You may think in this day and age anyone can do it – write and record a hit song! Granted this may largely be true, but it does take some skill and knowledge at the starting point to actually make a killer tune. Quite rightly, no single approach is likely to be the right route for you, but by exploring different methods and ideas you can formulate the best way that does work for you. Who knows what the trigger point for you will be, but here we explore some practical and creative tips to help you.
Make some noise
Don’t be afraid to start. Many prolific writers are constantly tinkering and making noise while they discover what works best. You may find many of your ideas are discarded or stored away potentially for future use, but the one mantra that seems to ring true is constantly sense check what you are doing and have a think – ‘does it feel good?’ – the chances are if it does, then it probably is.
Make preparations now for the future of your song, as if you work out the tempo at the beginning then longer term it will make your life easier when you get to the recording stage. Trust us - time spent now working out if all the parts work together, with the tempo, while also really getting to know all the parts upfront will help make the recording stage run much more smoothly.
Making a song is much more like cooking, rather than baking. With baking you measure all your ingredients, mix them together and leave it to its devices while it is cooking and hopefully have a wonderful result. Whereas with cooking, just like with music writing, you can constantly adapt and amend it as you are going through the creative process. So make that first recording, listen to it and then adapt and change it to enrich the sound you are hearing and make it feel right.
Listen to others
Maybe think about playing it to others to see what their thoughts are and get rid of any ‘noodle’ or ‘fancy’ bits which are really in reality self-indulgence rather than adding quality to the piece. If you have a five minute song, keep working on it and rather than adding to it cut it down. Make sure you don’t build the intro too much, but instead focus on keeping the momentum going with about three minutes being the optimal length.
Set a deadline
The peril of making music is that you can just keep going, constantly tinkering with a piece and never reaching the point where you think ‘that’s it!’ Have strength and conviction in what you are producing and going back to what we said earlier – ‘does it feel good?’
OK, all of this is very easy to say, but if you bear in mind these thoughts and relax through the process and avoid over engineering, then you will be well on your way to making a great song.