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Songwriting Instruction - Your Launch Point

By Steven Wagenheim

In this installment of my songwriting instruction, we're going to actually get into the meat of the songwriting process itself...beginning with the launch point. What exactly is the launch point? Well, it's something that I have found to be most helpful in writing songs and giving me more ideas than I can possibly think of. The methods of launching your songwriting process should give you sufficient inspiration to write any song at any time. So let's get started.

Launching the songwriting process is very similar to launching any writing process. You need inspiration. It's very hard to stare at a blank piece of paper and come up with ideas. So we need some tools to give us those ideas. For writing songs, those tools are the starting points we use to come up with a song.

For example, we could begin writing our song by coming up with a set of lyrics first. Some people have a much easier time writing words than writing music. So by coming up with lyrics, or even just a simple poem, this can inspire us to then come up with a melody to fit that tune. The words we write (happy, sad, etc.) will many times dictate the kind of music we write. Certainly you're not going to write a feel good tune to lyrics where a man is mourning the loss of a loved one. Words are powerful, so use them to influence your music.

Another way to come up with a tune is to sit down at the piano or pick up the guitar, and start playing some notes or even whole chord progressions. If you listen to a lot of hard rock songs, most of these usually start out just that way...with a standard progression that ends up being wrapped up with a simple melody. If you took apart many hard rock tunes, you'd soon discover how simple they really are. What makes them "sell" is the arrangement, which includes additional lead lines, sound effects and so on. Truth is, most hard rock would sound almost comical if played on a piano with no drums, bass and additional enhancements. Think I'm kidding? Go pick up a collection of hard rock tunes in sheet music and bring it home to bang out on your piano. Don't say I didn't warn you.

There are other methods to get started with writing tunes. You can find more of them below at my personal blog.

Once you find your launch point...the rest of it will just fall into place.

To YOUR Songwriting Success,

Steven Wagenheim


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