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The festive break - we’re referring to post Christmas here - is a time when time itself can lull. If you’re not back to work yet, then you have some time on your hands to delve into activities you otherwise wouldn’t have time for. Reading is something which while you may love to do it, you might not necessarily have the time to snuggle up with a good book.
If songwriting is something you want to work on in the New Year, then do we have a belated Christmas gift for you! We’ve brought together our top 3 songwriting books you should read over the festive break and into the New Year.
1. Tunesmith by Jimmy Webb
Tunesmith is arguable the bible for all songwriters, a book which – if you haven’t already – you should read, and if you’re currently reading another songwriter’s book chances are, they’ve read Webb’s book too.
Within this edition Webb explores the various tools of the songwriting trade. Drawing on his years of experience, Webb compiles anecdotes and advice to aspiring songwriters, he uses lots of examples from his vast list of songs to illustrate the various techniques introduced in his book. What’s more he breaks down the creative process and uses a wealth of analogies to explain how to effectively use structure.
And if you only have enough time to read one book this festive break, let it be this one.
2. Writing Better Lyrics by Pat Pattison
Like Jimmy Webb, Pat Pattison is a key figure within the songwriting world. Lyric writing and poetry professor at Berklee College of Music, there’s no denying he has a way with words. In his book Writing Better Lyrics he focuses on the idea of congruence, where every aspect of the song - e.g. rhyme type, structure, line length and number of lines - works together to support the lyrical and emotional intent of the song. He also includes lots exercises and song evaluations to help the aspiring songwriter further work on their lyric writing skills.
3. The Art of Songwriting by Andrew West
The Art of Songwriting takes a more academic and observational stance on how songwriters write. The book gives songwriters everything they need to know, from how to write to developing and marketing your songs – this edition is the fundamental guide in how to turn your songwriting into a career. Songwriting professor at Leeds College of Music, Andrew West explores the likes of collaborations, best ways of learning, structure, lyric writing and how other writers write.
Songwriting, and discovering your creative process, is important. The more you read and practice the quicker it’ll be to find your writing voice. So, during the festive break, snuggle up with a good ol’ songwriting book and you may end up feeling more than a little inspired.
Photo by Eli Francis on Unsplash
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