If you’ve ever started writing a song that, for some reason or another, you just couldn’t seem to finish, I have some tips to help you get the job done. In my last post, I gave you three ways to finish a song. If you missed it, be sure to read it here.
Here are four more ways that you can resurrect your song and get it completed so it can start working for you.
4. Write a different melody.
In my previous post, I suggested writing a different lyric. Same idea here: try writing a new melody. Completely ignore what you started with and try something totally different. When we follow a path that leads to a dead end, it can be hard to give up on that route and start fresh. But doing so might bring new energy to the song and the process which will help you get it finished.
5. Use a new instrument.
Try switching to a different instrument from the one you started writing the song on. If you wrote the song on guitar, try noodling on the piano and playing block chords or arpeggiated chords and see how that feels to you. Play around with some virtual instruments in GarageBand or some other software on your iPad, phone or computer. See what ideas those conjure up. Sometimes just adding a rhythm loop really injects new life into a stalled composition.
6. Listen to other people’s songs.
Study songs by songwriters you respect. This might seem counter-intuitive when you’re stuck and need to get busy but, for me, it really works. Why? A couple of reasons: 1. I become inspired by listening to other people’s art and it makes me want to create my own, or finish my own! 2. You might hear how they resolve an issue with their finished song, which will give you ideas on how you can now approach yours.
If it’s a lyric you’re stuck on, see how they build that second verse or bridge. If it’s the melody you’re stuck on, see where their melodies go and try to do that with your song. Don’t copy. But try to take inspiration and learn how to problem solve with your own composition by hearing what similar songs do.
7. Ask a fellow songwriter for their input.
Hopefully, asking another songwriter that you admire and trust for their input will result in honest feedback. (And you should return the favor to your friend BTW). Sometimes you just need a fresh set of ears.
You can also utilize resources offered by organization such as NSAI, ASCAP, and BMI. And even if you’re not in a major music center such as Nashville, L.A. or New York, you can find songwriting web coaches through these organizations that you can employ to give you feedback.
So that’s it…. 7 ways to finish a song. Try it out and get those songs off the shelf and working for you. And be sure to leave a comment below and share what works for you.
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