A lot of people share their frustrations that they feel like they are just spinning their wheels with songwriting. When asked what they are doing to improve their craft, the most common answer is “Well I am writing a lot.” Let me tell you, writing a lot isn't enough. Don't get me wrong, I don’t want to diminish the importance of writing and writing as often as possible; but if that is all you’re doing, you’re not improving. You need to pair your practice with education. You need to challenge yourself. Explore your writing. Are you writing up when you co-write? Are you co-writing at all? Are you getting feedback and critiques for your writing? Are you analyzing popular music? Are you reading up on your craft? If you learn best at home, watch a YouTube video. If you learn best through practice and constructive criticism, join a songwriter circle. If you learn best in a formal environment, find a course offered through a local college or high school. My point is, if you don’t pair your practice with education, all you’re doing is perpetuating the same mistakes and bad habits over and over. This leads to a second common question, “What do you recommend?” Well as I stated before, you have to find what works best for you. For me personally, I try to learn something from everyone that crosses my path. I learn best at my own pace and from people I respect. I often scour YouTube for free advice and songwriting tips to learn at my own leisure. YouTube is currently one of the best free resources available to any knowledge-thirsty student. I also look for opportunities to participate in events with accomplished songwriters. I am currently in a songwriting course with hit songwriter, Marty Dodson (Billy Currington - “Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right” & “Let Me Down Easy”; Kenny Chesney - “Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven”). My local Nashville Songwriter Association International (NSAI) chapter has been instrumental in my learning. Since becoming an NSAI member, I have come to enjoy the NSAI forums. Global Songwriters Connection is another organization I have come to appreciate. Their Online Publisher Pitch is an amazing learning experience and the founder, Sheree Spoltore, is one of the kindest and most helpful people I have had the opportunity to meet in my songwriting journeys. SongTownUSA is the new kid on the block. They are run by veteran hit songwriters Clay Mills and Marty Dodson. This is who my current songwriting course is through. I am finding this organization to be one of the best in terms of learning from current professionals. Their classes are affordable and both Mills & Dodson make themselves readily available to up and coming songwriters. These are some of the things that work for me but this is far from an exhaustive list. I am by no means an expert in songwriting. Just another humble student trying to pass on what I have learned to others around me. This is my goal with Songwriter Solutions. If you’re looking for a place to start, make a free appointment with us via our "Contact Us" page. Most importantly, find what works for you. Push yourself. Challenge yourself. Grow.
Chris Smith is a founder of Songwriter Solutions and a singer-songwriter out of Winston-Salem, NC. He fancies himself a student of songwriting and believes we all have something to learn from one another. He's a soldier, a musician, a singer, a songwriter, a blogger, a son, a brother, a husband, and a soon to be father! He prefers the mountains over the beach, dogs over cats, and spinach over brussel sprouts. To connect with Chris, like him on FACEBOOK, follow him on TWITTER, and subscribe to him on YOUTUBE! He can be reached via our Contact Us page.