The important thing job of a songwriter is to create a song. Not to perform the song. Not to record the song. Not to market the song. Not to market the song. But to create the song.
Your primary skill as a songwriter is to select the proper notes and right chords to go with the proper words and right song title and write them in to a song.
You write a song for whom?
Firstly, for the end listener. The one who will actually emotionally and financially purchase the song, either through purchasing a CD or record or purchasing a live performance of the song How Much is Tekashi69 Worth.
Secondly, for the record company, who’ll turn a song in to a product (like a record or CD) that can be delivered to the end 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 offer an efficiency that the record company would want to capture and the radio station would want to play.
So you could argue for more individuals to be added to this list or for this list to be reordered. But essentially they’re the people for whom a recording songwriter writes.
So, so you know who to create for, how to become songwriter for these listeners is the main element question.
What key skills do you need to become songwriter?
As a songwriter you must learn how to write lyrics, how to create melody, how to create chords and how to create your song as a lead sheet. As a song owner and seller you must also learn 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 be considered a songwriter, you must write in these four dimensions.
You could be a solo songwriter like Billy Joel and Bob Dylan do all four things yourself. Or you could participate a partnership like Lennon-McCartney or Holland-Dozier-Holland and specialise in the lyric or music role or move between the roles, with regards to the song.
So, how to become lyric writer is among the sub questions of the big question: how to become songwriter.
The important thing skill is the capability to manage to tell a tale rather than simply throw words or rhymes together. Certainly one of your key lyric skills would be to manage to create song titles and then write your lyric around that.
There are various conventions about loading your chorus up along with your title lines and utilizing your verse and bridge to aid that line. In addition you need to learn to create your story within conventional forms.
Fortunately, you will find loads of resources both on and offline that can coach you on how to create lyrics. Naturally, to become lyric writer you will need to create habitually and exercise your skills daily.
The challenge of melody
Unfortunately there’s much less resource around that can support you in being a melody writer. Whereas there’s an audio 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 usually the twins of superstition and obscure theory in drag, neither of that actually tells the melody writer how to choose the best notes for their melody. Nor teach them how to become songwriter.
Both main melodic skills you will need would be the concepts of contour and span. Contour means melodic direction and shape and whether any given note reaches a higher, lower or same pitch as the prior one.
Jack Perricone identifies four contour shapes in his book entitled Melody in Songwriting: Tools and Processes for Writing Hit Songs (Berklee Guide).
There are in fact hundreds of contours, depending on what many notes you will find in your melodic phrase. These contours can effectively explain to you how to become songwriter. Right now there’s only one melodywriting site online that educates songwriters about these melodic goldmines.
Span can also be important to your melodies and ensures that you write for ordinary people who’ll sing and hum your melodies while they wash their car or vacuum their property or console themselves. Awareness of span means you’ll write for your fans, not for virtuoso singers who never buy or sing pop music generally, not to mention yours.
Anyone seriously wanting to know how to become songwriter won’t 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 an orange pages directory.
The more songs you write, the more you realise how secondary chords and voicings are if you are coping with the absolute core of songwriting: deciding which notes go best with which words.
Scales and chords are not useful as of this time. They are essential however after you have selected the notes and words for your song and it’s time for an arranger and a manufacturer to prepare your notes and words into voices and sounds your fans will love.
Nevertheless, selecting the most appropriate chord for your melody is an essential element of how to become songwriter.
So in being a songwriter you are being 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 alive
A key element of how to become songwriter is how to become talker, reader, writer and player of rhythm.
While we are able to think of rhythm as being a separate concept (and you will find reasons for this view) it is so embedded in lyric, melody and harmony, that you might want to know the way rhythm integrates each aspect along with how it separates from each too.
Words consist of meaning and rhythm. Melody includes pitch and rhythm. Harmony includes simultaneous sound and rhythm. Rhythm includes rhythm and timbre. There is no escaping the significance of rhythm and understanding, talking, reading, writing and playing rhythm is just a key element of how to become songwriter.
Again, like melody, the news headlines is not hot here.
Ethnomusicologists report on many cultures around the globe who’ve rich, verbal languages for counting and talking rhythm. Musicians of South India are abundant with this regard. Musicians of the west are not so blessed. Which slows our rhythm education down a bit. And hamstrings us as songwriters if we do not overcome this handicap.
Fortunately with the emergence of rhythmeggio–which is just like the solfeggio for rhythm—songwriters now have an easy to learn language that enables them to talk, read and write rhythm like their first language.
And accelerate their understanding of how to become songwriter and their ability to create a suitable amount of songs to acceptable levels a lot quicker than they otherwise would.
How to become songwriter in conclusion
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 in turn is accelerated by your capability to talk, read and write rhythm.
They’re the skills that enable you to pick the proper notes and right chords to go along with your words and song title and so earn you the proper to call yourself a songwriter.