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Songwriting Tips For Home Music Producers
Songwriting Tips For Home Music Producers

When it comes to songwriting, there are many aspects to consider and techniques to master. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned producer, songwriting is an essential component of the music-making process. At Making Music 101, we have a wealth of information and resources on songwriting for home studios, including comprehensive guides and tips to help you write catchy, memorable, and unique songs.

While we recommend reading our full-length guides, here’s a few quick tips to get your started:

Compose a Catchy Melody

The melody is the backbone of any song, and it’s what makes certain songs get stuck in our heads. A catchy melody typically moves in stepwise motion with a few leaps, and it often has a focal point, such as a high note in a melodic passage that anchors the rest of the melody line. Successful melodies are what separate the hits from the misses, so it’s crucial to pay attention to this aspect of the songwriting process.

Use a Variety of Chords

Using a limited range of chords can limit the scope of your musical ideas. To create a more complex and interesting sound, try composing songs that contain all types of chords, including major, minor, dominant, diminished, and augmented. This will give you more options to work with and help you craft a unique sound.

Create a Memorable Rhythm

Many of the catchiest, most popular songs have a memorable rhythm. Whether it’s a funky or syncopated melody or backing track, the rhythm is what makes the song unforgettable. So, when songwriting, pay attention to the rhythm and get creative with it. Experiment with different beats and grooves to find what works best for you.

Build Your Song Around a Riff

Riffs are one of the best songwriting tools, and they can anchor an entire song. Whether you’re a guitarist, a pianist, a bassist, or a non-instrumentalist, you can compose riffs that will carry your track. Think about iconic riffs like Tom Morello’s on “Bombtrack” or the synth lick on Jay-Z’s “Dirt Off Your Shoulder”. These riffs are what make the songs memorable, and you can do the same for your own songs.

Write a Song You Can Play Live

Music production software has made it easier than ever to create digital symphonies in your home recording studio, but it’s also important to think about how you can perform your songs live. Record company executives want to see how musicians connect with live audiences, so your music should be just as compelling when played live as it is in recorded form. Make sure to write songs that you can perform live and connect with your audience.

Step Away from Your Instrument to Write

While it’s common to write songs while seated at an instrument, this approach can cause you to fall back on familiar tropes and leave you in a songwriting rut. To break out of this, try setting the instrument down and writing melodies and rhythms in your head. Sing your ideas into a voice recorder on your smartphone, then return to your instrument and figure out how to play them instrumentally. This approach can help jumpstart your creativity and lead to new and exciting songwriting ideas.

For in-depth Songwriting advice, we recommend reading: