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Why mastering your instrument improves your songwriting

Songwriting is a pretty amazing thing to be able to do; creating a song that otherwise wouldn’t have been in existence is a really fulfilling way to use your musicianship. 


At Bristol House of Music we believe that improving your ability on your instrument can really affect your songwriting in an incredible way...


1. Vocalists can play along to their songs.

There are lots of great singers out there who are capable of creating brilliant song ideas, as they spend all their time thinking about melodies and lyrics. However for singers who can’t play an instrument, or only know a few chords, it can be really frustrating. Improving your skillset will give you the independence you need to become a master songwriter.


2. Create more interesting parts

The further you advance with your instrument, the more ability you will have when it comes to writing with it.  Even the simplest of exercises can broaden your playing horizons and inspire you to write more interesting rhythms, melodies, chord structures and more. 


3. Understand what chords go together 

Music theory is here to help guide us on our way. It may seem daunting learning music theory but once you start relating it to your instrument and using it for songwriting it will be way more fun. Understanding what chords go together will help you find that missing chorus or middle 8 you have been searching for.


4. Use different chord inversions. 

Are you playing the same chords all the time? Do you tend to stick to open chords on guitar or C major and all the white notes on the piano. This can make all your songs sound the same and can also make you lose excitement for them! Learn all the different ways to play chords on the fretboard or piano and your songs will start sounding much more professional.


5. Change strumming patterns. 

Another common thing we hear is that you are playing the same strumming pattern all the time. Believe it or not rhythm is one of the most important aspects of songwriting and having more insteresting or even complex rhythms can make a boring song sound so much much exciting. 


6. Write more complex time signatures.  

Time signatures are fun to play around with as well. You might find yourself sticking to 4/4 and may even have ventured into 3/4 or 6/8 but there are lots more time signatures you could be thinking about. Some songs have a change of time signature within them and this can really bring a lift to a song and catch the listener out. 


7. Hit higher notes! 

As a vocalist, really understanding your voice, singing in the right range and pushing your voice to go further can have massive benefits to your songwriting. Being able to belt some of the choruses up an octave to make a song epic is a cool tool to use to make your songs really hit the limits!


8. Solo! 

Solos are cool!! They appear in lots of modern songs! Check out John Mayer for reference. Being able to play some scales and improvise on the spot can be a great thing to enhance your songs when playing live, but also to give a break within the song structure when you are looking for somewhere new to go! 


9. Be able to play faster (or slower) songs! 

The tempo of a song is a very important thing to think about. Changing the overall pace can really affect the feeling of a song. Don’t let your technical ability to be able to play fast (or slow, playing at a really slow tempo can be hard) affect your songwriting.


10. Take inspiration from the greats! 

Part of being a songwriter involves taking influence from the great songwriters of the past and the current musicians. When you begin to master your chosen instrument it will allow you to understand what is happening in the songs that you have listened to throughout your life, to take inspiration from them and use their little tricks in your own creations.


Thanks for reading! Hopefully this has given you some inspiration to start your musical journey! At Bristol House of Music we offer the first lesson completely FREE! So what better reason could there be to get started? We offer lessons in guitar, piano, ukulele, bass, vocals, songwriting and music theory. Click here to book your first lesson - or read our 30 reasons why Bristol House of Music is the right place to learn.


We have released our first book!

This book teaches you every chord you will ever need in all five CAGED shapes, allowing you to master the fretboard and helping you to develop and expand your chord knowledge whilst keeping it fun and easy to grasp. Get the book and take your chord playing to new heights. 'Every Chord Shape You Will Ever Need' is ideal for guitarists trying to get to the next level and who like to play, perform and write music.