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House of Michael Warren

Designer, Musician, Sculptor

On songwriting

Last summer I was invited to host a songwriting workshop for students at a local high school. I conjured a brief outline for the students containing tips I wish I had when I was their age. Although my advice is tailored for songwriting, I believe this applies to any creative medium. And being an altruistic human, I'm sharing it for all you budding creatives out there. On a side note: Musicians receive only 12% of the revenue from their music streams. Who is getting all that money? Who!

The songwriting rules.

There are none.
There is no textbook.
There is no set method to write a song.
Sometimes it starts at the instrument.
Sometimes it starts as a melody in your head.
Sometimes it starts as a lyric.
It typically starts when you least expect it.
Every musician writes songs differently.
And that's how it should be.
Imagine how stale music would be if the process was the same.

No such thing as writer's block.

Everything you write is an idea.
Writer’s block is an excuse for people who are afraid their idea is bad.
Failing is ok.
Embrace the struggle it brings.
You learn more from failing.
So write the bad idea.
Get it out of your system.
Bad ideas always lead to a great one.
For every great idea there was a bad one before.

The real process is knowing the difference between bad ideas and good ideas.

Ummm, how do I know when an idea is good?
I don’t have this answer but someone does, and that someone is you.
You just have to keep practicing to unlock it.
Learn other artists songs.
Analyze their songs.
Watch tutorials.
Listen to different genres of music.
Write every idea down.
Put yourself out there.
Try something new.
Absorb everything and be curious.

If you do all these it will all click, eventually.

There is no timeline for success.
You can only spend time, so everyone is on the same schedule.
Take as long as you need.
Just don't stop.
And don't quit.
And don't you dare feel sorry for yourself.
Be positive.
Be courageous.
Keep fighting.
Keep it simple.
It will happen.

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