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songwriting

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.

 

Why learning an instrument is good for a young mind!

School is about to kick off again and it is the best time for children and young adults to start learning an instrument! At Bristol House of Music we teach guitar, piano, bass, vocals, ukulele, songwriting and music theory and we have put together some reasons why learning an instrument is a great thing for a young mind...

 
 

1. Good for your brain

Younger minds have the capacity to learn many new things every day, so why not add music into the mix? From having one hour-long lesson a week, and just ten minutes of practice each day, you can learn a great deal. Playing an instrument can also help to improve your memory as there is much to remember!

 
 

2. Helps to improve coordination

Building up your coordination is important and will help in other areas of your development. Playing an instrument requires you to use many different parts of your body at the same time, and it is believed that young people who play instruments often have better hand eye coordination than those that don’t.

 
 

3. Makes you happy!

It is very important to be happy! What better way than to play an instrument, sing a favourite song and feel the joy that comes with expressing yourself musically and improving on something that is fun? You will impress your family and friends with how far you take it.

 
 

4. Improves rhythm

Rhythm is something that unless you are a dancer you may never really learn about.  It helps you to understand music and notice when something sounds “off” or out of time. Whether you are a singer, a pianist, a guitarist or a bassist, rhythm is integral to your music lessons from the start, as it is one of the fundamentals of music. 

 
 

5. Gets you off your computer!

Computers are amazing! Gaming is fun! XBOX, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Ipad, Ipod, Macbooks, the list goes on of how much fun can be had playing games. However when you are young it is important to develop all your skills, and learning an instrument will be something you want to dedicate some time to.

 
 

6. Fits perfectly around your studies!

Learning an instrument doesn't mean spending hours painfully crawling through music notation, learning songs you hate. It is quite the opposite, you can just practice 10 minutes every day and continue to improve at a pace that comes naturally to you.  We also teach in the evenings and on Saturdays, making it an easily accessible extracurricular activity. 

 
 

7. Something you will be able to do for the rest of your life!

Playing an instrument is a skill that you can take with you wherever you go in life. There is something very cool about forever being able to pick up an acoustic guitar, or jump on a piano and play some songs. Learning an instrument doesn't have to be something you take into your professional career but can be something that you use to relax you and to have fun in the future.

 
 

8. Learn your favourite songs!

At Bristol House of Music, we make sure we teach you songs that you want to learn! This makes learning an instrument so much more fun! You will be able to play those songs you enjoy, sing along and be happy! 

 
 

9. Learn a new language

Being able to read music is an incredible skill to have. It is exactly the same as speaking a different language. After taking lessons you will be able to understand pitch, the musical alphabet, rhythm, timing, chords, dynamics and so much more...

 
 

10. You can play along with other friends!

One of the best things about learning to play an instrument is the ability to play along with friends. If your friends are all playing instruments, you wont be left out and can join in and jam along. Soon you will all be writing hits!

 
 

Buying an instrument nowadays can be very inexpensive. Music shops have amazing deals and you can find some incredible offers that wont break the bank, yet will last the stretch of time. Click here to look at our article on buying your first guitar, also we can help you find your first piano, ukulele or bass, so don't hesitate to get in touch.

 

There are plenty more reasons why learning an instrument is good for young minds. At Bristol House of Music we offer the first lesson completely FREE! So what better reason could there be to get started? 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.