Songwriting: Songwriting Challenges – Part II
Especially if you often write a lot of songs, it can be difficult to start a new song from scratch. But that is also possible if you don’t write that often and have become a bit rusty. There are many ways to start writing a new song. At the songwriting lessons at the Wisseloord Academy you will learn ways to get rid of this problem from many experienced songwriters.
We will present you with a few ideas so that you can already benefit from them!
Use unknown instrumentals
If you often play an instrument yourself while writing new songs, you can get stuck. Especially if you often use the same kind of instrument. You soon start writing in the same key, the same chord progressions, and the same rhythms. That feels familiar, not crazy. You can then see if you can play another instrument, but you can also look up instrumentals of songs you don’t know. Perhaps even from genres that are unknown to your writing.
Put on such an instrumental and try to write a topline (vocal melody and lyrics) on it. Often you will find yourself in new chord progressions and rhythms, which you will probably subconsciously adjust your writing to. That way you end up with new and unknown melodies. New inspiration, new techniques. Win – win!
A different genre
Try writing a song in a different genre than you’re used to. Rest assured, you don’t have to expect yourself to nail this 100% right away or that a hit will roll out right away. It is even more likely that it is not even that good within that genre, but that is not necessarily the goal. Because you suddenly step out of your comfort zone, you end up with new techniques and there you can get small pieces of inspiration and experience that you can use in your ‘real’ songwriting!
The 10-minute challenge
The creative process of writing a song is one without limits. It has its advantages, but also its disadvantages. You can and may write about anything and nothing is too crazy, but that can also be extremely overwhelming. With all the limitless options in front of you, it can be very difficult to make choices and make decisions. In principle, you can take years to finish that one song, but you can also ask yourself whether that will benefit the song and your creative process. So, try the 10-minute challenge. Set a timer on your phone for 10 minutes and set yourself a goal. For example, writing a verse and a chorus. Because you only have such a short time, you will have to make choices quickly. In practice that is very short, and it will not always produce the best songs, but it does train you in one thing; make a decision. And that can be very important in a writing session to prevent you from getting stuck on something and eventually throwing the entire song into the trash in advance.