Songwriting 101: Tools to Get Started

January 25, 2020


Welcome to my official songwriting 101 course where you will learn all the tools and merits you need to become a future hitmaker. Notice how I did not simply say become a songwriter because this is not ordinary information I am providing. I am not going to tell you the exact same thing every other songwriting article does. I am gonna break everything I know down into parts (Only parts 1 and 2 are available for free preview). I am going to guide you to the place you want to be one day, but only if you are dedicated and focused. If you are neither of those things, this course is not for you.

What do You Need to Become a Songwriter

1. Motivation and Work Ethic

You need to be willing to put in the hard work. Study and listen to all the greats of numerous genres. Study the rhythms, sounds, background vocals, voices, harmonies and most importantly the lyrics. You need to be able to do this daily to the point where studying music is your second nature. By having the motivation and work ethic, everything else becomes slightly easier.

2. Journal

I know it seems stereotypical that a songwriter carry around a journal, but it is so much more than that. Yes, you can type your ideas on your laptop or phone's notes app when inspiration comes, but nothing compares to having your own personal little book filled with your individual ideas, doodles and thoughts. I also keep a section in my songbooks reserved for journalling and recapping the stories behind particular songs or current position in my journey.

3. Voice Recording App

You can write down your ideas but having an audio recording app is extremely helpful to remember those ideas exactly as you hear them in your head. Trust me, using that last bit of storage on your phone for this app is worth it. And don't ever delete it! Delete your photos, messages and games before you even consider deleting this app if you run out of storage. Don't delete it!

4. Influences

You can't start out as a songwriter having no one to look up to. As an aspiring songwriter, you need to have at least one major songwriter and artist you look up to and one songwriter and artist you look forward to working with one day. This way you will have both a goal and inspiration.

5. Basic Recording Software

This is not a necessary requirement for starting out, but if you want to understand the recording process and create demos of your songs that shape your entire vision (harmonies, background vocals, echos, vocal change, etc.), you want to invest in some basic studio gear. If you have an Apple device, simply use Garage band and invest in a basic studio mic, headphones and audio interface. I use and therefore recommend Focusrite Generation 2 or later, but any studio gear should work.