Whether you write songs professionally or just do it for fun, being able to create something impactful depends on your ability to create when you want to and how you want to. The thing is, creative juices can decide to flow at anytime and anywhere, and making use of it can have a huge effect on not just your productivity but also the possibility to create something truly special.
Moreover, the music industry may present you with growth, networking, and earning opportunities at any time. If you are not poised to capitalize, you could find that you end up missing out on a lot of things that could make your songwriting and music career better. How do you stay poised on a consistent basis?
As with every meaningful activity, preparation is key. The world’s top songwriters don’t just have hit-bound songs fall in their laps. Seemingly magical collaborations don't just appear...by magic. The trick is to always be ready. Ready to pounce on spur of the moment ideas and discover new creative avenues, as well as to make the most of collaborative ventures.
If you are new to the music business, you might be unsure about what we are getting at. Or maybe you are a seasoned musician but have never been big on being prepared. Either way, here are some tips to help you stay prepared for creativity as a musician or songwriter.
Inspiration for music creation can spring up on you when you don’t expect it at all. You could be out walking your dog and his interaction with other animals on the road leads to a funny idea for a song about someone who behaves in a similar manner. Or a co-worker could be singing a tune you haven’t heard in ages and you suddenly get the urge to write something counter to that song’s message. Or, you could suddenly find yourself humming a catchy melody while sitting in traffic. In any of these scenarios, you could be onto something as it relates to crafting a memorable song.
But if you failed to capture the idea at that very moment, it could be gone forever. Not so if you had been prepared to record your thoughts. Some songwriters always have pen and notebook that they use to jot down creative ideas and lyrics that come to them unexpectedly. Some musicians keep recording equipment close by, even walking around with backpack studios. But you don’t even have to walk around with such cumbersome items since everyone has a smartphone.
Most of these devices have note taking and messaging apps that allow you to quickly write down ideas as they come. On top of that, they all have voice recording capabilities, so you can make rough recordings of melodies and chord progressions, and even dictate your lyrics. You can also capture images and videos to help you remember how you felt when a particular idea came upon you.
Preparing yourself for music ideas might be a simple matter of ensuring your device is in good working order. Make sure it is charged up daily, get a micro SD card if you are low on storage, make sure you install suitable apps and that you know how to get the best out of the device. Also, be sure to back up your ideas on another device as soon as you get home.
As a music creator, it is a good idea to have some tech at your disposal. A decent laptop with good storage and useful specs is a great start. Depending on your skill level and home setup, you may want to also look into getting a good pair of headphones and a high-quality microphone. A suitable audio interface and DAW will also come in handy to do basic editing on your music tracks. To be fair, if you have no knowledge of or interest in music tech beyond the basics, it is perfectly fine to leave it up to the pros. Here, at Tunedly for example, we can help you create a song, even if you only have lyrics written down or a simple recording downloaded from your phone.
Regardless of your level of songwriting or musical talent, it is impossible to be proficient at every area in songwriting. Maybe you are good at formulating songwriting concepts and mapping them out. Maybe your strength is in excellent lyricism. Or maybe you are good at combining all the ideas that come up in a co-writing session or even refining the compositions of others. Whatever the case, you need to self-examine to determine your strengths so you can work on them accordingly. In addition, knowing what you are good at prepares you to work better with other people who have the skills you don’t, and vice versa.
When you figure out your abilities, you become better at doing what you are truly good at. You are also better prepared to handle your weaknesses, as well as criticism from those around you. However, knowing your weaknesses is not enough if you aren’t also working on them. The music industry is rapidly changing and demands that musicians keep up with the various avenues that are opening up, especially if music is more than just a hobby for you. When you are constantly working on developing yourself, you are better prepared to react when opportunities pop up.
If you are just writing songs for any and every one, it is highly unlikely that you will ever hit your mark. If you have not already, you should spend some time defining your ideal target audience. Are you looking to make music for the hip, teenyboppers or for a more mature market? Are you trying to reach a pop audience or one that is more grassroots? Do you want to create party anthems or music that is more thoughtful? Have ambitions to get your songs in movies or plan to pitch to particular artists? These are just some of the things to consider in order to narrow down the exact audience you want to cater to. This will better prepare you to take advantage of opportunities when they come along, instead of being all over the place.
Preparation is a key part of giving yourself a fair shot at achieving your goals in music. It might seem like the boring bit of being a music creator, but being prepared is what facilitates the fun you want to have.