How Do You Become The SONGWRITER In Your Band?

How Do You Become The SONGWRITER In Your Band?

Tommaso Zillio

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songwriting in a band

Have you ever looked at the credits of a song, and seen only one person listed as a songwriter?

If a song was written by a band with four or five members, why is there so often only one name listed as a songwriter?

Does that person write everything and instruct the band on how to play their own parts?

... No. At least not typically. In a normal band dynamic, everybody writes their own parts. But what is inspiring those parts?

When drummers write their part for a song, they aren’t starting from nothing. There needs to be something for them to listen to first to know what they should play.

That thing that they will listen to is the responsibility of the songwriter.

The songwriter brings in a sort of ‘sketch’ of a song; often just guitar or piano and a melody. Then, the rest of the musicians listen to that sketch, or the rough outline of the song, and start adding their parts to it.

So, if you want to learn how to be the songwriter of your band (or you just want to write better songs in general), you need to be able to come up with ‘sketches’ of songs; rough outlines that allow other musicians to understand the vision of the song, so they can add their spin to it.

How do you get better at that, you might ask?

(Or even, how do you get started?)

Check out the video below, and I’ll show you exactly how you can start improving at writing songs for a band setting.

P.S. I'm not a legal expert, I'm just showing you how to write songs and not how to assign royalties. For that, you will need a lawyer.

If you want to write better songs, it would help to have an extensive knowledge of chords and harmony. If you want to expand your knowledge of chords on the guitar, check out my Complete Chord Mastery guitar course.

Video Transcription

Hello Internet, so nice to see you! This is a video of the series band problems where we use music theory to solve the problems you may have in your band. And today you're going to solve this problem, let's see that you are or want to be the songwriter of your band, or you want to be one of the songwriters of your band, meaning that you want to be able to write songs, and take the songs to your band so that they can play it.

The problem is that, first of all, how do you communicate the song to the band? How do you go to them? What do you tell them so that they perform the song you've wrote? And indeed, what does it even mean? To write a song? How do you know, you've actually wrote a song? Do you go with your band with just one riff?

Now, that's not a song, that's just an idea. You want to go with a full song so that they can play the song that that you wrote the song, and they are playing it? If you just go there with an idea, then you're gonna write the song together, which is great. But let's say it's not what you want to do. Okay, so how do you communicate the song to the band?

And how do you even know that you've wrote that song? As songwriter who's also who's also a student of mine asked me exactly that. And this is my answer to him.

So as a singer and a songwriter, I would like to take a different approach about writing songs with my band, I've learned that I have four really talented people in my band. And I would like to write more basic structures of songs, and more of them so that I don't need to complete a whole song, but just write the basic structure and bring that to them.

And my question is, what would that basic structure had to have, for all of them, like guitar player, bass player, to just pick up and go from there?

Great. You're going to need I mean, for it to be called a song or you're going to need a melody and the chord progression, possibly some rhythm, okay? Because everyone have an idea of what kind of rhythms they want to put in, we can always change them afterward, but the melody must be defined.

Okay, if you have lyrics even better, by the way, I'm talking by experience, having lyrics is better, nothing is nothing worse than somebody rewriting the lyrics while we're writing the song. At least for me. And the lyrics, possibly down the melody, the chords, you need to have more or less a song structure meaning verse, chorus, verse, chorus, possibly a bridge, chorus, chorus.

Okay, that whole structure is, is that whole structure really needed?

You can go to them with just a verse, but it's not a song. Okay, if you want to go with free, don't go to them and say, This is a song, there must be a verse, a chorus and the bridge, which is if you think about it, it's not much you need to write three sections, and just put them in the right order verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, chorus, okay?

Optionally, you're gonna have an intro and outro, part of a solo, whatever, that's up to you if you want to do it. But the important point, if you have a strong melody and a good chord progression, the chorus is typically more lyrical. Okay, so long, no answers, lots of lots of lots of emotion, typically higher in pitch, typically not always, okay? And that's actually the important part.

Okay, that must be absolutely good. Okay, it has to be something that even when people listen to it, they want to sing it back or sing it again, or it just becomes an ear worm. So if you have to spend time on something, spend time on the melody of the chorus. Verse doesn't need to be that good. If it's good, better. Nobody says anything. Okay? But a song with a strong a very strong chorus.

And then okay, verse is still a very good song. So, I will put all my resources in the chorus. Okay, okay. On the other hand, the verse has more freedom because it does, it doesn't have to become an ear worm, okay. It doesn't have to be that memorable or as memorable as the chorus so you can take more creative freedom in that. Okay. The bridge has only one requirement and that is and he said, it's different than the verse and the chorus. That's the only thing we want.

Okay, what about if I would just want to make a song like an experiment song, just encourage a bass player to grab it? If if is there, would you approach it differently? If you would want your bass player to just like okay, I feel that I'm going to do on that.

Depends on your bass player. Okay, some bass player really like to have long stretches of the same chord, okay. But other bass player hate that. Okay, so you really need to talk with your bass player. and try to understand what he likes from a technical point of view, like, does he prefer that the verse is like four bars or eight bars of eight.

So that he can do like. And you can do all this kind of stuff in the background, some people like this some of this bike, on the other hand, we like, no, that's boring, okay? They prefer to have an actual chord progression going make sense? Okay, so, these kind of things that yes, if to ask a bass player, what do you like?

What do you prefer? Okay. You You're not writing in abstract, you're writing for specific people, either your audience or your band. Okay. So you need to know what they specifically like. Which is done partly by asking them questions. And partly by listening to what they're doing, because they typically compose stuff they like themselves.

So you want to see what's happening there. Still, your job is to create a good melody. Okay, so even if the chord progression is not perfect, they can always adjust it later. You need to have something good. On the melodic side, it's your part, you're the singer. Okay. In creating good melody will be your task in the economy of the band.

Now, just the past hour, Deanna and dawn with the with the How to Write a melodic arc. That's exactly how you work. Yeah, that's what you have to do. You just need to add a few chords in the background, that sounds good to you. And then you can present the song to the band. Certainly, it doesn't take 20 years of study to do that. Okay. Last advice I'm giving you is the hardest advice. But it's a good good advice.

I know, it's good advice included. Not all the song you're gonna write are gonna be great. And the first songs you write are not going to be up to your standards. Okay, that's normal. So you sit down and write a number of bad songs immediately. Okay, like I say, write the first 100 bad song as soon as you can, okay?

Because you have to try and fail and make something imperfect. And just to gain experience. It doesn't happen that you just say, I want to write a song, and something perfect comes out. Okay? So have patience with yourself and only the first song you write. You may like some of them, but you're gonna hate a few of them. That's great. It's just experience that you're making. Okay?

So write them, throw them away later, no problem, but just write them and actually try to finish them and make a get get into the verse chorus bridge structure to see if they works because the only way to learn how to do it and properly is to get some experience doing it. Okay. Good. Let's see it. Okay. Thank you. Thank you.

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