I just don't understand...

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rachel92
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I just don't understand...

Post by rachel92 » December 2nd, 2012, 2:23 pm

...how they do it.

I'm talking about my first ever attempt to write a song. I thought id try listening to some of my favorite bands for inspiration, (Led Zeppelin, Rush, Coheed and Cambria, and the like) and still I can't manage to make anything work. Not even one bad song. Iv got nothing at all. Its just beyond me how my favorite bands crank out album after album throughout their career, each one coming from what seems to be a bottomless well of creativity.

Is song writing something that requires natural born talent or could I eventually learn to tap into my own creative well? I understand not everyone is privileged enough to be touched by the gifted hand like the members of the bands i mentioned. All I mean is...I wanna have mad skills too! :cry:

Where do I begin?
I only regret not trying to learn to play guitar sooner.

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Alan Green
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Re: I just don't understand...

Post by Alan Green » December 2nd, 2012, 3:01 pm

It's not easy just to write a song out of thin air. The biggest problem is having a starting point.

Head over to the Sunday Songwriters' Group pages on this site. David's put this week's theme (the starting point) up for you to have a go at, and you can look at what other members have written for this or previous assignments. You don't have to start with the latest assignment, you can always have a go at writing something from a previous week. Post what you've written in the Sunday Songwriters pages under the heading "SSG 10 Week whatever it is" and take on board what people say about what you create; nobody writes a masterpiece first time out, not even us lot.
"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger
"I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk

Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at: http://www.rollmopmusic.co.uk

andygetch
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Re: I just don't understand...

Post by andygetch » December 10th, 2012, 5:18 pm

Hi Rachel92,
Keep at it, here is a good article with great tips to get started posted by Nick (also of the Sunday Songwriters Group)

http://www.guitarnoise.com/lessons/song ... beginners/

For me writing its like learning to play the guitar, developing different skills, the more I practice, the better I get. One thing that helped me get started was taking an old tune I know well and then experiment with changing parts of it (lyrics, chords, time signature, tempo, rhythm/strum pattern, etc.).The first few songs can take awhile, so hang in there.
Last edited by andygetch on December 13th, 2012, 8:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

EzraplaysEzra
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Re: I just don't understand...

Post by EzraplaysEzra » December 11th, 2012, 7:30 am

You either have it or you don't - its important to let your self come out and not try to force a genre or a sound or anything like that. But even then it doesn't just spill out of you all at once (not that often) I usually write a little bit all the time and end up with bits of melody and a lyric or a phrase and a solo, basically a bunch of nothing - then, when its time to rehearse or record I can "borrow" from the bunch of nothing to pull songs together. The most important thing for me was learning not to force things and not trying to be too clever. Mostly, not fall in love with something so that you can't change it or drop it completely when it doesn't fit into the song that forms around it. It will begin to feel like you are just decoding music that was just floating around in the ether, like magic once you really understand how you write and whats best for you.
What works for me:
When I have an idea I try to play it as quickly as possible on what ever instrument is handy. I never record it or write it down. Strangely, I do tons of writing while doing dishes and cleaning the house.
Usually, I'll try it latter or it will just come out in different compositions. I don't get too concerned if I can't remember it verbatim.
Often, songs I write will swap rhythms, phrases and cadences dozens of times before I get them into rehearsal.
I am completely inspired by recording rehearsals and playing with others and showing my songs to the guys who will be recording them with me - that is my favorite part of song writing - with that, I do my best work in the few days between rehearsals where I am completely jazzed and getting good feed back from the other musicians and seeing how they are inturpreting the songs. That is when I am best at pulling the bunches of nothing together.
That, of coarse, is just me. It was a long process in arriving at this method.
The one thing you can learn and that is possibly as important - is being able to convey what is in your head to others musically. That is not as easy as it seems.
Having good musicians with good taste and feel is key - there are some songs you think are great but you don't realize that what you love about it isn't coming through - then there are songs you think are just okay that take off when played in a group and that happens more often the the former. Also - not ever musician is a lyricist and likewise. It wont take you long to figure out if you have it or not if you have a good mindset and are openmided. If don't have it - work on your playing more and find a good song writer.

jason brann

Re: I just don't understand...

Post by jason brann » February 19th, 2013, 7:46 am

just write a song a day for a month. it doesn't have to be good, doesn't even have to be a workable song. just write something every day and try to make it a song. after a month, you won't be blocked.

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s1120
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Re: I just don't understand...

Post by s1120 » February 19th, 2013, 12:47 pm

rachel92 wrote:...how they do it.

I'm talking about my first ever attempt to write a song. I thought id try listening to some of my favorite bands for inspiration, (Led Zeppelin, Rush, Coheed and Cambria, and the like) and still I can't manage to make anything work. Not even one bad song. Iv got nothing at all. Its just beyond me how my favorite bands crank out album after album throughout their career, each one coming from what seems to be a bottomless well of creativity.

Is song writing something that requires natural born talent or could I eventually learn to tap into my own creative well? I understand not everyone is privileged enough to be touched by the gifted hand like the members of the bands i mentioned. All I mean is...I wanna have mad skills too! :cry:

Where do I begin?
Maybe start with something a little more simple.A little more poppy to start. Listen to some early beatles and try to write something in that kind of a flavor. I come to song writing from writing poetry. Well Lyrics writing realy... have not got the knack for writing music yet.. Just write, and eaven if you dont think its a good song... stash it away, and keep writing. Ive got pages of junk that sometimes I go back to for ideas. Mix and match thoughts from past work. Just keep writing, and dont give up becouse you dont write the next "Stairway to Heaven"
Paul B

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chefie
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Re: I just don't understand...

Post by chefie » February 19th, 2013, 4:38 pm

The link provided above gives superior advice. On begining, just for practice, pick a subject. The Sunday Songwriters Forum can pick it for you if you want to give it a try. At that point I usually start writing random thoughts . . . . . . ideas . . . . . . . begin playing with word patterns . . . . rhymes . . . . . and after a while I find a story line taking shape somewhere in all those notes. I start to edit things out, organize it in a logical way where somehings taking place. Then I start playing with different ways of saying what I wrote that's, hopefully, more poetic and interesting. Sometimes I end up with only one verse. I store it away and look at it later and try to expand upon it. Last week I started expanding a short song that I wrote 3 years ago and it's really begining to take shape and becomomg a full song. But the best advice I ever heard a friend say was, they're a writer. May not be published or earn a living from it, but they write every day because it's what they want to do and you need to do it to learn it.

Hope I've been some help.

Neil

Geedub81
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Re: I just don't understand...

Post by Geedub81 » February 21st, 2014, 10:52 am

Hi Rachel,

I can relate to your frustration but can also offer some words of encouragement. I've been a musician all my life who has wanted to write for many years but never felt like I could. This past summer I found a way forward and am happy to say that I've written a number of songs that I feel proud of. Here are a few things that have helped me.

The Berklee college of music offers a free online songwriting course. I found it very helpful to organize my thoughts and ideas and develop a process that follows. I found the link from this website but you can probably do a search and find it (mine doesn't work correctly or I would post it).

1. Don't compare yourself to your musical heroes. First off, they have been writing songs for a long time and even though I don't have first hand knowledge, I'm pretty sure that "Stairway to Heaven" and "Tom Sawyer" were not first attempts! Second, you can't write their songs. The only songs you can write come from you.

2. Start simple. "Mary Had A Little Lamb" is a pretty simple song but it's also pretty effective. Organizing ideas and experience is a skill that requires time to acquire. Crawl, then walk, then run, then run and jump...

3. Songwriting is about exploring ideas and expressing experiences. When looking for topics to write about, try to draw on your own experiences. Ask yourself, what is it about this that is common to others? What is unique to me? What am I trying to say?

4. Just because you can't write their songs, that doesn't mean you can't take inspiration or ideas from your heroes. One of the little tricks I've used is to listen to lot's of music and pay attention to the lyrics. A while back I found that certain lines or phrases would trigger an emotional response inside me. I then tried to identify what it had triggered. Often times a different phrase would emerge that was either a different way of saying the same idea or an idea that was different from the original line. At first I thought it was cheating but once it helped me get a couple of song unstuck I realized that's just how creativity works.

5. A good friend of mine with a HUGE song catalogue taught me the importance of "following" a song. Try not to force it or take it where you think it should go. For what it's worth, I post a link below to a short story I wrote about that process that I posted in a different guitar forum. At the top of the thread there's a link to one of my songs and at the bottom you'll find the rest of the story.

Good Luck!

http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/foru ... ght=geedub

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