All a songwriter needs for writing a song is something to note it down, and a vivid imagination with an ability to connect to the emotions of people with your words. However, having a few useful things handy adds up to it right? Thus, here are 5 essential tools for a songwriter.
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1. A Pocket Notebook
A pocket notebook or diary. You should always carry one in your pocket so that you can note things down anywhere anytime. Be it song ideas, words, phrases, or whatever. While you can do the same with a note-taking app on your phone, having a diary gives you more freedom in terms on writing, because you can brainstorm easily, illustrate some things if needed, etc.
Evernote is a must have app for every songwriter. You can use the default notes and voice recorder apps to note down or record your ideas, but Evernote makes it a lot easier. The main reason being, it’s not just a text-based note-taking app. Whenever you have a song idea, you can write it down, record your voice, add pictures, scribble, in the same place. So whenever you are working on a song, you don’t have to switch from app to app, you have all the notes and recordings at one place.
3. Sheets of Paper
These are optional, but having a few large sheets of paper comes in handy when you are about to start writing a song. The main use is for brainstorming. It can be done in a notebook too, but it’s far better when done on a sheet of paper graphically. And you will need a large sheet, because once you start brainstorming, a lot of words and phrases start coming in your mind. I don’t have anything else to say about it, but personally I’ve experienced that graphical brainstorming on a sheet of paper is more effective than just writing down words in a notebook or something like that.
4. A DAW
A DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) is a software used for producing music. Even if you are not producing your songs all by yourself, you should have a DAW. The reason is same as having the Evernote app, but with even more details to it. While you can take notes, voice recordings, and work on your song without a DAW, having one will help you visualise your song more clearly beacause you can add beats, different instruments, record multiple vocal tracks, and listen to how the whole thing sounds. You don’t have to become a master at it, just learn the basics so that you can save your instrumental ideas and work on details. Some good options are: Avid Pro Tools First and Cakewalk by Bandlab. Both of them are free. Keep one in your phone too so that you can use it anywhere anytime. If you’re an Android user, Bandlab is a good option; and Garageband for ios users.
What’s the use of noting down and recording hundreds of ideas if you might accidentally loose them? It does happen sometimes. It has happened to me and I felt like my heart was ripped out. I had almost 150 notes on my phone and they got deleted accidentally. All of them. What happened was; all my notes got cloned multiple times due to some bug. I started deleting all the clones just to find out in the end that not just the clones, but every single note got deleted. I was a fool for not having backed up the data. So always have a backup of all your notes, recordings, etc. I wrote Dropbox because I use it; you can use any cloud service you like. Out of the most essential tools for a songwriter, a cloud backup service is a must have.
That’s some of the most essential tools for a songwriter! If there are other tools that you find useful, please share it in the comments so that others can check them out too. Thank you.
Also check out: 5 songwriting exercise to write better songs