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> Write songs—even crappy ones.
Gabriel Leopardi
post Jul 18 2017, 04:10 PM
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I've been reading some quotes by James Valentine (Maroon 5) and I feel totally related with most of them. This is one:

Write songs—even crappy ones.

My best advice to any aspiring guitarist or musician is to write songs. Then write more songs. After that, write even more songs, because from my experience as a musician and as a part of Maroon 5, I’ve realized you only get better at writing songs from writing songs—no matter the quality, because you need repetition. I have been guilty, especially when I was younger, of spending more time trying to “learn to write” rather than just writing, because that is how you learn to write! Be bold and write shitty songs, and maybe some good ones will come out every once in a while.


Another essential tip is this one:

Serve the song.

I’m sure you’ve heard or read the phrase “serve the song,” so you have to realize—no matter how difficult it is to resist the urge to add more to a song or mix—that you can’t do everything on every song. Some guitarists or musicians want to cram every single idea into every song, and it usually flops or feels crowded.
In the earlier days with Songs About Jane and It Won’t Be Soon Before Long, the guitar filled out most of the mix, so it was easier to lay stuff down and have it work. I have to be cleverer now and usually play less and figure out the little holes where I can situate my guitar. It’s hard to find the right spots, and finding that nook usually comes from a lot of experimentation. I’ve come to learn that a confident musician or guitarist can be okay with playing less—you just have to be impactful in what you do deliver. Plus, there’s still plenty of rock in the live show—our records have always been a bit more slick than onstage.


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Sensible Jones
post Jul 19 2017, 05:55 PM
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Very wise words!
In many ways it's the same as actually playing the Guitar. Practice, practice and more practice!!
biggrin.gif


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Jul 20 2017, 01:36 PM
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QUOTE (Sensible Jones @ Jul 19 2017, 01:55 PM) *
Very wise words!
In many ways it's the same as actually playing the Guitar. Practice, practice and more practice!!
biggrin.gif



It can be applied to everything! However, it's commonly omitted for creative works so this is a good reminder.


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Roadside
post Aug 9 2017, 09:33 AM
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Totally true. Reminds me of a phrase in regards to being a guitarist: You need put at least the same amount of work into learning song writing as into practicing to learn playing.

Somehow definition of a musician should be to come up with original stuff and not just copying ;-)
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yoncopin
post Aug 9 2017, 02:41 PM
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I was going to start a new thread about how to write songs the other day, this seems like a relevant place to ask instead. I've been practicing now for quite a while and know I have sufficient tools to write my own songs (technique, software, etc...) yet I have nothing to show for it. I know the process I should follow, but just... don't. I don't know what the reason is, lacking creativity? inspiration? I don't really hear any music in my head that needs to come out like other people describe. I also know I should counter that by picking a style, laying down a chord progression and building something, anything, that is how to get better and find that inner voice but again just... don't. I'm not sure what is lacking in my ability to create music that I can muster in other creative endeavors.


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Aug 9 2017, 05:04 PM
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QUOTE (Roadside @ Aug 9 2017, 05:33 AM) *
Totally true. Reminds me of a phrase in regards to being a guitarist: You need put at least the same amount of work into learning song writing as into practicing to learn playing.

Somehow definition of a musician should be to come up with original stuff and not just copying ;-)



I agree. However, it can be difficult to focus on both worlds at the same time. In my own case, I've focused my early years to technique (10 years), and the second 10 years mostly to composition. It worked for me to have a good balance between playing and composing skills. I'm not on the third decade and trying to be balanced to evolve on both things.

I don't mean that we need to dedicate just to 1 thing at a time, but I believe that focusing a bit more on one topic but also keeping the other/s in you routine is what worked for me.

QUOTE (yoncopin @ Aug 9 2017, 10:41 AM) *
I was going to start a new thread about how to write songs the other day, this seems like a relevant place to ask instead. I've been practicing now for quite a while and know I have sufficient tools to write my own songs (technique, software, etc...) yet I have nothing to show for it. I know the process I should follow, but just... don't. I don't know what the reason is, lacking creativity? inspiration? I don't really hear any music in my head that needs to come out like other people describe. I also know I should counter that by picking a style, laying down a chord progression and building something, anything, that is how to get better and find that inner voice but again just... don't. I'm not sure what is lacking in my ability to create music that I can muster in other creative endeavors.



I think that it's important to note which are the reasons why we are blocked to compose. The key is as simple as this: Compose, no matter what, compose. Don't think too much, compose.

Most of the times, the block is related to:

"This is not a good idea"

"This riff is generic"

"This is not my style"

"This is not good enough"

"This riff is so similar to one by "X" band"

no one of the previous phrases should stop you from continuing developing the idea. The great things may appear around "THAT" bad idea, generic "RIFF", stolen melody. Then, if the things aroung that uncool stuff are great, you can replace the problematic part, while in many cases, the problematic part isn't bad anymore.

And if the final work doesn't contain any cool part, BINGO, you are practicing to compose, which is essential to become a great composer.


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SirJamsalot
post Aug 13 2017, 11:02 PM
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Gabriel, have you heard of jonathan Coulton? He's kind of a video gamer's cult icon for the music he wrote back in the mid 2000's. if you wiki his name, you'll see the following entry I pasted below. As a challenge to himself, he wrote 1 song a day for a year (or so the story goes) to see if he could do it. Talk about determination!


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Coulton

Thing a Week[edit]
From September 16, 2005, to September 30, 2006, Coulton ran "Thing a Week", during which he recorded 52 musical pieces in an effort to push his creative envelope via a "forced-march approach to writing and recording"; to prove to himself that he could produce creative output to a deadline; and to see whether a professional artist could use the Internet and Creative Commons to support himself. Coulton was quoted in a September 2006 interview as stating that as a result of the experiment, "in some parts of the country, I'd be making a decent living".[9] In a February 25, 2008, interview with This Week in Tech, he stated that he made more money in 2007 than he did in his last year of working as a programmer, 40% of it from digital downloads and 40% from merchandise and performances.[10]


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Todd Simpson
post Aug 14 2017, 04:44 PM
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Gabe has a GREAT point here. WRITE ANYTHING with a start, middle and end. Just a complete song. That's probably one of the hardest things for most folks, including me. I tend to focus so much on the guitar solo that it's a stretch to work on the rest of it. But challenging yourself is important. You gotta write tons of crap songs to get them out of the way before you can write any good ones. Same with guitar playing, you gotta play a LOT of bad guitar before you can get to the good stuff.

So don't censor yourself. Let yourself write songs even if you think they are crap. Just continue the process. It's the only way to get better at it smile.gif Ben Higgins is great example of writing guitar music that's actually music. I bet his first few songs were not great, but now he puts out two albums a year and they are all great. I"ve got them all.



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