Songwriting Techniques 10: Collaboration

For the final post of the Songwriting Techniques series we are going to look at different approaches to collaboration.

1. If you are writing with a band, make sure that everyone is involved and sharing ideas and thoughts. Encourage each other to play different parts, this not only helps develop the song, but also it develops each individuals playing ability and the art of playing composing and performing with other musicians.

2. Go to second hand record shops and charity shops — buy something random that you wouldn’t normally buy, ask a member of staff to choose or recommend you something or listen to what they are playing in the shop – you never know, you might just stumble upon something inspirational or a new genre you have not considered before. The experience of a physical record can also be much more engaging than the infinite skipping possibilities of streaming.

3. When working with session musicians, there are times when it is necessary to let them put their own stamp on a recording or performance. While you will probably expect them to stick to the part you have written for them, sometimes a musician will have suggestions of how to enhance and you should always consider these ideas.

4. With a songwriting partner, you could each try having a different role in the composition of two different pieces of music. One approach could be that each person writes an instrumental outline for a track, before giving this to the other person to complete through the composition of a melody, writing lyrics or developing the harmony, structure or instrumentation as they see fit.

5. The Internet is a great tool for collaboration, here are a few ways you could look to take advantage of new creative opportunities:

- Remix competitions: many artists share the stems from their songs for remix competitions often with great prizes and exposure for the best entires. This is a great way for music lovers to find you through artists they already love.

- File storage: can be used to share large audio files between band members and songwriters worldwide.

- Forums: can be a good place to meet other songwriters and music lovers to discuss anything from new artists that you might like to check out to what equipment is best for you to use in your setup.

- Samples: there are a number of websites that offer large collections of free samples that you can use in your tracks, for example, Music Radar has a big catalogue available.