How to Become a Songwriter
10 steps to becoming a songwriter
If you are looking to become a songwriter then you have come to the right place. This is the section where you'll learn everything you need to know about how to become a songwriter.
As a beginner songwriter, a career in songwriting can seem like a career that's out of your reach, you don't even know where to start. Well that's why I have broken it down into 10 easy steps to make your journey as easy as possible. These beginner songwriting tips really will get you on the road to success.
1. Develop Your Songwriting Skill - Become a Songwriter
- Learn The Basics Of Music Theory
Most people think "music theory, how boring!" but it really isn't all that bad. You don't have to get a grade 8 certificate in music theory but you should try and learn the the basics like how to write music using song keys, how to use the circle of fifths and harmony in music.
- Learn An Instrument
As a songwriter you don't have to be able to play an instrument, many songwriters just write lyrics and then collaborate with other musicians to write the music. But think about how much better you could be as a songwriter if you played an instrument, maybe even a couple of instruments! One of the most popular instruments for a songwriter to use is the piano. If you've never played before but would like to give it a shot why not take some beginner piano lessons.
- Develop Your Lyric Writing Skills
Learning how to write song lyrics that really strike a chord with peoples feelings and emotions is what will separate you from the amateur songwriters.
2. Learn About The Music Business - Become Songwriter
The music business can be a cut throat world. In order to avoid some common mistakes you should learn the ins and outs of the music business.
Learn all about music copyright law and what is and isn't protected under it.
- How A Songwriter Gets Paid
Do you know how a songwriter gets paid? Well if you don't don't you think it's about time you learnt about how music royalties work!
- The Importance Of A Good Music Lawyer
Before making any major business decisions regarding your music you should always consult a well respected music lawyer for some expert guidance and advice.
3. Learn The Basics Of Recording - Become Songwriter
Although it's not essential for you to become a master at recording (you can always just go to a professional studio), I would highly recommend testing your teeth at recording.
The best way to do this is to set up your own home studio, it has so many benefits that it's an opportunity not to miss. It's cheaper, no time constraints like in a professional recording studio and adds another string to your bow.
Check out my article on how to build a home recording studio for a list of everything you'll need to get up and running.
4. Join A Songwriters Organization - Become Songwriter
A songwriting organization offers support and guidance in the form of song critiques, lyric critiques, contacts and encouragement. Exactly what the beginner songwriter needs when starting up! There are two types of organizations; small, local groups and bigger, national groups.
For a complete list of organizations check out this songwriting organizations list.
5. Pick Your 3 Best Songs And Record A Demo - Become Songwriter
Once you start writing some decent songs my advice would be to get them reviewed by your songwriting organization before you go any further. With the feedback you receive you will be able to fine tune your songs and get them ready for recording.
After doing that you will be confident that your songs have potential and you will avoid wasting your time and money recording songs that will go nowhere. You should try and pick songs that sound as current as possible as this is what publishers, producers, record labels etc. are looking for. To record them you can either do it yourself on a home recording studio setup or pay the money and seek out a professional studio.
6. Choose What To Do With Your Songs
Do you want to use the songs for your own band/self or would you rather have another artist use them, this is an important decision you will need to make.
If you are writing for other recording artists then you will need to be confident at writing songs in different styles/genres etc. You will also be writing compositions for film and TV. On the other hand If you are a singer/songwriter or member of a band then you will be writing purely for yourself which gives you much more creative freedom.
7. Pick The Right Companies To Send Your Songs
So you've picked your 3 best songs and have recorded a demo. Your next step is to find out what recording companies, record labels, publishing houses, band managers and music producers are looking for. Whatever you do don't just start sending out demos willy nilly. You need to find out exactly what types of companies will accept your material. There's no point in sending a rock song you've written to a publisher that deals mainly with folk artists.
One of the most comprehensive lists of; companies, what they want, and they're submission rules can be found in 2011 Songwriter's Market.
8. Find Out How To Submit - Become Songwriter
Upon deciding which companies you'll send your demo to make sure and check what the company's submission rules are. If you don't abide by their submission rules then your songs just won't be accepted and they'll end up in the rubbish bin.
As I said in the previous step the 2011 Songwriter's Market book contains all this information for you.
9. Send Your Submission - Become Songwriter
Create a neat little press kit and get posting! This can be a distressing process if you don't receive any positive feedback. But you have to keep on trying, just because you didn't succeed this time doesn't mean you are a bad songwriter. The songs you wrote just might not of have been what people were looking for at this moment in time. Dust yourself off and try again!
10. Decide Whether To Sign With A Company
If you are lucky enough to receive a bit of interest for your songs then you will be offered a contract of some type. You have to remember before signing anything it's vitally important to have a music lawyer look over the contract so that you know exactly what you're committing to.
Follow these beginner songwriting tips and never give up on yourself, you will face rejection along the way, there's no doubt about it but keep on pushing your songs. You will find success and you will move up the ranks from being a beginner songwriting to becoming a professional songwriter.
For some more beginner songwriting tips why not check out:
And even more beginner songwriting tips: