After a year(s) of songwriting, you may find that your songs aren't feeling as fresh as they once did. Whether it's the lyrics, the melodies or simply the chord progressions that you use, once your process begins to feel stale, you need to find a way to diversify your songwriting to keep your new music interesting.
Thankfully, the secret to a fresh, diversified sound doesn't have to be an extreme music makeover. There are many simple tweaks that you can employ to your songwriting process that can give your songs the lively feel you're looking for.
1. Write with a different instrument
Many songwriters like to write with a specific instrument, such as a guitar or a piano, but many times this leads to close-minded approach to new songs. If you're used to writing with a piano, you may hear your songs, as you write them, as played with a piano. If you write with a guitar, same situation can happen. Over time a trend in your songwriting will start to appear, so a simple way to diversify your songwriting is to simply change it up! If you use piano, try guitar. If you typically use two guitars, for lead and rhythm, try substituting one of the guitars for something else like a horn or a piano.
2. Replace your usual chords with something more interesting
A great way to make your songs sound more lively and fresh is to simply work note by note, or chord by chord. Take a chorus hook, or a harmony, and map out the chords that you are using and strategically replace a few notes that don't take away the feeling you were looking for, but rather add a bit of spice to the sound you had already written. You'd be amazed at how a subtle change, such as replacing a major 3rd with a minor 3rd in certain situations can add a unique feeling to music that otherwise feels flat and stale.
3. Change the starting point of your songwriting approach
Sometimes getting out of your groove and diversifying your songwriting is as simple as changing up your usual process to piecing a song together. If you typically write lyrics first and then place music to them, try to start with the music first and write lyrics to match the mood, tone and style. And of course, the opposite would also work if you typically start with the music first.
4. Listen to different music in order to gain some outside inspiration
Your unique sound and approach to songwriting is heavily influenced by the music you listen to. An obvious way to diversify your songwriting is to step outside your usual box of inspiration by listening to different music. If you're looking for recommendations of different music based on what you already listen to, I suggest checking out Last.fm which can do just that.
5. Write lyrics from a different perspective
Similar to approaching your songwriting process different as we discussed above, a great way to diversify your songwriting is to approach your lyrics from a different perspective. If you typically write in third person, trying writing from first person and vice versa. This simple tweak can create an entirely new feeling for your songs and could even help you to tell the stories that you just haven't been able to produce in the past.
How have you diversified your songwriting?
Although the five ideas outlined above will all work wonders for diversifying your stale sound into something fresh and unique, there are many, many more ways to accomplish this. For the benefit of the community, leave any suggestions or ideas that you have used to successfully (or unsuccessfully) diversify your songwriting.