As creative musicians we aspire to make music that inspires, that our listeners care about. But as obvious as this goal may seem, the technical aspects can be daunting. Throughout the songwriting and recording process, the same question comes up over and over: 'How do I translate what I feel into a piece of music that makes listeners feel the same way?'
There are a lot of ways to answer this question. Some techniques fall onto the songwriting side of the equation, while recording and mixing offer a whole other range of creative possibilities. If you're not sure about what these techniques are, I can relate. There was a time when I wasn't clear on the differences between a 'song copyright,' versus an 'arrangement' or a 'production.' A lot of information is available, now more than ever, but creativity is a personal process that each of us must grow and develop for ourselves.
During this series of posts, my goal is to help strengthen your connection to your songwriting and creativity by touching on a series of topics covered in my book, The Artful Songwriter. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started.
First, identify your strengths, both as a musician and as a songwriter. Everyone has different strengths, and it's important to give yourself credit for what you naturally do well. You may have a strong voice, or a voice that easily conveys emotion. Maybe you groove hard, or you're a great lyricist. You might find that discipline and organisation come naturally, or you might have strong technical studio skills. Most of us have a combination of strengths and abilities, and it's important to take stock and figure out what yours are. If in doubt, ask a friend or two. Their perspective may surprise you.
Secondly, identify your weaknesses. This list is just as important, because it points to areas where hard work can yield big results. It's always tempting to focus on what we do well, but if you want to take your music game up a few notches, work on your weak areas. Most importantly, be patient with your progress. Improvement is a series of baby steps, one foot in front of the other.
I hope you enjoy this series. Feel free to get in touch if you have any topic requests, feedback or questions. Or if you just want to yak about music.