If you ever tried to write your own songs, whether you are an experienced music virtuoso or a beginner, you probably realized writing original songs is not that easy. We can see that there are thousands of great musicians out there, but only a fraction of them are trying to create original songs. And most of these created songs are mediocre or worse.
But why is it hard to write songs?
1. Traditional music education
There is a very long history of teaching how to play a musical instrument, in fact, they teach music since the 1800s! But it’s 2020 and there are still only a few music schools on the planet where they teach songwriting. And to be honest, you can learn more about songwriting from free Youtube videos than from ANY big name music school, trust me.
So the point is, you can’t learn songwriting in a traditional way (like you would learn to play a musical instrument in a musical institute), because they still don’t teach it. (or their teaching method is very VERY old-school…)
It’s not that songwriting is hard. It’s just there are not many people who have the method to teach you. Even if you would learn from a good songwriter, he may not have the method to teach you, because he just writes songs by “searching blindly”.
In fact, I believe that most songwriters couldn’t tell you how to write songs, even though they are very good at writing songs.
There are a handful of good sources for learning more about songwriting, for example, my songwriting course here.
2. Different mindset
I read a blog post not long ago, and they stated that people are struggling with songwriting because they are lack music theory knowledge. I don’t believe that this is very common.
Obviously, if you don’t know anything about music theory (the “lego bricks” of music: scales, chords, intervals, keys) you need to learn it. But music theory is not the hardest thing in songwriting.
Most people I know, who are involved in songwriting are very good with music theory. And most professional musicians can’t write good songs, or any songs at all, even though they know everything about music theory.
On the other hand, we know a lot of highly successful songwriters who don’t know ANYTHING about music theory. For example, Michael Jackson.
Music theory can be really helpful, but it’s only the “ABC” of songwriting. You wouldn’t say that people can’t write a poem because they don’t know the alphabet.
The real challenge is not music theory. If you want to write songs, you need to realize that songwriting requires a completely different mindset than playing music.
When you are playing music, you play things you already played before. But when you are writing a new song, you need to switch your brain to “search mode”.
You need to realize that you need a different mindset for writing songs, and you need to find that state of mind, switching your brain to “search mode”.
3. Different process
Maybe you need to consider that it’s not that songwriting is hard, but it’s just a totally different process. The secret of songwriting is in the selection. You need to create a lot of different ideas (for melodies, for chords progressions, etc.) and then select the best ideas from those. This could take days, weeks, or even months to create ONE good song. But it doesn’t mean that it’s hard, it’s just a different process.
You shouldn’t compare songwriting with playing music. It’s relatively easy to play the music that is already written (especially if you are a good sight-reader) – compared to songwriting, where you need to CREATE new ideas.
But if you think about it, learning how to play your instrument took you years of practice.
4. Songwriting tools
Most people write songs by “searching blindly”. Of course, the “search mode” is an essential part of the songwriting process, but YOU DON’T HAVE TO INVENT THE WHEEL!
I know this because this is exactly what I was doing when I started to write songs. It was so much more painful and so much slower to figure out everything from zero.
But after I analyzed more than 2000 songs, I found a LOT of common things in those songs, and I learned a lot of songwriting tools that make my songwriting process so much easier.
You don’t have to struggle and you don’t have to invent everything from zero when hundreds of successful songwriters already SHOWN YOU the tricks in their songs! The absolutely best way to learn these things is by analyzing the songs.
This is how I created the Songwriting Essentials course, which is created by analyzing 2000 songs, and you can save a lot of time with it.
The secret pattern behind successful songs
Get the eBook for $4.99
About the Author
Producer, songwriter at Bánhidy András, and Barrio Latino Hungría. Author of The Rhythm Code.