How To Write Songs Nashville Style
Sometimes getting started writing a song can be the hardest part, at least in the beginning. Before you start getting ideas for songs, you need to know what makes a great song. So how do you learn things like what makes a great song? First of all, to be a real songwriter, you have to learn how to find ideas you can turn into great songs. Then you have to figure out how to get your songs heard down on Music Row.
Unfortunately, there are no academic institutions where you can go and take X amount of semesters of songwriting courses and graduate with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in The Music Business. No, songwriter’s are forced to learn their craft the same way pioneers learned to survive in the wilderness. They must study those who came before them and learn how they did it and pick up what they can from articles and other songwriters. We are very fortunate today that we have the Internet to do our research. There, we can find a wealth of information about Nashville, Music City and the songwriting process we love.
In the last article I told you the way to find your song ideas was to look at the lives of average Americans and to write songs about things they can relate to. In this article I’ll talk about how to look at other people’s lives and find a story you can turn into a song, a hit song.
A Songwriter’s development is an ongoing process. You never stop learning. Whether you start out putting words to music or music to words, the way to start is to just do it, jump in the pond and start swimming. The music business waits for no one. There are too many people trying to make as much money as they can. They know that if they stop they will starve. So you need to realize now that you must put your shoulder to the plow and go for it.
Now, back to your song idea. There are stories all around you. Remember, your aunt and uncle celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary a few months ago. Your uncle was in the army in Vietnam. He got a purple heart and saved 2 of the members of his outfit. There is a story right there. Songs about great soldiers make great songs. Many recording artists end up looking for songs like that when getting ready to record their CD projects.
Do you know anyone who has gotten married recently. Do a little research and find out what their story is. How did they meet, what drew them together, did they go through any hardships and have to struggle to stay together? Sometimes there is a story begging to be told. Find the story and be the one to write it in music before another songwriter discovers it.
Go down to your local library and go through back issues of your town paper. What you are looking for is what the media calls “Human interest stories”. You’ve seen them on TV and read about them in the paper. Look for stories about people going out of their way to help other people, stories about bravery and selflessness. I have no doubt that somewhere in those back issues you will find articles that contain good stories that you can use to write a great song.
Do you know of a place in your town where older people hang out? In small towns it was sometimes the drugstore or a gas station. Older people, retirees are full of stories and they love having an audience to tell those stories to. Find those well along in years and mine those stories for your songs.
I hope this gets you on the right track. Great songwriters keep their eyes wide open and are always looking for a great story that will make a great song. Train yourself to look everywhere. Look at things in a different way. Awaken your sense of wonder and see your world through new eyes, a songwriter’s eyes.
Joe Russ is a songwriter, singer, musician and Internet Marketer. You can read more of his articles on his blog, Songwriting Nashville Style.
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Professional Songwriting Secrets
Guerilla Music Marketing Hand Book
Hot Country Guitar
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