Bursting Outside of the Songwriting Box

Bursting Outside of the Songwriting BoxThink Outside the Box (image)

Did you ever notice that most of the time when you sit down to write a song you begin the EXACT SAME WAY. Maybe you pick up an acoustic guitar and start strumming, maybe you grab a pencil and notebook for writing lyrics, or possibly you just start belting out some melodies.

There is nothing wrong with any of these methods; the problem lies in doing the exact same thing every time. It is important to practice a writing strategy enough times to get consistent results, but having an unalterable routine is the complete OPPOSITE OF CREATIVITY. Being creative implies trying different things, experimenting, and thinking OUTSIDE OF THE BOX

There are many components to a song, and as long as the pieces all fit together in the end, you can begin with any of them. Below I’ve listed the 12 BEST METHODS to begin a song. Try picking three or four of the categories from the list below, and cycle through them, applying a different starting method each time you sit down to write a new song.

Starting a Song from:

  1. Lyrics: just the words
  2. Electric Guitar Riff: not just chords, create up a riff
  3. Bass Line: can be played on piano or guitar if you don’t have a bass
  4. Melody: vocals only
  5. Drum Beat: from drums loops, a computer sequencer, keyboard, or drum machine
  6. Acoustic Guitar
  7. Piano or Keyboard
  8. Unusual Instruments: Ukulele, Violin, Xylophone (real instruments, or simulated from a keyboard)
  9. Sound Effects: Helicopter, explosions, factory sounds, bees buzzing, waterfalls, etc. This can set the mood and imply a musical direction for the song
  10. Computer Software: Pro Tools, Sibelius, Garage Band, Logic, etc. Begin creating the whole songs from within the capabilities of the software.
  11. Concept or Emotion: The meaning of the number 5, Life as an Octopus, Anger, Longing, Celebrating, Desire, (be very specific; for example: the desire to date a girl whom you know you would never get along with)
  12. Combining Starting Points

When starting with a new writing method, at first it may seem like the writing process becomes slower and less comfortable. That is normal. You are not looking for something comfortable here; this is a way to break you out of your box, and EXPAND YOUR CREATIVITY.

After you get comfortable with three or four of these methods, try adding another one each week. Then try combining several together. The potential combinations are enormous. Whenever you become stuck creatively just take a look at this list and try a method you haven’t used before.

Think of this as a new creative songwriting program. Apply this method just 20 minutes a day for 30 days. Don’t worry about finishing the new songs yet, just new ways of starting them and expanding your creativity. In just one month you should begin to notice how far you are bursting beyond your old songwriting box.

The next post will be about developing your new song ideas.



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