Songwriting is a personal challenge for most budding musicians. It seems there are two camps or types of musicians. “Writers” that have written tunes since day one and “players” that have never written a note. The “writers” may not be the best technical players but they have this ability to look past that and create music just about every time they play. Words flow and the simplest 2 chord vamp becomes a song in minutes. It may not be the best tune but to them it is their baby and it came from the heart. The “player” is the other type that learns every tabbed song they can find. On a whim they can call up the classic riff from Dylan to Ozzy to Bach. But when asked to create something new or jam along, they play the same cover tune riffs over and over.
My purpose with this post is to blur that line and become a writer instead of just a copy cat. To take the cover tunes I have learned and absorb the feel to create something my own. In other words, become a real musician. For the record I am not a musician. I do play in a cover band and I can play guitar pretty well. But I am a hobbiest and not a pro or anything close to that. Any music theory I have learned is from the “Heavy Guitar Bible” when I was a kid and the many guitar magazines I have read throughout the years. I will do my best to explain the theory (right or wrong) in my thinking as I go.
On to the hand at task. Normally my head goes through a process of doubt, over thinking, and destruction when attempting to write a song. It goes something like this:
1. Record new riff/progression
2. Dream about what it can be
3. Realize it’s not as good as ______
4. Change the riff/progression
5. Start to doubt my talents as a musician
This process of destruction can go on for an hour or a couple days before I throw in the towel and give up. I have the feeling it’s a common process most people go through trying to write music. My hope and goal is to change this pattern of thinking once and for all. Granted it may be imbedded in my personality I do believe we have the power to change our outlooks on life. Usually it takes hitting rock bottom before the change begins to take hold in my life. For now we can consider the bottom reached and the anger/ frustration taking over.
Next, The song….