Music Making - Stages of Songwriter Development

Let’s talk about music making.

Songwriters go through multiple stages of development as artists.

You probably started by learning to play other people’s songs.

At some point, you begin strumming chords and scribbling down lyrics.

Or plunking out tunes on your keyboard.

Those ideas turn into more ideas.

Soon you have part of a song, and then a whole song.

It keeps unfolding and unfolding.

This is the “PERFECTING YOUR CRAFT” stage of songwriting. You’re getting better at playing guitar, uke, or keyboards and your songs are hanging together.

There are lots of resources to help you in this stage.

  • You can take lessons for voice or on your instrument.

  • There are online songwriting groups and local meetup groups that provide feedback on your lyrics.

  • You can attend songwriter camps that give you an opportunity to interact with other songwriters.

  • Publications like American Songwriter have great articles about songwriting.

  • There are organizations for songwriters you can join like NAMM, National Association of Music Merchants)

We’ve created this handy guide, “Online Resources Every Songwriter Should Have” to make it easy to find and use resources.

The next phase is about “EXPRESSION.” As you begin to master your craft, you start sharing your music.

First, it may be with friends.

You may perform live.

The SELF EXPRESSION phase can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. It takes courage to perform your songs for others.

But when you enter the EXPRESSION phase, you begin to receive feedback on your songs. (and more importantly, you learn to ACCEPT feedback on your songs.

There is so much learning that happens in this phase. This is when you begin to “hear” your songs in your head. Your song is no longer a lyric on paper, it has movement, it builds, it has emotion.

It’s important during this phase to begin to understand more about how a song is “built.”

Now is the time to learn the details of WHY a song feels as though it is building. What instruments were used? What effects or overdubs were used?

You begin to UNDERSTAND what elements make a song have movement and emotion.

This can be accomplished through a focused effort and deep listening to songs that you like.

And you take advantage of a new algorithm, Music-&-Me™.

Music and Me, a musical DNA report, takes songs that you like and breaks them down so that you KNOW the instruments, the effects, the traits of the song. Music-&-Me™ fast forwards your ability to hear and UNDERSTAND song building and music-making.

Some artists move on to “EXPAND’ their audience.

Usually, you need a quality recording to take this step.

It is now after you have spent time perfecting your craft, expressing your songs to others, accepting feedback, and improving, that you are ready to record a song.

  • It could be that you record one song or that you create a CD.

  • You may want to send songs into Songwriting Contests, or

  • Perhaps you want to create a unique gift for your friends and family. Or,

  • Maybe you want to begin marketing and promoting your work.

When you’re ready to record a song, ItyDity can guide you through the process, and help you find a producer who matches well with your style and vibe. [Link to song production]

No matter what phase you are in, there are resources available to help you.


Read: Is it Feedback or Criticism?

Listen: To songs at various stages of production