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How to Critique Your Own Music More Objectively


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Artists often talk about being “too close” to their own work, being so immersed in the process of making music that they know longer have a strong sense of whether the work is good. Philosophically speaking, that’s a worry for another time. During a show or a recording session isn't the time to be concerned about your musical legacy or the objective quality of what you’re doing. When you’re out there onstage, or in a vocal booth tracking leads, you need to be focused on delivering your best performance, not worrying about how everybody might receive it.

But there are times in the creative process when you need to self-edit, decide what projects are worth pursuing, and change what doesn’t work. There are times when you might want to listen to the opinions of others, even others who critique music as part of their work. Here are some hints to help pull back from that closeness and be your own best critic.

How to Write Lyrics for the First Time

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Musicians' jobs keeps getting broader. You might be a guitar player, but you’ll probably end up a mastering engineer, booking agent, and chief negotiator, too. One other thing you’ll probably be called upon to do sooner or later is write some lyrics. Even cover bands usually work in a few originals, and most bands that make it big focus on writing their own material.

Lots of players bring riffs and ideas to the table but don’t feel as comfortable with the written word. How do you start writing lyrics, especially with no background in poetry or prose beyond writing research papers in school? Try these methods on for size.

4 Things They Don't Tell You About a Career in Songwriting

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This article originally appeared on CliffGoldmacher.com.

 

Since songwriters don’t get an orientation day when they start out, I thought I’d welcome you newcomers to the trade with a few things you probably haven’t been told or thought of yet. My intention here is not – is never – to discourage you but, rather, to help set your expectations so you can get on with the business of making your way along the path to a career in songwriting.

Why Every Songwriter Should Have a Hookbook

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If you've been creative for any length of time, you've noticed that things tend to ebb and flow. You can have an incredibly productive month (or two, or three) and then be tapped out for ideas for a little while. It happens to everybody. Pro writers are able to sidestep that issue by having something called a “hookbook.” A hook is nothing more than an idea – usually a song title, but it could be a guitar lick or melody line. Here's what you need to know about starting your very own hookbook.

3 Ways to Use Voice Leading to Improve Your Songwriting

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Most songwriters wouldn’t think of using classical composition techniques like voice leading in their songwriting. Modern songs typically use fairly simple chord progressions, so why over-complicate things with outdated compositional techniques? When you think about it, though, voice leading actually has a lot to offer, even in the simplest song settings.