5 Reasons Co-Writing Will Make You A Better Songwriter

Jon Ostrow on Feb 27, 2012


Keith Richards and Mick Jagger writing songs for 'Exile On Main Street'

When it comes to writing songs, the opinions about co-writing span both sides of the spectrum. Some love it, some hate it. Some strongly advice it, some strongly advice against it.

The reality is that every songwriter has their own process and thus a co-writing collaboration may work for some, while never working for others. You really need to understand yourself as songwriting before you can decide if this is right for you and your creative process.
However, the fact remains that some of the most successful music of all time has been the creation of co-writing teams:

  • John Lennon & Paul McCartney (The Beatles)
  • Jimmy Page & Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin)
  • Keith Richards & Mick Jagger (The Rolling Stones)
  • Donald Fagan & Walter Becker (Steely Dan)
  • Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel (Simon & Garfunkel)

… just to name a few. So you may want to give a co-songwriting collaboration a try and see if it works for you!

But you may ask, why is co-writing so effective? Well then, let's take a look below at these 5 important benefits to your songwriting that a co-writing collaboration can offer:

1. Opportunity to be influenced by a different process

Each songwriter has their own natural songwriting process. Sometimes these processes work very well, but other times there is much room for improvement. Co-writing is a great opportunity for you to improve upon your own process by seeing how another approaches the same song - what works and what doesn't work - and to adopt some of these new writing techniques.

2. One man's garbage is another man's treasure

You may have songs you either dislike or can't finish that your songwriting partner may see something in and can help to turn into something unique and special.

3. Opens new doors to try new things and create new sounds

Just like your own process, as discussed above, every songwriting develops their own style and sound. Working with another songwriting can help you to see things in a different light, and to possibly try new things that you may not have otherwise even thought of, helping you to achieve a new, diverse sound.

4. Critiques are more effective

An important part of the songwriting process is to critique your work, to find out what may be helping the song to strive, or what may be holding it back from succeeding, and to tweak it's structure for the better. Doing this yourself is important, but working with a co-writer offers you the opportunity to put a new set of eyes on the song and to actively and openly discuss all parts of the song. Again, this may lead to seeing things differently and help you to open new doors to tweak your song (or not tweak your song) for the better.

5. It can be fun, helping your creativity to flow!

While some songwriters prefer to do it themselves because their songs may be deeply personal and/ or introspective, there is no doubt that a collaborative effort can be fun and exciting. Working with another offers the opportunity to piggy-back off each other's excitement and energy which will show in the music.

Share Your Co-Writing Experiences!

These are some of the obvious benefits that many co-writing partnerships have had, but as mentioned above, everyone's songwriting process is different. Let us know what experiences you've had with co-writing, good or bad, as it may help others to approach the idea with more understanding of how to do so properly!

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