Whether you consider yourself a songwriter or not, the practice of writing songs can provide valuable insights into the music you play. As an instrumentalist myself, I often struggle with writing and remembering lyrics. However, I came across a great series by Andrea Stolpe (https://www.andreastolpe.com/), a Berklee Music tutor and accomplished singer-songwriter. I highly recommend her books and approach, especially for those who are new to songwriting - I even made a cheeky cheat sheet as a reminder to keep on me whenever I'm out and about.
One key formula Andrea Stolpe emphasises is the act of flash writing on any given theme. This involves quickly writing down anything that comes to mind before analysing and extracting key phrases to build upon and form choruses, verses, and other song sections. It's a method that helps stimulate creativity and develop song ideas.
Here's an example of a real song I wrote during a train ride from London to Carlisle. I used a basic piano app on my phone to work out the chord progressions, and then I wrote the lyrics in my notebook. If I had this Musician's Gig Journal, I could have automatically created a neat song sheet, as shown below.
By having a dedicated space in the Musician's Gig Journal for songwriting, you can easily organise and develop your song ideas on-the-fly. It provides a central location to jot down lyrics, chords, and any other notes or ideas that come to mind during your creative process. This way, you can keep track of your songwriting progress and revisit your ideas whenever inspiration strikes. Alternatively, from the song structure section you may choose to use this to draft more detailed lyric centred song structure sheets to later convert into your reference chart like the example below (lyrics blurred for copyright compliance).
Remember, songwriting is not only a means of self-expression but also a valuable tool for understanding and connecting with the music you play. Whether you write songs for personal enjoyment or to incorporate them into your performances, the act of songwriting can greatly enhance your musical journey.
Links to purchase the paperback directly from Amazon: