Three Songwriting Tips

John Chisum shares some tips and tricks for writing memorable worship songs:

Do you ever wonder how the “pros” write great songs time after time, hit after hit, year after year? Do you wish you knew the tips and tricks they use when they sit down to write and how they know when they’ve got a winner?

Truth be told, every successful writer has a short list of go-to tips and tricks they use to write those awesome songs. I want to share a few I’ve used through the years to get you started building your own Pro Songwriting Toolkit…

John shares three essential tips for crafting great worship songs. Check it out here.

Writing Your Own Song Parts

Kyle Lent shares some detailed, super-practical tips on writing your own parts for worship songs:

If you’re anything like me, every time you learn a new song, you sit there and stare at your instrument for a moment, dumbly. Then you ask yourself, “How am I supposed to write parts for this song?” Or in simpler terms, “How do I know what to play?” You’re not alone! Every time I approach a new song, I’m sure I’ve exhausted all the ideas I’ll ever have. How to construct parts for your instrument is an important aspect of making a song work, but a difficult one! I thought it would be worthwhile to start a discussion with some ideas on how to go about writing parts for songs. This is not by any means an exhaustive list, but simply a couple of ideas to get our collective, creative minds moving. Just a heads up: this will be an extremely practical post—not a lot of theory, or even theologizing, here.

Great advice here on using a collaborative approach to writing and arranging worship music. Click here to read the whole thing.

Songwriting Starters

Mark Altrogge on getting past the blank page when you sit down to write a song:

People have often asked me how I go about writing a song.

Do I start with the lyrics or with the music? How do I get ideas for songs? I’ll do almost anything to get an idea. You just have to get started. If you want to write a song and you’re looking at a blank page, here are 27 ways you can get the creative juices flowing…

He shares twenty-seven ideas to help kickstart your songwriting. Check it out here.

Free Worship Songwriting Tips From A Pro

Here’s a great opportunity to glean some wisdom from a worship songwriting pro:

As a worship songwriter, it’s not often that you get to sit under the pros, let alone for free! Seth Mosley, co-author of such hits as Mercy Me‘s “You are I Am”, “Start a Fire” by Unbroken, “Words” by Hawk Nelson, “Fix my Eyes” by For King & Country, and Chris Tomlin‘s “At the Cross (Blood ran Red)”, is offering just such an opportunity.

Though you may benefit from becoming a member at SkillShare, Seth has made his short, helpful, & to the point songwriting teachings available for free. Coming soon, a follow up course on Studio Production Fundamentals!

You can watch Seth’s introduction to Full Circle Music & the course below, or just follow THIS LINK to access all of the content at SkillShare.

We can all improve on our songwriting, so I’m excited to check out these tips.

Check it out here.

Why Your Church Should Write Worship Songs

With so much great new worship music constantly becoming available, why write your own? James Tealy writes:

The volume of new worship content being released every year is staggering. In our young church I will only introduce 6-10 new songs a year and with so much great content available I am often asked why we would bother writing original content. Why would we build a songwriting community in our church? Here are four key reasons I believe your church should be writing new worship songs.

This is a really great list of reasons to write your own local worship music. Check it out here.

Searching For The Contemporary Canon

Chris Marchand wrote an insightful post about what the church will be singing a century from now:

Every time I go to select the music my church will sing during worship there is one simple question lurking behind every decision:

I wonder if people will still be singing this song in a hundred years?

Because really, when I think about all the songs I could possibly choose from, there are so, so many that I sang in my church growing up 10-20 years ago that simply are not sung anymore, in any church, anywhere. There are lists upon lists of songs that worship leaders nowadays cringe at, either because of “cheesy”, “outdated” music, or shallow, clunky lyrics…

This situation strikes me as a huge problem for church music leaders and the congregations singing our songs. With contemporary worship music are we merely creating disposable music, music written only to be gotten rid of when its use is no longer of value to us?

In this era of seemingly disposable worship music, there are some good things to think about here. Check out the whole post. Really good read.

Ten Ways To Write Bad Worship Songs

Craig Adams lists the ten worst mistakes that worship songwriters often make:

As you consider this list and weigh it against your own craftsmanship, I am hopeful your songwriting journey will be enriched and strengthened. May the Holy Spirit surround you as you endeavor to put a new song in the mouths of God’s people in the days ahead. Write to the glory of the Lord!

From bad rhyming to bad rhythms, this is a list that every worship songwriter should take a long look at. Check it out here.

The First English Worship Leader?

Mark Woods has a nice writeup of someone you might describe as the first English worship leader… maybe. He writes:

Name the best Christian song-writers working in English today and we’d all have our own opinions. Name the greatest over the last couple of centuries and it might not be so controversial – Isaac Watts would probably be there, Charles Wesley and perhaps Fanny Crosby too.

But what about the very first? His feast day is today, he was a monk in the Abbey of Whitby in the 7th century, and his name was Caedmon.

I’ve always loved this story of the very first English hymns. Read Mark’s full story here.

Local Worship Songwriting: Why & How

Ryan Savage on the benefits, challenges, and practicalities of writing worship music in the local church:

Writing music is always a tricky subject in the church world. For many musicians there is barrier or stigma to the whole endeavor that often leaves the uninitiated at a loss for where to begin. For many musicians, this becomes insurmountable and they never try. For others, there are the beginnings of songs that never find completion, and never see the light of day. Writing music is an art form, and it takes loads of creativity and brain power.

That doesn’t mean those of us who feel stunted in these areas should not write. In fact, I believe the opposite is true. When we stretch our creativity, and painfully so at times, it stretches us in ways that go beyond just music. More than this, our personal expression of worship is important to our hearts. I believe writing music to God is an imperative exercise for the worship leader, and oftentimes for our local congregations. Here are a few things to think about when beginning the process of writing for your church.

Does your church sing any of its own original music?

Ryan shares some excellent tips and information on local church songwriting. Read the whole thing here.

The Katy Perry Rule

Jed Smith on musical genres, musical signatures, and the sound of modern worship music:

Every musical genre has musical “signatures” to help us recognize a song as a certain genre. As one example, blues will regularly flatten the 5th note of the scale and bounce between a major and minor 3rd.

If you didn’t understand that, don’t worry about it. While I might get a little technical in the blog post, you won’t need a deep understanding of music theory to understand the concept we’ll discuss.

There is one musical concept prevalent in a lot of “modern” music throughout the genres. Because of time, I will only give a few examples, but once you start to hear it you will notice it everywhere. The genre that sticks to this concept the most religiously (pun intended) is contemporary Praise & Worship.

Don’t let the Katy Perry reference throw you. There’s some great info here on how to craft music for the church. Read the whole thing here.