In time, I’ve realized that there are several landmark growth moments in anything that you attempt to master. That goes for anything and anyone. As it pertains to creating as a young aspiring bassist and songwriter, my very first days of songwriting/recording were as a teenager in my room with a bass, amp, and two portable tape recorders. I would come up with a groove and lay it down. Then I’d play it back and add some one liners, or a chord or two by playing recorder #1 through the amp as I’m playing the added lines or chords and taping that with tape recorder #2. Then I’d play it back, proudly. It was very rewarding to listen to music that I’d created and felt good about. I didn’t get to the next level of my songwriting until I played it for a musician who asked, “Where’s the melody?” From that point on, I was cognizant of having a melody in every tune that I wrote. And the landmarks kept coming.
I’ve learned so much, yet so many things have changed since those days, but one thing is consistent: The rewarding feeling that overwhelms me when I’ve completed a composition I’m pleased with.
When it comes to writing songs, I believe everyone has something to create. I truly believe that the more you create, the better you get at composing. I also believe that there is a songwriter in every musician. Of course some are more gifted than others and it takes some longer to tap into the process, but the potential is there. I personally recognize growth in my creativeness with each song I write. I try not to stick to any particular patterns, but still follow some guidelines at the same time. As with playing or performing, there is always room to grow and learn.
All this is to say that, I’ve run into many students and professional musicians alike that are intimidated by songwriting. It’s something you simply, yet boldly, dive into and explore. I have to encourage this when I think of all the great songwriters that would never be, had they given in to intimidation.
If you ever get discouraged, or frustrated, think of all your favorite songwriters and recognize that their very first composition couldn’t hold a candle to anything they’ve created after countless numbers of tunes.
Lastly, if you run out of ideas, set it aside and come back to your work later. You’ll be surprised at how the tune you were about to can, turns out to be one of your favorite works.