The main element job of a songwriter is to write a song. Not to execute the song. To not record the song. Not to advertise the song. Not to sell the song. But to write the song.
Most of your skill as a songwriter is to choose the best notes and right chords to go with the best words and right song title and write them right into a song.
You write a tune for whom?
Firstly, for the end listener. The one who will in truth emotionally and financially buy the song, either through investing in a CD or record or investing in a live performance of the song How Much is Tekashi69 Worth.
Secondly, for the record company, who’ll turn a tune right into a product (like an archive or CD) that may be delivered to the end user through radio or retail stores.
Thirdly, for radio programmers, who decide what their listeners will listen to.
Fourthly, for the performer of the song who has to supply an efficiency that the record company would want to capture and radio stations station would want to play.
So you could argue for more people to be added to this list or for this list to be reordered. But essentially these are individuals for whom a saving songwriter writes.
So, so you know who to write for, how to become a songwriter for these listeners is the important thing question.
What key skills do you really need to become a songwriter?
As a songwriter you should learn how to write lyrics, how to write melody, how to write chords and how to write your song as a lead sheet. As a tune owner and seller you should also learn how to select the song to demo and how exactly to record a compelling demo.
Put another way, as a songwriter, you’re a lyric writer, a melody writer, a chord writer and a lead sheet writer. That’s, to be described as a songwriter, you should write in these four dimensions.
You might be a solo songwriter like Billy Joel and Bob Dylan do all things yourself. Or you can participate a partnership like Lennon-McCartney or Holland-Dozier-Holland and specialise in either a lyric or music role or move between the roles, with regards to the song.
So, how to become a lyric writer is one of the sub questions of the big question: how to become a songwriter.
The main element skill is the capability to manage to tell a tale rather than simply throw words or rhymes together. Certainly one of your key lyric skills would be to manage to create song titles and then write your lyric around that.
There are many conventions about loading your chorus up with your title lines and utilizing your verse and bridge to aid that line. Additionally you need to learn to write your story within conventional forms.
Fortunately, you will find loads of resources both on and offline that could educate you on how to write lyrics. Naturally, to become a lyric writer you will need to write habitually and exercise your skills daily.
The task of melody
Unfortunately there is less resource around that could support you in becoming a melody writer. Whereas there is an audio lyric writing literature offered to songwriters, no comparable literature exists for melody writing skills.
Much of what passes for melody writing advice lives is often the twins of superstition and obscure theory in drag, neither of that actually tells the melody writer how to choose the best notes for his or her melody. Nor teach them how to become a songwriter.
The 2 main melodic skills you will need will be the concepts of contour and span. Contour means melodic direction and shape and whether any given note reaches an increased, lower or same pitch as the previous one.
Jack Perricone identifies four contour shapes in his book entitled Melody in Songwriting: Tools and Methods for Writing Hit Songs (Berklee Guide).
There are actually a huge selection of contours, depending on what many notes you will find in your melodic phrase. These contours can effectively show you how to become a songwriter. At this time there is only 1 melodywriting site online that educates songwriters about these melodic goldmines.
Span can be very important to your melodies and ensures that you write for ordinary people who’ll sing and hum your melodies as they wash their car or vacuum their property or console themselves. Attention to span means you’ll write for your fans, not for virtuoso singers who never buy or sing pop music generally, not to mention yours.
Anyone seriously curious about how to become a songwriter will not neglect melodic span.
Chords and harmony
Fortunately one area where songwriters are relatively well served is in the chord writing area. There’s no shortage of items that teaches you scales, chords and chord progressions. In comparison to learning lyric writing and melody writing, learning scales and chords is straight ahead, like learning a yellow pages directory.
The more songs you write, the more you realise how secondary chords and voicings are if you are coping with the absolute core of songwriting: deciding which notes go best with which words.
Scales and chords are not useful as of this time. They’re essential however once you have selected the notes and words for your song and it’s time for an arranger and a manufacturer to set up your notes and words into voices and sounds that the fans will love.
Nevertheless, selecting the most appropriate chord for your melody is an essential element of how to become a songwriter.
So in becoming a songwriter you’re becoming a lyric writer, a melody writer and a chord writer. But as important as these skills are, the main skill has not been mentioned yet.
Rhythm to song is similar to oxygen to life
A vital element of how to become a songwriter is how to become a talker, reader, writer and player of rhythm.
While we can think of rhythm like a separate concept (and you will find good reasons with this view) it’s so embedded in lyric, melody and harmony, that you might want to understand how rhythm integrates each aspect as well as how it separates from each too.
Words contain meaning and rhythm. Melody contains pitch and rhythm. Harmony contains simultaneous sound and rhythm. Rhythm contains rhythm and timbre. There’s no escaping the importance of rhythm and understanding, talking, reading, writing and playing rhythm is really a key element of how to become a songwriter.
Again, like melody, the news headlines is not too hot here.
Ethnomusicologists report on many cultures around the world who have rich, verbal languages for counting and talking rhythm. Musicians of South India are rich in this regard. Musicians of the west are not so blessed. Which slows our rhythm education down a bit. And hamstrings us as songwriters when we do not overcome this handicap.
Fortunately with the emergence of rhythmeggio–which is like the solfeggio for rhythm—songwriters are in possession of a straightforward to learn language which allows them to talk, read and write rhythm like their first language.
And accelerate their knowledge of how to become a songwriter and their ability to write an acceptable number of songs to acceptable levels much faster than they otherwise would.
How to become a songwriter in summary
And so the keys areas of successfully knowing how to become a songwriters lie in becoming proficient at writing lyric, at writing melody, at writing chords which often is accelerated by your power to talk, read and write rhythm.
These are the skills that enable you to pick the best notes and right chords to go with your words and song title and so earn you the best to call yourself a songwriter.