals or update existing ones
Whether you have achieved the goals you set in the past or not, it might be time to write down some new ones. In a competitive industry such as music, you need to be constantly improving your craft to remain relevant. To do this, you should evaluate your goals from time to time so you can figure out what next you should try working on, as well as which ones need updating.
Take time out for yourself
It is highly important to “log out” sometimes so you can recharge your creative batteries. Sure, you might really love songwriting and want to do it all the time. But taking time out to smell the roses and let your hair down from time to time can help you come up with new perspectives and experiences that might help your songwriting in the long run. As they say, all work and no play…
Every creative mind, including songwriters, end up feeling stuck from time to time. When that happens, the only way you can keep moving forward is to find ways to improve your craft. Our hope is for you to keep getting better so you can achieve your life’s full potential. If you found value in any of the above steps on how to improve your songwriting, feel free to share this article with your friends and colleagues.