Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Getting Started as a Christian Songwriter

"The secret of getting ahead is getting started." - Mark Twain

One of the first questions I get from new songwriters is "How do I get started as a Christian songwriter?" to which I reply, "Well, have you written anything?"

If the answer is no, then we move to Step One.

Step One. Write something.

This may sound silly, but I meet many people who think they may want to be a Christian songwriter. Not sure why. God told them to, they like the way Christian songs make them or others feel, or they just know someone else who is and want to try it for themselves. (Oh yeah, and probably for the massive income!! Yeah!)

Maybe you have never attempted to write anything. So first things first. Write something. Not so easy you say? Poppycock! Just write some words, play a chord on the piano or guitar, and sing them. Boom you are a songwriter. See how easy life can be?

Now of course, this is not all there is to songwriting, but dang you gotta start somewhere. We all did! (See how I started? >>)

But let's say you're a little more advanced than this. On to Step Two.

Step Two. Make a Demo.
(Optional Step Two A. Perform your song in public, or for at least one person (dogs and cats don't count).

So, you are a beginning songwriter, but if a Christian writes a song in a forest does it make a sound?

You have to SHOW someone you are a songwriter, and the way to do that is to make a demo. Or perform it for someone. Until then you are just someone telling themselves and others they are a songwriter.

Now, if you don't have the capability to play an instrument you'll need help (see "Solutions for Non-Playing Songwriters" here), but if you can accompany yourself even simply then find a way to record it. If you have any kind of Mac (including iPhone or iPad) you have absolutely no excuse since each have the easy to use Garageband. If you have a PC, Audacity is a free audio program.

Worst case? Take a video with your phone of yourself playing and singing the song and put it on Youtube for goodness sake!

Or, find a pro studio (or friend) that can record you and your song cleanly and simply. Do not splurge for extra production at this point.

Step Three. Show the World.

We talked a lot about this in our recent post "Write Show, Repeat", but you have to let the world know about your song.

Performing it or posting it online is a great start, but if your goal is to be a writer only and not performer, then you need an artist or artists to carry your song to the world. Find artists around you who need songs. Make it your mission to seek out and find artists that need songs and be their muse.

Folks who make a living as a professional songwriter do not achieve that by playing their own songs, but by having other people record and perform their songs.

This is where we get into the more complicated and hard work of music publishing, so I will stop here with this info for beginners, but to read more on that check out "5 Steps to Getting Your Music Published".

Have a great week and keep writing!

Eric Copeland has been a songwriter since he was 13 and started banging away at the piano (much to his mother's chagrin. Don't worry, she's happy now that he gives her lots of music in her retirement!)

Are you a songwriter and an artist? Creative Soul provides a full service, label-like set of services for Christian artists at http://www.CreativeSoulOnline.com

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Eric Copeland is an author, producer, keyboardist, songwriter, and president of Creative Soul Companies. What is Creative Soul? Our main goals are to inform, encourage, and assist Christian creative folks in ministry, no matter where they are in their journey. Thanks for reading! Find out more about us at http://www.CreativeSoulOnline.com