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Songwriting Lessons – Can Songwriting Really Be Taught

Songwriting lessons are out there to be found, but do they really work? Can someone actually teach you to be a songwriter if you’re not one already. Well I’d like to answer that with some observations. Every type of artist receives inspiration and then processes that inspiration through their knowledge base. Painters paint, sculptors sculpt, poets write in verse, novelists write prose; you get the picture. We can even break down the process to a finer level. Painters paint according to their understanding and training. Some painters paint in oils, some in acrylics, some in watercolors, some use colored chalks, and many more variations. Even painters who paint in oils vary from using brushes to a palette knife, painting on canvas or painting on board. This all happens according to their knowledge base.

David Randle, My Songwriting Coach

My Songwriting Coach

So what happens when that inspiration comes to an aspiring songwriter? Well, if our songwriter only knows a couple of chords, we’re likely to get a two chord song. Now I’m not disparaging two chord songs. The band America had a major hit with a two chord song called “Horse With No Name.” But it’s one thing to have a broad knowledge base and choose to express with two chords, as opposed to being forced to write with two chords because that’s all you know. Understanding chord progressions, cadences, chord extension and substitution, secondary chords, and relative and parallel key areas will equip you with powerful tools that you can creatively use to express yourself. I maintain that the more you know, the wider the possible range of expression to interpret your inspiration. more…