The key job of a songwriter is to publish a song. Not to do the song. Never to record the song. Not to promote the song. Not to sell the song. But to publish the song.
Much of your skill as a songwriter is to select the proper notes and right chords to opt for the proper words and right song title and write them in to a song.
You write a tune for whom?
Firstly, for the finish listener. The one who will in truth emotionally and financially buy the song, either through buying a CD or record or buying a live performance of the song How Much is Tekashi69 Worth.
Secondly, for the record company, who will turn a tune in to a product (like accurate documentation or CD) which can be brought to the finish user through radio or retail stores.
Thirdly, for radio programmers, who decide what their listeners will listen to.
Fourthly, for the performer of the song who has to provide an efficiency that the record company may wish to capture and radio stations station may wish to play.
Now you could argue for more visitors to be added to the list or for this list to be reordered. But essentially they’re the people for whom a saving songwriter writes.
So, so you know who to publish for, how to become songwriter for these listeners is the important thing question.
What key skills do you really need to become songwriter?
As a songwriter you should understand how to write lyrics, how to publish melody, how to publish chords and how to publish your song as a lead sheet. As a tune owner and seller you should also understand how to find the song to demo and just how to record a compelling demo.
Put another way, as a songwriter, you are a lyric writer, a melody writer, a note writer and a lead sheet writer. That is, to certainly be a songwriter, you should write in these four dimensions.
You might be a solo songwriter like Billy Joel and Bob Dylan do all four things yourself. Or you might engage in a partnership like Lennon-McCartney or Holland-Dozier-Holland and specialise in either a lyric or music role or move between the roles, depending on the song.
So, how to become lyric writer is one of the sub questions of the big question: how to become songwriter.
The key skill is the ability to manage to tell a story rather than throw words or rhymes together. Certainly one of your key lyric skills is to manage to create song titles and then write your lyric around that.
There are many conventions about loading your chorus up with your title lines and utilizing your verse and bridge to aid that line. Additionally you should try to learn to publish your story within conventional forms.
Fortunately, you can find plenty of resources both on and offline that could teach you how to publish lyrics. Naturally, to become lyric writer you will need to publish habitually and exercise your skills daily.
The task of melody
Unfortunately there’s less resource around that could support you in learning to be a melody writer. Whereas there’s a sound lyric writing literature offered to songwriters, no comparable literature exists for melody writing skills.
A lot of what passes for melody writing advice lives is often the twins of superstition and obscure theory in drag, neither of that actually tells the melody writer how to find the best notes because of their melody. Nor guide them how to become songwriter.
The two main melodic skills you will need are the concepts of contour and span. Contour means melodic direction and shape and whether any given note are at an increased, lower or same pitch as the last one.
Jack Perricone identifies four contour shapes in his book entitled Melody in Songwriting: Tools and Techniques for Writing Hit Songs (Berklee Guide).
There are in fact countless contours, depending on how many notes you can find in your melodic phrase. These contours can effectively explain to you how to become songwriter. At the moment there’s just one melodywriting site online that educates songwriters about these melodic goldmines.
Span can be important to your melodies and ensures that you write for ordinary people who will sing and hum your melodies while they wash their car or vacuum their residence or console themselves. Focus on span means you’ll write for the fans, not for virtuoso singers who never buy or sing pop music generally, let alone yours.
Anyone seriously wanting to know how to become songwriter will not neglect melodic span.
Chords and harmony
Fortunately one area where songwriters are relatively well served is in the chord writing area. There is no shortage of stuff that teaches you scales, chords and chord progressions. Compared to learning lyric writing and melody writing, learning scales and chords is straight ahead, like learning a yellow pages directory.
The more songs you write, the more you realise how secondary chords and voicings are when you’re dealing with the absolute core of songwriting: deciding which notes go best with which words.
Scales and chords aren’t useful only at that time. They’re essential however when you have selected the notes and words for the song and it’s time for an arranger and a producer to prepare your notes and words into voices and sounds that your fans will love.
Nevertheless, selecting the most appropriate chord for the melody is an essential part of how to become songwriter.
So in learning to be a songwriter you are learning to be a lyric writer, a melody writer and a note writer. But as important as these skills are, the most important skill has not been mentioned yet.
Rhythm to song is much like oxygen to life
A vital part of how to become songwriter is how to become talker, reader, writer and player of rhythm.
While we could think of rhythm like a separate concept (and you can find good reasons with this view) it’s so embedded in lyric, melody and harmony, that you need to know how rhythm integrates each aspect in addition to how it separates from each too.
Words contain meaning and rhythm. Melody includes pitch and rhythm. Harmony includes simultaneous sound and rhythm. Rhythm includes rhythm and timbre. There is no escaping the importance of rhythm and understanding, talking, reading, writing and playing rhythm is just a key part of how to become songwriter.
Again, like melody, the news is not so hot here.
Ethnomusicologists report on many cultures all over the world who’ve rich, verbal languages for counting and talking rhythm. Musicians of South India are full of this regard. Musicians of the west aren’t so blessed. Which slows our rhythm education down a bit. And hamstrings us as songwriters if we don’t overcome this handicap.
Fortunately with the emergence of rhythmeggio–which is such as the solfeggio for rhythm—songwriters will have a simple to master language that enables them to talk, read and write rhythm like their first language.
And accelerate their knowledge of how to become songwriter and their ability to publish an acceptable amount of songs to acceptable levels a lot quicker than they otherwise would.
How to become songwriter to sum up
And so the keys aspects of successfully knowing how to become songwriters lie in becoming proficient at writing lyric, at writing melody, at writing chords which is accelerated by your ability to talk, read and write rhythm.
These are the skills that enable you to pick the proper notes and right chords to go with your words and song title and so earn you the proper to call yourself a songwriter.