Taking control of the way you make music IS one of the most important aspects of a growing, independent artist. Part of what makes a good songwriter/musician/vocalist is all the work that goes into understanding what makes a good song and how songs and music have evolved over time. We have a couple of tip and tricks which will help you to improve on your own music.
Learn good song structure
Song structure is incredibly important. For example, if your goal is to make a commercial song then you need to understand that modern commercial music is something which is formulaic, and radio stations want to play music which sticks to a particular formula because it means that listeners already have an idea of what to expect. This is better for the song as well as the station playing it as audiences tend towards things which they know or are already comfortable with. We are not explicitly stating you must stick to a generic formula, just be aware that having a certain song structure will help make it more “commercial” and easy on the ear
Get in some theory
Music theory is one of the most important things one can know as a songwriter. It doesn’t mean that you need to know everything about theory from a Royal Schools of Music book, but it is a good idea to know the basics like your keys, majors and minors and time signatures. Learning better theory will also help you train your ears to write better melody lines.
Knowing a bit of theory also means you can better your understanding of how chords work, which will make your songs tighter and allow you to spend more time to be creative and less time trying to figure out what chord goes where.
Hone your instrument
Voice, keys, guitar, it doesn’t matter what you write on or what you write for, you have to keep your skills sharp. When we say sharp it doesn’t mean you have to be the best of the best, but the more you practice your instrument the better you’re going to be at playing, which in turn makes your writing easier too.
Collab with other artists
Collaborating with other artists will do a few good things for your song writing, 2 heads are better than one. There’s there’s a lot you can learn from other artists in terms of method, knowledge and ideas, and it works both ways which creates a richer environment for the music to be better than it otherwise would have been.
Expand your listening
You might have and really enjoy a specific style, but it’s not going to be the only thing that’s out there, an there’s lots that you can learn by listening to other styles and genres. There may be elements in a genre you don’t listen to often which you’ve been looking for but are unable to put your finger on. There’s also a chance that you might find something you really like and want to try on your next track. Experimentation and creativity are powerful when they are put together.
The other thing that this will do is to move you away from what you’re comfortable with, which is a good thing because a comfort zone can become a place of laziness. When you are out of your comfort zone you are bound to struggle and be frustrated but the potential for growth far outweighs the negatives
Set your sights on a goal
We can’t stress enough how important setting a goal is for your music. Do you want to go commercial? Do you want to create a loyal fanbase? Do you want to create music just for fun? Do you want to explore and create demos? If you start writing, decide what you want the track to be. There’s nothing wrong with writing a demo track, but don’t write 15 demos. Have a long term goal in mind for your music and where you want to take it. Having a goal, keeps you motivated and helps you put steps and plans in place to achieve them
You don’t want to get stuck in a rut, nor do you want to put yourself out for so long that you burn out. You have to keep yourself balanced, and goal setting will definitely help you to make sure that you stay on track.
The internet is your friend
Access to just about anything is right at our fingertips, and we as artists have to leverage that power and use it to our advantage as much as possible. Finding places to watch live music, learning new techniques to your instrument, trying out production techniques you haven’t yet thought of, all of these things are available, you just have to look.
The final word
These are just a few things to think about, but remember, your music is yours, and at the end of the day it’s up to you how you make it. Continuously learning and growing, collaborating with other artists and setting goals are a good first steps in taking control of your music