In this series of posts we explore musicality: what it means to be “musical”.
Writing music has a certain mystique, like it is a musical skill that only the most dedicated and sometimes obsessive musicians can master. Maybe you imagine some dusty man with a powdered wig hunched over a mahogany desk, a slender quill pen quickly dipping into an engraved ink well, notes filling manuscript after manuscript of cryptic melodies and chords. Or maybe you envision a sleep-deprived guitarist slaving over the last few lines of her hit song in the wee hours of the morning. Any musician that wants to develop their musicality should write music. And the reality is that any musician (and yes, that means you) can write music.
Let me repeat that – any musician can write music!
What is writing music?
When you write music, you could be developing the lyrics to a song, a piano solo, a film score, a pop tune or a symphony. For example, a composer may create an entire score to a popular video game, a string quartet, or even a ringtone. A songwriter might fill pages and pages of original melodies for a Broadway musical. A band could take a few improvised jam sessions and create an album’s worth of rocking songs.
Writing music isn’t some sort of magical skill that is unattainable. It is a musical skill that you can learn, just like you learned scales or how to sing in tune. To write a song, you don’t even have to be creative (at first). Any accomplished songwriter or composer has dozens, or even hundreds, of musical ideas that never made it past illegible chicken scratches in their worn sketchbook. You just need to start.
Why is writing music important?
Back in the day, and by “the day” I mean back when Mozart was still spinning Top 40 hits in the halls of Salzburg, every musician learned how to write music. It was important to develop musicality in composition. Music theory, composition, performance – a trifecta of good musicianship.
Today a musician is just as likely to have a computer create their beats as they are to write the music themselves. But learning how to write music works on your creative imagination, musicality, and improvisational skills. It is a practical way to practice good music theory and have a much deeper understanding of music.
Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of writing music is experiencing true musical expression. When a flautist performs a work of Mozart, they ultimately can express the emotions of the composer through their performance. But when you can take that bad break-up (joy over your kid being born, or the pain of loss…) and transform it into a musical work that someone else can experience and enjoy, then you have transcended mere musicality. Music seems to exist on another plane, ripping into the soul through melody, harmony, and rhythm. And this is perhaps the one reason that any musician should write music.
How to write music?
Before you can write music you must learn music. You can do this through piano lessons, learning voice, picking up an instrument like the guitar or drums, or even sitting on your computer to eek out some new electronica. But you need to know music, to experience music, and even perform music, before you can write it. It is this ability to perform someone else’s music that will help you develop true musicality.
Instrumental to learning how to write music is developing a good overall understanding of ear training and music theory. Not everyone that writes music does it by ear, knows how to transcribe music, or even uses notation software. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Maybe it is easier for you to jam a little on your guitar, improvising lyrics to a new song, or maybe you prefer sitting on a piano armed with little more than pencil and paper. But it doesn’t matter. There are no set ways to write music. And what is most important is that you just write!
How Musical U Helps you Write Music
At Musical U we focus strongly on helping musicians develop their musicality with in-depth skills-based music modules on key skills like writing music, improvising, ear training, understanding popular chord progressions, performance, and even singing. Musical U develops the whole musician, working on each aspect of your musicality.
Writing music, like any skill, involves practice. And sometimes starting the journey by yourself can be frustrating. Fortunately at Musical U a trained team of talented musicians will guide you though helpful learning modules and exercises designed to help you learn what you need to compose and write songs. You are never alone – the interactive message boards include other musicians who are on the same journey, ready to offer your helpful tips and tricks that have helped them succeed.
You can work on any skill that you need help on, from in-depth training in major and minor chords, chord progressions, interval training, syncopation, singing, and melody, to insightful modules developed to help you overcome the pitfalls of performance. Learn the basics of notation and how to transcribe music. Develop your ear training skills. Avoid frustration by engaging with Musical U staff and peers in a friendly and convenient online environment.
Musicality means… Writing Music
Join the rank of talented musicians who write music and songs that affect generations to come. Share your soul through melody and take the first steps towards writing music.
Learning to write music works on your musicality, testing your limits on improvisation, music theory, melody, harmony, and rhythm. Train your ears, and write everyday. It only takes passion and a little musical skill to write your first masterpiece. So why don’t you pick up a pen and give it a try!
Want to become more musical?
Whether you want to sing in tune, play by ear, improvise, write your own songs, perform more confidently or just make faster progress, first you need to know where you're starting from.
The Musicality Checklist will quickly reveal your personal musicality profile and how you can improve your natural musicianship.
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Musical U provides in-depth training modules, an easy-to-use personalised planning system, a friendly and supportive community, and access to expert help whenever you need it.