Is Songwriting A Gift?
Like a lot of artists, I doubt myself quite sometimes. I’m not one of those people who had piano lessons in their very early ages drilled to become a professional.
When I was about 14 years old I decided that I wanted to learn an instrument and get lessons. So I got a guitar for christmas and spent my saved money on guitar lessons once a week. But are we limited because of inherited skills? Is songwriting a gift and not possible to learn?
For a while I even stopped making music because I thought I’m never gonna be as good as a gifted person. But I can tell you dedication is an extremely important factor.
Is songwriting a gift?
Why Is Attitude So Important?
Like I said, I was 14 years old when I decided to dive into the art of music. So I basically started at 0 but I was very very passionate about it.
Back in the days I used to play the guitar for many hours a day. After school I went to my local internet cafe because at that time I didn’t have internet at home and printed all the chords of my most favorite songs. By the way do you have somehing like an internet cafe in your town?
Ok so I had the chords/notes now what’s next? Well, I had no internet at home so the distraction level was quite small. I played the guitar all day and all night til I had to go to bed. Next day I went to school and did the same thing again. You won’t believe how quick I learned how to play guitar and I’m definitely not gifted nor blessed in any form. It was a lot of work but after 6 months I quit guitar lessons and learned by my own and started a high school band. Unfortunately my school friends weren’t as passionate as I was so they didn’t progress as fast and the project failed after 1 year.
But we had some fun gigs and good memories.
Obviously I don’t have that much time anymore. I’m not a kid anymore and I have a normal job that is not related to music… YET!
But I can say a similar principle applies. After work I sit down turn on the computer and write… I write either songs or this blog here. I mostly dedicate my free time on this kind of project and have a very strict time schedule which is unfortunate for my friends.
Don’t forget your friends and families though!
What i want you to know is that you can progress a lot with attitude, discipline and dedication. Talent might get you there faster but that doesn’t mean you can’t get there in the first place.
Which Skills Need To Be Trained?
But what about songwriting? Is songwriting a gift? Do you need to be an exceptional writer or do you need pitch perfect ears?
As I told you in that post earlier I started to be more serious about songwriting last year and I wasn’t a good writer at all. I still don’t think I’m incredible at writing, that’s one of the reasons why this blog exists. It’s true though if you want to write meaningful lyrics, you need some writing skills. For me, object writing was very helpful and I already talked a little bit about that HERE.
One reasons why you might not have heard any song from me is that I’m not good a producing music… YET! To make your songs well presentable it’s an important skill to have. Also recording in a studio can be really expensive. I will soon tell you how to start recording your songs on a budget and how I do it . 🙂
If you’re going to sing your own songs then of course singing lessons might be very helpful. Nobody gifted me with a pitch perfect ear. Same for my voice. I’m working really hard to improve those things. The opposite is quite the reality… My voice teacher always told me that I’ve got a lazy ear and that’s why I don’t sing on pitch sometimes. So even listening is a skill you should try to improve on.
But technology is here to help you at least in the instrument department.
I like to use Garageband because there a lot of instrument I dont have at home or I’m just not that good at. You can just doodle around with your desired chords until you like it.
Again dedication and time well spent are important factors.
Is Music Theory Required?
Well, I would say it depends. Of course it is very helpful to know some things about music theory. I learned most of mine in school and nowadays youtube videos. But if you have a good taste and a good ear you can make beautiful chord progressions or melodies without music theory. From time to time I notice that I might be too strict on patterns.
Of course it’s a good thing to start easy and simple (I really like it when songs are not overly complecated or complex) and patterns or schemes are really helpful in that situation.
For example a good structure for a song as a beginner would be. ABABCB (Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus)
When you get used to songwriting you can add Intros or Pre-Choruses and more fancy things.
One essential part of music theory is knowing the key and scales you’re about to write your song.
- Is it in major or minor?
- Which black keys do I need for my scale
- Is a specific note part of my key?
- What kind of chord progression sounds good in that key?
I can name you a few common chord progressions until I wrote a post especially on that topic.
The example is gonna be in C Major!
C – Am – F – G (I – vi – IV – V)
C – G – Am – F (I – V – vi – IV)
C – Em – D – D (I – iii – ii – ii)
These are very common chord progressions. Try and play around with those or mix them around as you like.
If you’re ever out of ideas, just google about chord progressions and you get a lot of examples!
Do I need To Play An Instrument?
In my opinion it’s worth knowing at least one instrument.
Imagine: You write a killer song and someone books you for a show and you don’t have a band nor can you play the song because you can’t play the instrument.
Go out and search for a good teacher maybe once a week or every two weeks. Touching an instrument and making it in the real world gives SO much joy.
I’m definitely going to learn many more instruments when the time is right but for now I’m focusing on vocals and guitar.
What About Tech Skills?
As mentioned above it would be super handy if you can record and mix your songs yourself.
Maybe thats where you’re even gifted at and you can try to become a producer… hit me up if that’s the case!
Other than that I think it’s good to know how to record your songs somehow. I mean use your phone if it’s the only thing you’ve got. Don’t just write a song and then forget it later on because you didn’t record it at all.
The tech side of songwriting is something I’m really interested in and I will learn much more and tell you more about it at a later time.
Once again if you’re a pro at producing or know more stuff about it than me then hit me up!
I’m a firm believer that talent gets you faster results.
If you’ve got a beautiful voice from the beginning that’s great obviously and I kinda hate you haha.
But don’t get discouraged because others might be better. You do you! It’s your own art and it has to be different and it certainly doesn’t have to be perfect.
Dedication and a positive attitude will get you there as well! Don’t give up and pull through. It is something that I struggled for a very long time but if you’re really passionate then you own it to yourself. Do what makes you happy and work hard to improve!
I hope I could inspire some of you guys with today’s post and maybe you realize that songwriting is not a gift send from above.
Keep your positive attitude and I will talk to you very soon.
I wanna hear your songwriting stories!
Are you a gifted person or did you have to work to get there?