As human beings, we all have the need to connect with others. Songwriting is a beautiful way to communicate emotions and express ourselves. It can even inspire others to start composing music as well.

Good songwriting requires hard work, time, and commitment. Early in your songwriting practice, especially when facing obstacles and major roadblocks, it’s easy to fall for common myths that discourage aspiring composers. This explains why many give up before they even start.

Don’t get caught up in these misconceptions! Let’s address them so you can stay motivated and learn how to write great music.

Myth #1. Songwriting is magic and songwriters are born magicians.

Often, what we think of as “talent” does facilitate some ability to write “good” music, but it doesn’t mean that only those with a “natural gift” can make their music work. As you might recall, we’ve discussed talent in the past and know that talent doesn’t make a musician a musician – practice does.

Have you heard of Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell? Gladwell’s theory explains that the key to becoming successful at anything is to practice it for 10,000 hours. Only then can a person actually be considered as “talented” at something.

Everyone is different. Not all of us need to get 10,000 hours of songwriting experience to make great songs. But if you want to be a truly accomplished songwriter, you need to practice. It’s the only way to hone your craft. Dive in and explore without being misled by thinking that songwriters can simply weave songs out of some magical music threads.  

Myth #2. You need to be a great instrumentalist to write great songs.

Knowing your instrument is a good way to improve your songwriting skills. However, you don’t have to become advanced in playing the instrument. In fact, many great songwriters have been just average or decent players.

The skill of a songwriter is not the same skill as being proficient on a musical instrument. Rather, it’s communication: the ability to breathe emotions into words and music that can connect with other people.

Myth #3. Music theory harms creativity.

Many people tend to think of music theory as a set of rules that they need to follow. This is a wrong approach. If you study theory the right way, it helps support your creativity.

You should think of music theory as a collective experience – a set of procedures and tricks gathered by past composers that, when used appropriately, can turn your musical idea into a complete piece. Start by learning more about the core concepts of music theory and discover how they can aid you in your music composition.

Myth #4. Good music needs to be complicated and have hidden meanings.

There’s a fine line between applying the right amount of music studies into songwriting and overdoing it. Things like advanced concepts, techniques, and lyric complexity don’t necessarily make a song “good.” Your music isn’t a thesis paper. If you try to cram all the big theories you’ve learned in your song, it’ll become forced and unnatural.

What makes a song “good” is if it achieves what the songwriter intended artistically. Don’t confuse obscurity with sophistication. Seek to connect with others rather than alienate. Write the music that makes sense to you.

Learning how to write music is a life-enriching experience. Songwriting not only implies a great desire to express oneself, but it also denotes a need to connect intended emotions to a wide audience. Instead of falling into these songwriting misconception traps, go on and let your creativity fly!

Need help with starting your songwriting adventure? Join Musical U today to gain access to valuable resources and a supportive community that can help develop your craft and let your musical strengths shine.