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How To Write Professional Quality Songs

This article is sharing different unique and original methods to inspire and guide you in writing your own songs. So let's get right to it.

The First Copycat Method

Copycat? But that's plaigarism!?! oh noooo! Well actually, no, it's not.

Here is how we copy our favorite songs and make new songs: :Take the music from a song you love. :Write new lyrics to it. :Now, write new music to the lyrics and you have a brand new song.

Another Copycat Method

Listen to the song “Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood” by The Animals and “Badlands” by Bruce Springsteen. Right! Same riff! Bruce actually fessed up to his grand theft at the keynote speech he gave at South by Southwest music festival in Austin, TX in 2012.

This second method opens an interesting path because you start listening to all your favorite songs in a brand new way.

“Wow, what a great riff! What if I take it and do THIS with it” and so forth.

A Third Copycat Method

The song “Tears of Joy” on Spirits In The Silence is new lyrics to a traditional country gospel type melody. Slow down “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” and you will have something similar to the melody of “Tears Of Joy”. There are certain traditional melodies and certainly almost any blues progression which can be lifted and shined up with some new lyrics added to it and you get full song writing credits.

NOTE: I had actually sent the lyrics to “Tears Of Joy” to a guy on Fiverr.com with $5 and he came up with an interesting melody for a rock version that sounded like Ozzy Osbourne but I decided to stick with the original idea I had for the song that it should be somewhat like the classic “Hard Times (Come Again No More)”. Again, this shows that you can do anything with anything as as songwriter. Of course, “Stairway to Gilligan's Island” could be the classic example of that lol

The Outsource Method

● Ok, start at fiverr and do a search for “write song” or “write poem”

Yep, there is no shortage of people that will write a song or poem for you for $5! So what do you do with that? Well, first make sure that you have written agreement with them that when they send you the song it is yours to do what you will with it.

● Then take the song and do what you will with it. Make it your own, change the melody, rhythym, tempo, structure, words etc. Just use it as a foundation to write your own song.

The song on Spirits In The Silence called Lever9 Rap was written in this style.

The idea to make the song sound like an activist street action and the vocals to be shouted instead of sung on all the verses happened in the studio as did the rap and the bridge at the end of the song. I had sent the original lyrics to a guy on Fiverr.com with $5 and he gave me a melody but I only used it loosely as a guide.

The Meditation Method

You don't have to have a long history of meditating or be an expert in any spiritual modality to connect with your “center” power source where all your creativity emanates from. Just close your eyes and watch your breath go in and out. Actually you can do this in a moment's flash. You are always just a breath away from your inner divinity. Possibly consider that you are breathing in God and breathing out love. Possibly see white light all around you or orange light emanating from your lower abdomen and you are sure to have some inspirations. This is excellent for a remedy for writer's block.

I can't say that any of the songs on Spirits In The Silence came about due to an instance of meditation. But there are several songs that can be used to help you with meditation including "God Is In The Silence" and “Spirits In The Silence” and "Equanimity" can even be chanted with at the end. And most of the songs are documenting my spiritual evolution so while they may not have come forth from an instance of meditation most of the songs certainly had their origin in my spiritual life.

● Actually I would say that “Steppin Into Paradise” was a product of meditation practices. I was in fact sitting on a rock by a creek as it says in the song and what that song is about is a very accurate summation of the spiritual path that I was on at that time.

The Dream Method

Teach yourself to exert some control and influence over your dream world while you sleep at night. One way to accomplish this is to drink mugwort tea. Another thing you can do is to simply decide that you have the ability to influence your dreams and dream about what you wish and recall your dreams at will. So while you are going to bed at night decide that you want to write a song and have a dream that will help you write the song. Or decide you will have the lyrics or music to a song come to you in your dreams and you will recall them. Many of the world's great advancements in health, science, engineering and so on came to people while they were dreaming.

One caveat here, don't be surprised if you have a dream and write down the song that you saw/heard in that dream and then wake up the next morning all excited to see what you wrote down only to find it is gibberish. I had a dream where Springsteen was singing a song that doesnt exist in the “real world” and I thought it was the greatest thing ever and when I woke up the next morning to read my notes it was totally undecipherable. Billy Joel has said that he dreams in symphonies. Well ok that's good for Billy. Let's you and I take it one happy step at a time and see if we can come up with something in our dream world.

