When I’m teaching or mentoring someone, I often get asked what I mean when I talk about the “craft” of songwriting. I think of songwriting as a trade that has been passed down through the years much like a silversmith, a painter, or a sculptor would do. Most songwriters I know were mentored by a more experienced writer whether it was in a formal setting or informally through simply co-writing together.
So, when I speak of the “craft” of songwriting, I am talking about those things that have been passed down through the generations from songwriter to songwriter. I thought I would share with you the essential elements of the craft that my mentors have shared with me. These elements hold true whether you are trying to write commercially, or you just want your songs to be enjoyed and understood by your friends and family.
Stick to standard song forms if you want people to “get” them. People expect hooks (titles) to fall in certain places. If you don’t put your title in one of those spots, people may not know what to call your song.
Write from your heart. People want to FEEL something when they listen to your song. You are in charge of what they feel, so make it count. If you don’t feel it, they never will. Great writers say what everyone WANTS to say but can’t find the words to say.
Don’t settle. Keep working on a song until it’s the BEST it can be. You are creating art. Your art reflects on you and on those who went before you. Make it great. Make it beautiful. Create something that will stand the test of time.
Pass on what you have learned. Sharing the craft is a sacred responsibility.
Hangi Tavakoli is our in-house established and professional music producer with more than 15 years of experience in music production, mix and mastering, recording engineering, live sound designing/engineering, lyrics writing and music arrangement. He has produced more than 800 and written more than 2000 published songs to-date, including some major hits in international scale.