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Why You Should Start SONGWRITING (by: Singer-songwriter + Teacher, Nicole Issa)

No need for high-level notation skills while you're just starting out.

Have you ever caught yourself humming a tune that you've completely made up while driving or doing another activity?

Have you ever caught yourself in that moment and thought..."I could turn this into a song?"

Songwriting is a creative activity that is normally left to professional singers or musicians. Songwriting may seem daunting as it feels like there are so many aspects to it. The reality is, you can start songwriting at any musical level, and there are so many benefits to songwriting - even if you never end up showing your song to anybody!

How can you start without any musical know-how:

A background of some music training or knowledge is helpful however not necessary to begin with. It's more important to have a go.

If you are a singer, I highly recommend picking up an instrument to accompany yourself, but to begin with, singing, writing lyrics, working out words that work together and making things up on the spot can get you started. Traditional instruments for self-accompaniment are the guitar and piano, however there are some easier instruments that you could probably learn on your own quite quickly. Never underestimate the sound of the Ukulele! This four stringed instrument is pretty easy to learn and can sound pretty cool, even for a beginner.

For example, check out this cover of Elvis Presley’s “Cant help falling in love with you” by Twenty One Pilots:

There are two main 'musical' things that are helpful to understand - Melody and Harmony

Melody: The melody is the main musical line of a song. Think of it as where the words go and what you will be singing.

Harmony: Is the underlying layers of a song. This would include things like the chords and key of the song you are writing. Any aspect of the song that is away from the main melody would be considered harmony.

The benefits of songwriting are numerous. Songwriting has been used as a therapy tool, for example. You may have heard from many artists that a particular song was written to help them go through a break up or another tough time in life. Songwriting can help an individual process emotions and ‘let out’ feelings that normally would not be expressed.

For myself, Songwriting is something that started out of the interest of picking up the guitar. Now it is a craft I use to not only better myself as a musician but also to help me deal with the rollercoaster of life! It allows me to process my emotions while I better myself as a musician.

For more inspiration on songwriting I recommend listening to some amazing singer/songwriters. Here is my list of favourites:

  • Missy Higgins

  • Ed Sheeran

  • Odette

  • Grace Pitts

  • Julia Michaels

I hope this inspires you to grab a pen, paper, an instrument (if you've got one) and most importantly - your singing voice! - and start songwriting!

Don't forget, our studio runs workshops on songwriting and recording every school holidays! If you are the parent of a young child/teen, bring them in to work with our team these next school holidays. We enjoy helping our young student develop their musicianship, expression and songwriting it's a ton of fun coming home with your own song!

Til next time,

Nicole Issa

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