The Writing With A Purpose Method

I used to attend a meeting of interfaith activists in Los Angeles and I decided one fine morning to write a song for them and came up with something called “Powerful Voices In The Land” which was quite a powerful song. Sometimes if one knows exactly what they are trying to achieve they can use that certainty and focus to channel their energies and come up with something unique. Another example of this is Springsteen's song “Wrecking Ball” which was his tribute to Giants Stadium in New Jersey which was being torn down after he did that last show there. It was such a strong song that it largely inspired his next CD and became the title song. The album is about surviving and finding self redemption and the rebirth of the spirit during hard times and that is the symbology of the wrecking ball - sure it destroys but it also begins a new process of rebuilding and rebirth - hopefully giving birthsomething more imaginative than a parking lot

The Observer Method

Just pick up whatever instrument that you play and let your hands, your body, your inspiration do what it wishes without that part of you which judges, criticizes, analyzes, etc, in other words, your ego, getting involved. Just let it flow. Not only might you come up with something great while playing as an observer but you are also easing off on the pressure of trying to read a song and letting your creative energies flow naturally. Back in the day I used to say that my guitar wrote my songs and there was a lot of truth in that observation. I am coming out with a new CD in the near future called “Daze Gone By” which is from that time period over 20 years ago where I was writing my first songs and they were just flooding out of my guitar when I would pick it up. Two songs on Spirits In The Silence which were written during that time period around 1990 were written “by my guitar” and those are “Runnin Ain't No Way To Be Free” (which was originally Americana and nostalgic in feeling and was given new birth with its country rock interpretation on the CD) and “I Feel The Blues”

The Observant Method

Just keep perceptions open in the front or back of your mind as you go through your day, in other words it can be your focus or it can just always be flipped “on” but running in the background ready to move forward when you encounter something that hits your aesthetic sense. Maybe you will overhear a conversation and make a hit record of it. That is the story on how Mark Knopfler wrote “Money For Nothing” and you can read all about that online.

Let's see, which ones from Spirits was written in this fashion? “Equanimity” was inspired by a book I was reading at the time “The Supreme Yoga” “God Is In The Silence” was inspired while I was in the studio recording “Livin In Paradox” and was noticing the importance of leaving breathing room on the songs because that space is where you allow the listener to participate and the reason that that phenomenon occurs is because everything is connected to universal divine consciousness and leaving those spaces in the songs invites connection between the artist and listener. Zookeeper was an observation of all of my pets and was intended to have some fun with my own quirky passions. In fact, I think there is an element of this in all the songs and pretty much any song anyone ever writes. As Woody Guthrie said “all ya can write is what ya see”

The Hooker Method

No, not that kind of hooker, the memorable catchy part of a song is called the hook because it hooks ya! Practice coming up with catchy hooks. A catchy hook can forgive a multitude of sins, “Hey Nicky?!” Match up the hook with your song title, examples of this abound - Springsteen's “Glory Days” or “Hungry Heart” or “Dancin In The Dark” were huge hits for him. “Band On The Run”, “Hey Jude”, “Here Comes The Sun” and a multitude others from the Liverpool lads certainly played hooky on ya as did “Don't Worry, Be Happy” and other reggae songs, listen to Bob Marley for a bit. Other songwriter artists with very memorable hooks include Johnny Cash, Michael Jackson and No Doubt. Just look at today's top 40 for examples.

Poet's tools such as alliteration (repetition of a particular sound in the first syllables of a series of words), similes (saying one thing is like another), metaphors (saying one thing is another) and assonance (repeating the same vowel or sound) such as “condemnation, isolation, desolation, in temptation”

The Free Style Method

A friend of mine, John Bush, who does the rap on the "LEver9 Rap" song on my Spirits In The Silence CD is a master at free style improvisational rap and has won contests with this skill. Let your mind free and dont stop it if it starts producing gibberish when you are first getting started. That might be just on the surface and soon you may end up catching hold of a big fish in the stream. Bob Dylan said that he wrote a lot of his songs by writing a verse or two and then figuring what he was writing about and basing his chorus on that.

The Subversive Method

Listen To Bruce Springsteen's “Livin In The Future” - The pop rhythym and soaring saxophone reminiscent of songs like “Midnight Hour” and others from Stax and Motown in the early 70s is subverted by some very stinging acrid political lyrics. Have the music and lyrics subvert each other and you can have some interesting results. Consider the sad weepy melody of “Goin to The Chapel” with the lyrics of a girl rhapsodizing her wedding day and you have a song that will live forever.

The Variations Method

Listen To Springsteen's “We Take Care Of Our Own” - he built a layer of music melody which really just follows the strum pattern. A unique strum pattern can make all the difference. Also work with variations of traditional chord progressions. The C-Am-F-G pattern of many, many classic 50s rock songs such as “Stay” and “Blue Moon” also was the basis of the Elvis song “If I Can Dream” (which I do a cover of on Spirits but by putting a backbeat to the song you could hear more clearly its roots in 50s rock on my version). Also, a song of mine called “Train Whistle” is a tremendous variation from the 1-4-5 progression so dominantly used in popular music. An example of 1-4-5 is A-D-E See? Well that “Train Whistle” song goes D-C-G which would be 1-7-12!

● So get creative and break the mold!

Gary Konigsberg aka The Garko Factor


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