The best time to write a song
It’s songwriting month over at therecordingrevolution.com. If you are following Graham’s challenge, it means that you should now have a set deadline for releasing something in a couple of months. Which ultimately means that you should now be writing songs like your life depended on it.
Today, I want to give you a simple tip to help you write the best songs you can.
You need good timing when it comes to writing a good song.
I’m talking about using your moods to your advantage and leveraging your emotional states to write a certain type of song.
And what the hell do I mean with that? Let’s explore.
If you are writing an EP, you probably have made plans to write songs with different energies, different emotions. That’s a good thing because it’s what makes for a good listening experience, right?
So just as an example, let’s assume you want to write a song with a lot of energy and some epic choruses. One other melancholic song that’s really sad and finally one awesome track that makes everyone on the dance floor go bonkers.
If you’re committed to that and you want to write the best possible songs in those different styles, wouldn’t it be great if you could write them when you yourself are feeling energetic, melancholic or ready to dance your ass off?
Of course it would. Because that would mean that your own emotions at the time would translate to the music and that would take the listener to the right place.
The problem with using your emotions to write a song
Yep, there’s a problem with this train of thought. It’s difficult to expect to actually have those particular emotions at the times you’ve set out to write a song. Sure you’ll probably feel good or sad or energetic one time or other during the coming month, but moods and emotions can in fact be really unpredictable.
You can’t predict how you’re going to feel. Which messes up your entire songwriting schedule. Luckily, there’s a couple of things you can do to use your moods to your advantage for writing music. Here’s a few ways for you to harness the power of your emotions at any time of the day:
1. Learn how to recognise your moods.
This is the first step. In order for you to actually be able to effectively recognize when you should be writing a certain style of music, you need to be able to recognize your emotional states. That requires you to always be mindful of your moods. Now, I’m not saying this is easy. Hell, it’s even really difficult. But learn how and you can work out your moods at any time.
2. Take a notebook with you, always
Once you are able to effectively recognize your moods, you want to be able to take advantage of the moment. When inspiration (or emotion) strikes, you want to write down the lyrics that are pooring out of you. If you keep some sort of notepad on you at all times (app or paper, whatever), you’ll be able to seize the opportunity when it comes.
3. Use a recorder app on your phone/tablet
If you understand the need for a notepad, this one goes without saying as well. If you don’t know how to pencil down a melody or chords, you’ll need to record your idea instantly. So be prepared and get yourself a recorder app on your smartphone or tablet if you don’t already have one. No instruments on hand? Just sing it. Or whistle. Or hum… I don’t care. Do something so you can remember the melody you thought of at a later time.
4. Force yourself into different moods
This one is especially useful if your deadline is approaching and you still need to write something in a certain style. If you’re writing a sad song but nothing in the world could ruin your beautiful day, go ahead and listen to some sad music first. Think about long lost loved ones. Peel some onions. Again, I really don’t care how you do it. Don’t be afraid to get yourself in a sad place before writing a sad song. And don’t worry – once you’ve written it, you’ll feel a lot better again. You’ll have expressed some emotions that might have been there all along, deep down in your unconscious mind. So that’s a nice bonus for you right there.
On the other hand, if you’re down, but absolutely need to write happy music, here’s a couple of tips to pick yourself up again.
5. Write in the morning (or in the evening)
Figure out how your own mood evolves over the course of a day (or week perhaps) and take note of that. Now use that information to figure out the best times to write a song in a certain style.
6. Let your music be your guide
One last strategy is to simply never mind your current state of mind. Just start writing and let the emotions pour out. Let yourself go and be captivated by the mood your music dictates. You’ll come up with surprising and fresh ideas. And in any case, just starting to write will help you finish a song – it sure works for writing articles!
In summary, if you can use your moods to your advantage, it will show in your music. There’s no one that can write a really truthfully happy song if they are feeling down. I know I can’t! So identify your moodswings and use them to your advantage. It will not only be good for your music, but it will also help you feel like you’re accomplishing something if you’re in a depressed mood and writing. It’ll help you and your sound.
So tell me, what are some ways you use your moods to your advantage when you are trying to write a song? Let me know in the comments!
Thanks again for letting me help you make your music sound great. Hope to hear from you soon!
Kevin – The Soundcoach