How To Get BETTER AT SONGWRITING FAST Part 1: Improve Your Music Writing QuicklyFeb 10, 2023
How To Get BETTER AT SONGWRITING FAST Part 1: Improve Your Music Writing Quickly
As musicians and songwriters, we all want to improve our skills and become better at our craft as quickly as possible. In this article, we're going to focus on how to level up your music writing skills, specifically. We will have another article dedicated to the lyric writing side of things, but for now, let's dive into the main ways you can improve your music writing abilities.
The first step that many musicians and songwriters might not like is learning basic foundational music theory. However, it's important to understand that music theory is not the same as knowing how to read sheet music. The two are at best tangentially connected but they really have almost nothing to do with each other. Unfortunately, many musicians and songwriters conflate these two and as a result, they are against learning music theory, thinking that it won't be helpful for songwriting.
However, music theory is a very useful tool for understanding how to write music that elicits a certain emotional response. It teaches us the theory behind why a chorus feels explosive and why a pre-chorus leads to the chorus in a way that doesn't sound resolved or complete. Understanding music theory helps us to replicate these effects in our own compositions.
The three most basic things you need to know in music theory are Keys, Chords, and Chord Progressions. These are the building blocks of music theory and will give you a solid understanding of how to compose music. If you want to learn more about music theory, including Intervals, which is at the basis of Keys, Chords, and Chord Progressions, check out my free free guide on the four pillars of music theory.
Keys give you an understanding of all the different notes you have at your disposal when writing a song. If your song is in the key of D Major, for example, you know that you have access to the notes D, E, F#, G, A, B, and C#. Understanding chords in the context of keys helps you to understand how the same chord in a different key will have a different sound and job depending on which key it is in.
Chord progressions are the idea of understanding how chords move and flow together in a piece of music. For example, a V chord (5th chord) most strongly wants to go to the I chord (1st chord). Understanding chord progressions allows you to utilize this knowledge to create musical twists and turns that surprise and engage the listener.
Once you have a basic understanding of music theory, the next step is to start improvising. Improvising will help you to put your knowledge into practice and get comfortable with creating music on the fly. It's also a great way to explore different chord progressions and see how they affect the listener.
Finally, continually doubling down on learning more and more music theory is a great way to constantly have a flow of new theory-inspired musical ideas to incorporate into your music.
In conclusion, understanding basic music theory is a critical step in leveling up your songwriting skills. It provides you with the tools you need to compose music that elicits the emotional responses you desire and helps you to understand how to use keys, chords, and chord progressions to achieve your musical goals. Learning to then leverage your music theory knowledge in real-time by practicing improvisation is the natural next step.
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