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5 Out-Of-The-Box Ways To Hone Your Songwriting Craft

By Rorie Kelly, Co-Executive Director of

It can be tough to find time to sit down and write songs with all the career-building tasks musicians have these days. On top of that, switching gears is hard and writers’ block is real. What do we do when we’re no longer beginners but we still want to grow, or need to rekindle that love affair with musicmaking? For those who are sick of the usual advice, here are five out-of-the-box ways to hone your songwriting craft.

1. Learn about what you love. Name your top 3 favorite songs of all time. Give each one a good thoughtful listen. What makes you love the song so much? Get specific. If it’s the lyrics, what do you like about the phrasing? If it’s some arrangement in the track, what is it about that arrangement that really sets off the song for you? Really delving in to what you like and why is a great way to add to your toolbox as a songwriter.

2. Play song doctor. Name your current most DESPISED song. Give that one a good and thoughtful listen too. What do you hate about it? Now, force yourself to take the spirit of the song and try to salvage it. What would you need to do to fix it up and make it a song you really wanted to hear? Ready, set, go.

3. Swap it up. Get a buddy for this one, and have each of you write an opening verse or chorus. Then, swap your work and finish each other’s songs.

4. Make today the “musical episode” of your life. Don’t speak—sing everything! Rhyme whenever possible. Ham it up and use ridiculous voices. Encourage folks around you to join in—it’s not weird, it’s ~skill-building~! Also, you’ll find that singing a sweet sonata to the guy tailgating you on your morning commute can really turn your road rage right around.

5. Be the bard you wish to see. Think of someone you know well that you respect and care about. Really think about who they are — their values, their background, what they struggle with and where they soar. What trials have they faced, what are their triumphs and woes? Now tell their story in song.

What are your favorite unusual ways to spark creativity and get better at your craft? Please share your ideas and experiences in the comments!

5 Out-Of-The-Box Ways To Hone Your Songwriting Craft

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