Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Tips For Young Songwriters FAQ

Howdy! Welcome to Tips For Young Songwriters!

This blog is more than the mere ravings of a mad songwriter. I rave in response to readers' questions. And without a question from YOU, this blog just won't live up to its full potential. So send me your question!

But first, please look over the most frequently asked questions listed below. If your question has already been answered, then we both just saved ourselves some time! I do try to answer everyone who writes, but new and interesting questions get answered first.

So, to get right down to it...

If your question is about one of the articles I've already written, then post it as a comment. Just click the link at the bottom of the article that says "comment" and go from there. (You don't have to be a member to post your comment.)

Otherwise, you can email your question to me with this link: Send Me a Question!

Now, here is the FAQ list...

Part I - Questions about TFYS
(OK, so these are made up questions, but it's stuff you might want to know.)

Q. Who should ask questions here?
A. Anybody who wants to. Even though this is "Tips for Young Songwriters," the answers can get pretty sophisticated. I figure anyone who's been writing songs for less than 100 years is a young songwriter. But since I work with elementary students on songwriting, I try to make my answers understandable on that level.

Q. How long will it take to get an answer?
A. Who knows? Sometimes I answer right away. Sometimes it takes months, to tell you the truth. It depends on how busy I am at the moment, and whether or not I know right away how to answer your question. It also depends on whether your question has been answered already. (See above.) If I'm too slow for you, you are welcome to pester me with another email.

Part II - Questions about Songwriting

Q. Can you give me some good advice? How do I write a song?
A. Yes, I have been asked these questions many times, in various forms. My answer is - please, read this whole blog. Or get a book on songwriting from the library. Try to write a song or two. Then ask me a specific question.

Q. How can I become famous?
A. Is that REALLY what you want? You have to devote your every waking moment to it. I can't help you much, either. As you can see, I'm not really famous myself. But for some advice on this topic, see this post: Becoming Famous

Q. My songs aren't very good. What can I do about it?
A. Many people tell me their songs aren't very good. This is only to be expected, since you are a beginning songwriter! Start by changing what you tell yourself and others: instead of "My songs aren't good," say "I'm still learning." Say it out loud. Right now. There you go. Now check out these encouraging posts: Learn by Doing, You Can Write a Song. Then read the rest of this blog and practice, practice, practice your writing!


Anonymous said...


i'm 11 but for my school we're having a black and white production house 'music concert' and for each band we have to make 2 songs and the thing is my band is a rock band and we've written one song but since we only have 10 weeks till the actual concert is we need ideas for a new song but we're all lost for ideas! can you help?how can we think of topics?

Monty Harper said...

Hi Lucy,

Try this article: What to Write About.

Best of luck with your concert. Don't panic, ten weeks is plenty of time!

Rusty said...

Great Blog, Monty!

What are some of your favorite books ABOUT songwriting or tools to use as a songwriter? For example, do you use a Rhyming Dictionary? Which one?

Rock on!

Anonymous said...

errm Hay....Im frm N.Z on the other side of the world and was wondering...

How you can find out if A melody is already been used but you've totally just made it up on the spot??? I'm just beginning to write my own song and I was unsure if the melody was already in use...

Is it helpful if I listen to all types of music to see if it has been used or... use it any way..

Monty Harper said...

Hi New Zealand!

That's a great question. I posted a long answer on the blog - click here. Thanks!