Hey all! Today I will show you a few key tools that will make your journey to becoming a good songwriter much easier, much faster, more focused, and above all – more fun. These resources contain some super productive tips and much more, both on writing song lyrics, and on writing the music itself – harmony and melody.
These are the tools that personally helped me the most, and I want to pass the word forward. Now I feel that I'm at a totally different point at songwriting – way more savvy, having way more fun, and my songs are getting better feedback from people around me.
Some people will say that they do not believe in reading books about arts like songwriting and just “letting it naturally come out”. I think differently here – just like you would go out and educate yourself about anything else that you want to be good at – writing songs is not different at all. These books will help you get much better songs out of yourself – so why not read them?
“Songwriting is a kind of a craft. It's not something that just comes in a dream. You've got to work at it.”
K, here we go:
The Addiction Formula: A Holistic Approach to Writing Captivating, Memorable Hit Songs by Friedemann Findeisen
This book did not just change the way I write and arrange my songs and the instruments that play in each part, but really changed the way I listen to music. (and still gives me fun topics to talk about with friends) It goes behind all the inner workings of hit pop and rock songs – and what makes them literally addicting to the brain. Then – it shows you how to craft your own songs in that way – hence “The Addiction Formula”.
The author, Friedemann Findeisen, also runs one of my favorite YouTube channels, which is all about songwriting. My favorite part there is “The Artists Series” – where he delves deeply into a different hit song each time, and finds out what makes it so catchy – psychologically. You can learn more and get a lot of inspiration over there. Check the channel out right here.
The Six Steps To Songwriting Success by Jason Blume
Now this is a very comprehensive book that I took a lot out of. I believe it has the most easily accessible and most useful tricks on how to write your own song when you start from zero, and develop an effective use of Blume's great methods to write awesome and hooking songs (and also get them finished – which is not obvious at all as I'm sure many of you feel too) from the ground up with lyrics and music.
Jason Blume is one of the biggest names in Nashville and worked in the American music industry for many years as a prized songwriter while writing an insane amount of billboard hits in various genres. He gives some compelling examples from the making-of many great songs that we all know. This book also gives an interesting insight into the music business from someone who's actually there, and have been successful for many years.
The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron
After some researching and finding out what this book was about, I became even a lot more interested, since it's all about really diving into spiritual places within you – and starting to be able to draw more from deep inside. Sounds “buzz-wordy” – but this book is very practical – and talks about a bunch of different things and exercises that you should do daily and weekly to see results.
This helped me massively in writing my songs a lot more fluently and being more connected to my emotions. It's no coincidence that it's one of the top selling books for artists in all of Amazon. Especially if you're leaning more to the “spiritual” side – you have to read this one.
Guitar Theory Revolution by Neill Blokland
My bible when it comes to guitar and music theory. When you feel ready to level up your songwriting, it's a perfect time to start getting into music theory as well – so you will understand what exactly you are doing and be able to alter everything to your own style, put some new and interesting chords in your songs, add some cool riffs and much more.
Whether you are starting from nothing or if you have learned some theory before, this book has by far the best method to get everything arranged in your head as a guitarist, and I read tons of material about the subject. Most theory methods aren't geared for guitar students, or for taking advantage of the benefits of the guitar tuning (through the cycle of fourths and fifths) that really helps understand theory. This book was different and made things click for me – and it is very practical as well – which is what most other books lack.
I contacted Neill, the author, and he has agreed to offer a 40% discount coupon for Guitar Songs Masters readers, so if you want the book, be sure to use the coupon code SONGSMASTERS40.
The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Art of Songwriting by Casey Kelly &
As always with books from the “Complete Idiot's” series, this one's very detailed and long, and goes down to the bones of a song's structure. Because of that, it is also a bit harder to get through it – so I suggest getting this one after you're done with “The Six Steps” from above, if you feel like you are still thirsty for a different approach. The number of exercises in this book is huge and some of them were of a great help to me.
You can use those apps to fill out words when you are running out of creative fuel, or just need a lil' helping hand and creative station for getting your rhymes together. Personally I like to write all of my lyrics and keep them organized in the Word Pallete app.
This is it. now it's all about getting your notebook (or even easier – your notes app) and start working on your next song. I'd love to hear more opinions in the comments about these tools and other tools that helped you as well.
Good luck on your creative endeavors, and I hope this was helpful. Enjoy!