What is songwriting?

Submitted by jon on Sat, 09/01/2018 - 22:01

How do I become a songwriter?

Two of the most common questions when it comes to songwriting are a) what is songwriting, exactly? and b) how can I become a songwriter? In this article, we will answer both of these questions so that you can get started on your path to success and happiness.

Songwriting is the art of writing great songs. Songwriting is one of the oldest art forms, dating backing to troubadours in Europe, the Middle East and Africa who went from village to village singing songs about  great warriors and princes. Songwriting back then was considered a form of poetry, and to become a songwriter you just needed to hit the road and sing for people.

Modern songwriting

Things have changed. Today songwriting mainly happens on two levels: the professional and the amateur. There are countless thousands of people across the world who write a song every now and then as a hobby. They may perform the songs themselves or else give them to friends to sing, or they might just write them with no intention of ever performing them. Chances are amateur songwriting isn’t completely new to you: you probably wrote songs for projects in school or for fun when you were a teenager.

Professional songwriting

Professional songwriting is a very different thing. There are many fewer professional songwriters in the world. They write songs for pop stars and bands either as hired contractors (they help write an entire album), or as freelancers (they write songs and singers or producers buy them). Professional songwriting is a difficult and very competitive field, and it is not easy to become a songwriter in this way and actually make money off of it. In fact, it can be nearly impossible unless you have a great talent.

Songwriting is the core of good music and good albums, but it is the least visible part of music. Unless they perform their own music, songwriters are usually relatively unknown except to the most interested of fans. So if you want to become a songwriter to be famous, you should definitely reconsider your choice.

How can you become a songwriter?

So, how can you become a songwriter? Well, the first step is to start writing songs. This is one of those things where the only way to get started is to, well, get started. No one will hire you to work on their album without some previous successes, so you need to build your portfolio. Start writing songs and keep writing them. Study your favorite singers and song writers and try to do what they do.

If you just want to become a songwriter for yourself or your friends, the advice is the same: get started. Practice a lot, play your songs for people, and try to get better with each song. Be very critical of your work (but not of yourself) and look for ways to improve with each song you write. Unfortunately, there’s no set way to write a song, because songwriting is an art rather than a set science. The only way to get good is to get started.