Do you want to be a musician? You probably dream of writing great songs and performing them for a crowd of fans. Playing and making music is a goal for many people, which is why there are over 16,000 musicians in the US!
But before you can be a successful musician, you have to start at square one: making music. Writing your own songs is a very magical thing, but excellent songwriting skills often don’t come naturally.
You’re probably wondering, “how do I start making music”? If this is the case, there are a few things you can do to get in that creative mindset and improve your instrument. Here’s our guide to learning music and writing songs.
Learn Your Instrument
The first place to start is your instrument. But writing a great song doesn’t simply entail playing a few keys or strumming some strings. You can’t write a great song if you don’t understand every aspect of the instrument you’re playing. That’s why you should understand the various chords, keys, and scales that make up a melody.
What’s the best way to learn the chords and scales? Take some music lessons if you haven’t yet. The best music schools offer lessons for a variety of different instruments at all levels. More music schools are also offering the option to take classes online and in person.
In addition to learning music, your instructor will teach you best practices when playing your instruments. For guitar, this usually includes proper hand and finger positioning. For voice, this includes breathing from the diaphragm. All of these best practices ensure you play your instrument safely.
Overall, when you play your instrument well, you will write better songs.
Patience Is Key
Even after you can grasp the fundamentals of your instrument, there’s no guarantee you’ll write a genius song.
This is why you should always exercise patience when approaching songwriting. No musician, even the greatest, has ever learned their instrument overnight or wrote a genius song in a short amount of time. It takes years alone to learn an instrument, let alone write a song. Some musicians spend nearly their whole lives playing music and still don’t have strong songwriting skills.
Making music comes with trials and errors. Look at the songwriting process as a neverending journey, not a path with an end goal. Throughout your time playing, you’ll continue learning new techniques that will take your playing to new levels and you’ll gain knowledge that you will use in the songwriting process.
Play Your Favorite Songs
Most instructors will encourage you to play your favorite songs before writing your own material. Playing your favorite songs is more than just fun, it’s an incredible learning tool.
You’ll improve at your instrument and you’ll start learning the basics of song structure. In addition, you’ll also observe the various songwriting techniques that your favorite composers use and you can apply those same techniques to your music.
Use Composition Equipment
If you want to know how to get better at making music, listening to yourself play and keeping a library of your written parts is key. There are various tools and platforms that musicians can use to improve their playing and composition skills.
For example, there are various composition platforms that make writing songs significantly easier. With these tools, you can write notation directly on the software and can even playback your creation. Or, you can record yourself playing on recording equipment to keep a library of various parts you write.
There are many options available to you and it can get overwhelming. You’ll also have to learn how to use this equipment, which is difficult in itself.
Fortunately, most music schools understand the demand in learning how to use this gear, so it’s common to find audio recording lessons. Your instructor will explain this whole world to you and will help you navigate through the best equipment options.
Sure, hearing honest input about your songs is scary for anyone. But constructive criticism is integral to evolving as a songwriter. However, always reach out to those you trust. Show them your song and ask for their honest feedback. Reach out to people who you know are excellent composers, such as your instructor and other musicians who have more experience than you.
What if you’re ready to upload your songs online? Understand that listeners will give their honest feedback, usually in the comments section. If you gain the attention of a music reviewer, they may give you an honest review.
While it’s tempting to read all of these comments, both positive and negative, understand that opinions are subjective. Try to not take their criticisms personally and make that deter you from writing more songs.
We all have dreams. You want to see your music hitting the top charts. You’re dreaming of gaining a fanbase and performing your songs for the masses. While these are great dreams that will influence you to work harder, they add on a lot of pressure to write an incredible song.
Instead, have fun. While writing a legendary song isn’t easy, the process is lots of fun for many people. Whether you prefer writing alone or as a band, watching a song blossom to life is encouraging enough for most musicians.
In addition, try to not get frustrated if you’re suffering from writer’s block. Writer’s block is completely normal and most musicians endure it at some point. If you’re in this place, play some exercises your instructor taught you or just jam on your instrument.
How Do I Start Making Music? Lessons Come First
Are you still asking yourself, “how do I start making music”? Music lessons may be a good start. If you’re based in Hagerstown, Maryland, Sloan School of Music is a great place to start. We offer both private and group lessons that are available both in-person and online. We teach a variety of instruments, from guitar and bass to audio production.
Contact Sloan School of Music today to get started!