The key job of a songwriter is to create a song. Not to perform the song. Not to record the song. Not to promote the song. Not to offer the song. But to create the song.
Your primary skill as a songwriter is to choose the proper notes and right chords to opt for the proper words and right song title and write them into a song.
You write a song for whom?
Firstly, for the conclusion listener. The one who will in truth emotionally and financially buy the song, either through buying a CD or record or buying a live performance of the song How Much is Tekashi69 Worth.
Secondly, for the record company, who will turn a song into a product (like an archive or CD) which can be sent to the conclusion user through radio or retail stores.
Thirdly, for radio programmers, who decide what their listeners will listen to.
Fourthly, for the performer of the song who has to provide an efficiency that the record company may wish to capture and the radio station may wish to play.
So you could argue for more people to be added to the list or for this list to be reordered. But essentially these are individuals for whom a recording songwriter writes.
So, so you know who to create for, how to become a songwriter for these listeners is the main element question.
What key skills do you really need to become a songwriter?
As a songwriter you should learn how to write lyrics, how to create melody, how to create chords and how to create your song as a lead sheet. As a song owner and seller you should also learn how to find the song to demo and just how to record a compelling demo.
Put another way, as a songwriter, you’re a lyric writer, a melody writer, a chord writer and a lead sheet writer. That is, to be considered a songwriter, you should write in these four dimensions.
You is actually a solo songwriter like Billy Joel and Bob Dylan do all four things yourself. Or you could participate a partnership like Lennon-McCartney or Holland-Dozier-Holland and specialise in whether lyric or music role or move involving the roles, with regards to the song.
So, how to become a lyric writer is one of many sub questions of the big question: how to become a songwriter.
The key skill is the ability to be able to tell a tale rather than just throw words or rhymes together. One of your key lyric skills is to be able to create song titles and then write your lyric around that.
There are various conventions about loading your chorus up with your title lines and utilizing your verse and bridge to support that line. Additionally you need to learn to create your story within conventional forms.
Fortunately, there are plenty of resources both on and offline that will educate you on how to create lyrics. Naturally, to become a lyric writer you need to create habitually and exercise your skills daily.
The process of melody
Unfortunately there’s much less resource around that will support you in being a melody writer. Whereas there’s a sound lyric writing literature open to songwriters, no comparable literature exists for melody writing skills.
A lot of what passes for melody writing advice lives is usually the twins of superstition and obscure theory in drag, neither of that actually tells the melody writer how to choose the best notes for his or her melody. Nor guide them how to become a songwriter.
Both main melodic skills you need will be the concepts of contour and span. Contour means melodic direction and shape and whether any given note reaches a higher, lower or same pitch as the prior one.
Jack Perricone identifies four contour shapes in his book entitled Melody in Songwriting: Tools and Processes for Writing Hit Songs (Berklee Guide).
There are in fact countless contours, depending how many notes there are in your melodic phrase. These contours can effectively explain to you how to become a songwriter. At the moment there’s just one melodywriting site online that educates songwriters about these melodic goldmines.
Span can be crucial that you your melodies and ensures that you write for ordinary people who will sing and hum your melodies because they wash their car or vacuum their house or console themselves. Focus on span means you’ll write for the fans, not for virtuoso singers who never buy or sing pop music generally, not to mention yours.
Anyone seriously wanting to know how to become a songwriter won’t neglect melodic span.
Chords and harmony
Fortunately one area where songwriters are relatively well served is in the chord writing area. There’s no shortage of stuff teaches you scales, chords and chord progressions. Compared to learning lyric writing and melody writing, learning scales and chords is straight ahead, like learning a yellow pages directory.
The more songs you write, the more you realise how secondary chords and voicings are if you are dealing with the absolute core of songwriting: deciding which notes go best with which words.
Scales and chords aren’t useful as of this time. They are essential however when you have selected the notes and words for the song and it’s time for an arranger and a maker to set up your notes and words into voices and sounds your fans will love.
Nevertheless, selecting the most appropriate chord for the melody is a significant part of how to become a songwriter.
So in being a songwriter you’re being a lyric writer, a melody writer and a chord writer. But as important as these skills are, the main skill hasn’t been mentioned yet.
Rhythm to song is like oxygen to life
A vital part of how to become a songwriter is how to become a talker, reader, writer and player of rhythm.
While we can think of rhythm as being a separate concept (and there are good reasons because of this view) it’s so embedded in lyric, melody and harmony, that you’ll require to know the way rhythm integrates each aspect along with how it separates from each too.
Words contain meaning and rhythm. Melody consists of pitch and rhythm. Harmony consists of simultaneous sound and rhythm. Rhythm consists of rhythm and timbre. There’s no escaping the importance of rhythm and understanding, talking, reading, writing and playing rhythm is really a key part of how to become a songwriter.
Again, like melody, the news headlines is not too hot here.
Ethnomusicologists report on many cultures around the globe who have rich, verbal languages for counting and talking rhythm. Musicians of South India are full of this regard. Musicians of the west aren’t so blessed. Which slows our rhythm education down a bit. And hamstrings us as songwriters if we don’t overcome this handicap.
Fortunately with the emergence of rhythmeggio–which is like the solfeggio for rhythm—songwriters are in possession of an easy to understand language that enables them to talk, read and write rhythm like their first language.
And increase their comprehension of how to become a songwriter and their ability to create a satisfactory amount of songs to acceptable levels much faster than they otherwise would.
How to become a songwriter to sum up
And so the keys areas of successfully knowing how to become a songwriters lie in becoming proficient at writing lyric, at writing melody, at writing chords which often is accelerated by your power to talk, read and write rhythm.
They are the skills that enable you to pick the proper notes and right chords to go with your words and song title and so earn you the proper to call yourself a songwriter.