Finding Your Song – Rob Carona
To all you aspiring songwriters out there – I want to take this time to encourage you in your creative pursuits and give you helpful tips designed to set you up for success, each and every time you sit down to write. It is so important to be aware that your creativity is as much a discipline as it is an inspiration. God has fashioned you with a powerful gift and the ability to co-create with Him. The material you are going to produce is already a part of your DNA and your testimony. All too often we wait for the lightning to strike before we will engage in the creative process. Instead we should be equipping ourselves with tools and strategies to unlock that treasure chest within – whenever we want.
Good songwriting is hard work. I’ve been at it for 17 years, worked with some of the most prolific and professional writers in the market, and I am still learning every day. The inspiration you receive gets you started, but it is like a lump of metal that needs to be put through the fire and hammered out before it is forged into that beautiful masterpiece. Don’t settle for less than the best when it comes to your songs…that goes for lyrics, melody, and accompaniment.
- Enjoy The Journey: You are going to write great songs, and you are going to write bad songs. It is a fact of life. Start fresh with every attempt and just have fun! Don’t allow the pressure of self-validation into your craft. If you find yourself getting frustrated or discouraged every time you start to write, then it’s time to check your heart… Ask yourself why you are writing in the first place.
- Do Not Compare Yourself To Others: The biggest obstacle to your creativity will come as a result of comparing yourself to others. DO NOT DO IT! Most of the time we are comparing someone else’s highlight reel to our own blooper reel anyway. You are not Tim Hughes, Paul Baloche, Matt Redman, or Chris Tomlin… and praise God that you aren’t! Your sound is unique and has a powerful purpose! Dive into it, explore it and enjoy it the way that God does.
- Creating and Critiquing: These are two separate processes, and should never be combined. All of your creative thoughts for the project at hand should come out first, no matter how silly or weird they may be. Then, put them through the critique process to find out which ones are the strongest and most relevant. If you critique while you create, you will miss out on a lot of great material that may just be meant for another song.
- Collaboration: Great songwriters work together! Don’t limit the potential of your song by relying on your ability alone. Engage with other writers who may be better lyricists or musicians. Collaboration is also a great way to get a fresh take on which melodies go with a chord progression other than the same ones that keep coming to your mind. It will take time to find the people that you mesh well with, but it’s worth it.
Quick Question Guide:
The following questions are important considerations when beginning the writing process. As the old adage goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. Put your song’s target in the crosshairs – don’t just shotgun blast words and melodies, hoping it will stick. Be intentional about harnessing the purpose of your inspiration.
- What theme or point am I trying to communicate? The whole song should stay on topic.
- What is the HOOK? The main course of the song should be memorable and easy to sing.
- What is the message my topic should bring? Am I accurately relaying a truth?
- Who is the audience? Am I speaking their language?
- What is the tempo of my song? Does it match the words and emotions?
- Is my song an innovation or an imitation?
As you can see, this article is just scratching the surface when it comes to development of your craft. These questions could be discussed in whole articles and lesson themselves, so be sure to check out the links below as we tackle these more in depth. If your worship team, or church body as a whole would like to dig a deeper well in learning professional song craft and the importance of creating with your unique sound, Songsmith Creative is here to help. In partnership with the Sounds of the Nations organization, we have helped train thousands of worship leaders and teams to effectively communicate powerful themes of worship through original songs. We would love to host a workshop at your church and help you grow!
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