Hybrid Studios' Ten Simple Songwriting Strategies

Orange County studio shares its best songwriting strategies for every musician

Songwriting Tips

​​​​Ask ten musicians to describe songwriting and chances are there will be ten different answers. Songwriting can be fulfilling, frustrating, expressive, oppressive, artistic, scientific, or any of a million more juxtapositions. Songs come about in many ways. Some take years. Some take minutes. Some are hard to write and others flow forth with ease.

One thing is certain, all songwriters have ups and downs and need strategies from time to time to start writing, or to finish songs as a recording date approaches. Here are some songwriting strategies that may be useful in either scenario:

Make time to write and set attainable goals. It could be a certain amount of time each day, or certain amounts of songs per week. Make sure to hit goals, even if the quality of the writing isn’t amazing. Not everything written may be useful, but there may be some hidden gems in those writing sessions.

Speed-write. Some of the best songs in history were written in a very short period of time. Even if time is limited, try to get as much down as possible. For example, set a timer for five minutes and attempt to come up with a simple melody and chord progression in those five minutes. Take a five-minute break then repeat the process. Within an hour there'll be six new melodies and chord progressions to develop.

Limited improvisation. Write melodies using a few specific notes over a simple chord progression and improvise rhythms with just a snare drum or hands. When limited to the basics, look for new ways to use the few resources at hand and come up with new things.

Change the key or tempo. Sometimes simply changing to a higher/lower key or faster/slower tempo can give a song a completely new feel. Even try to change a song written in major to minor or vice versa.

Write on a different instrument. Sometimes we get in a rut on our primary instrument and changing it up can give a fresh perspective. For example, if you’re a guitar player, try to hammer out some chord progressions or melodies on a piano. Because the piano is laid out differently, the mind will approach it in a different way.

Got a synth? Use odd sounds. Synthesizers provide more sounds than anyone would ever need. Experiment with some of the less conventional sounds to find inspiration.

Modulate. Get a Circle of 5ths diagram and work chord progressions through a key change or two. Sometimes this can provide a lift to a song that is stagnating. See if it's possible to work back to the original key. It may even help to develop new chord progressions or even a new song.

Listen to new music. Listening to a wide variety of music, especially outside of a common genre, this will widen perspectives. Make notes of what is discovered to be interesting about the music. Then find ways to incorporate these elements. It may not always work, but it is another tool to bring to the writing table.

Change your space. If new inspiration is needed, try to rearrange the writing/recording space, or better yet, take a portable rig and get outside. Writing on the road can be great for inspiration. Take advantage of vacations or other trips to get out and write.

Let it sit. Don’t beat a song to death. Whether it's good or bad, a work in progress, or a finished hit, let it sit a few days and then come back to it with fresh ears. There may be a feeling of wanting to start again from scratch, or maybe the song is better than originally thought and just needs a finishing touch.

About Hybrid Studios

Hybrid Studios is a fully integrated multimedia production facility in Orange County, CA. Not only does Hybrid feature a state-of-the-art analog & digital recording studio; it also boasts a massive sound stage, including a pre-lit cyclorama. Equipped with the best gear and an experienced staff, Hybrid provides a variety of products and services to clients across the creative spectrum from recording, mixing and mastering to video and photography. 

For more information on Hybrid Studios, please visit https://www.hybridstudiosca.com.

Source: Hybrid Studios

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