Can Songwriting Really Be Teached?
12th October, 2022
So you’ve seen people—like myself—offering songwriting courses. But isn’t songwriting something you’re simply born with? And shouldn’t your songs only come from the heart?
Or even out of thin air, channelling the spirit of music from the ether?
Of course you know where I’m going with this!
But first, some of you may wonder why my grammar is so bad—surely the opening question should end with “taught” ?
Well yes, of course it should, but maybe I wrote it quickly, without thinking about it too much. Or I did spot it but thought I could get away with it—but you did notice, didn’t you?
And so it is with songwriting—your first idea may be inspired and you may mean well, but mistakes do creep in and your song ends up in a similar place to the above headline.
That’s because it’s nearly impossible to write something that is close to perfection all in one sitting.
Even the best songwriters in the world like Paul McCartney or Sting freely admit that songs like that (think “Yesterday” or “Every Breath You Take”) only come around once every 20 years or so.
So if we can acknowledge that even with the most talent in the world we will still need to work at our songwriting, what do we call this work that we all dread?
Rewriting of course, and this is much more effective—and much more fun—when you can call upon a solid songwriting technique.
And like all techniques, it can be—and should be—acquired through a structured and consistent training programme. Think learning how to play tennis or even the piano!
You may argue that some of the top writers—including those mentioned above—didn’t attend a formal songwriting class and still sold hundreds of millions of records.
But that’s also because these classes didn’t exist back then plus people like McCartney and Sting were very accomplished musicians and played in a band with other musical geniuses.
So if you can find a superstar mentor to coach you or you’re in a band with the next John Lennon, then maybe a songwriting course isn’t needed—for everybody else there is my comprehensive but fun online training programme called $ongwondo!
Like the martial arts that inspired its name, $ongwondo is a series of lessons and exercises designed to make you feel stronger and more in control—only this time you’re not fighting off a gang of thugs, but the technical problems that have held you back from having a fulfilling(and maybe even lucrative) songwriting career!
And please allow me to humbly state that I’m probably not a bad mentor myself with No.1 records spanning 15 years and endless patience to get to the bottom of your songwriting issues(and we all have weak spots!) and guide you to the stage where you can think about making writing songs for other people a viable career choice or, if you’re a singer-songwriter or in a band, writing better songs for yourself and playing to larger audiences.
Just this week, a former student sent me a message saying "just got my first cut[=song being released by another artist on a major label] and releasing my debut album soon. Thanks so much for your tutorship Alex!". Makes me feel just a bit proud as you might imagine.
Since you’re reading this you’re probably a bit tired of trying to go it alone, scouring free YouTube videos and buying “Songwriting For Noobs” on Amazon. Who’s going to tell you where your songs “suck” (in the nicest possible way of course) and what the techniques are that the real pros use to fine-tune their initial ideas?
Well, I hope I got you thinking about where you could take your songwriting with the right approach—and of course that the right approach is studying with me and my delightfully crazy online course called $ongwondo!
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