A songwriting session is a great way of expanding your own creative workflow and getting to know new songwriters, producers and working-habits in general. Having to create something awesome on the spot – in a closed environment, within a limited timeframe can be a great, challenging experience. Especially if you manage to approach it in a open-minded and inspired way.
Having completed a number of songwriting sessions ourselves, we collected some points that we perceive as vital when engaging in new, unknown musical situations with songwriters and producers.
There are two ways of approaching the pre-session prep, and they involve fairly similar mindsets: As an artist – or as a songwriter / tracker.
If you’re an artist heading into a songwriting session to co-write songs for yourself, make sure you know what you want. It makes life a lot easier for everyone when the artist has some distinct vision or sound-idea of where the output of a given session should go.
Prepare some song-examples or moods that you dig, and be able to present them on Spotify / Youtube as soon as the session starts.
As a tracker / songwriter – do your homework and check out some of the artists work before heading into the session. You will be able to make educated decisions on where to go, what might work. Also – dig out 2-3 song-examples in a similar style and see if the artist digs the sound. Its all about speeding up the process, and arriving on the same page early along the way.
Loading the perfect mindset
Starting a songwriting session with the right mindset might be the most important challenge to everyone involved. Sometimes it takes years to build strong relationships with musicians, in order to just let loose while building a creative safe space.
Now you plunge into this new situation with unknown individuals, planning to walk out with something genuine and fresh. In order to do so, it really helps to take a moment prior to the session and focus on whats going on up in your mind. Are you still carrying some emotional baggage from a strenuous week or the last session? Are you ready for moving in various styles and are your ears open?
Try to keep in mind that everyone here is dealing with similar expectations and anxieties.
Find a common ground
If you achieve some form of common ground early in the session, it will boost the overall mood and ease up the tension & excitement lingering between the lines. Keep in mind the importance of landing on the same page early in the session. Its completely normal to plunge into temporary energy-lows, and there might be moments where you feel like crashing your midi-keyboard against the wall.
This common ground – made up of sounds and songs you like – will always be a safe-place that you can get back to. Especially if you run off into the forrest and somehow loose the spark along the way.
Go with the flow
Equally as important as knowing what you want and having several clear pictures in mind, is the capability of going with the flow. And adapting to various situations along the way.
You were asked to join a session because people trust in your ability to work in changing environments, with a broad range of styles and trends.
If an artist has an epiphany and wants to change the complete style of an idea. Keep calm and stay open to where things are going.
Be humble about it
Attitudes and Egos are two attributes that should definitely stay outside of the songwriting-area.
Having great self-esteem and being aware of your capabilities is a vital part of navigating through the jungle of professional music. Yet there is still a way of transporting this strength while staying humble and open about things.
Especially when dealing with newcomers and individuals less versed in your line of work. Keep in mind that many great songwriters rely on intuition and gut feeling. A creative process that seems arbitrary and unorthodox to you might be someone else’s high-output zone.
Respect the fact that there are countless different styles of approaching songwriting and production. Use your own security and experience. Stand up for your ideas and stay humble towards things you don’t know, or know little about.
If you want to know more about songwriting and production, check out other articles on the ForTunes Blog and leave us a comment or feedback – we’ll get back to you very soon!0 be the first one to show some appreciation for this!