How to have a successful songwriting session


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01-05-2011, 02:50 AM
Ok, so this is something that I think goes overlooked by many bands who write original material. When it comes to songwriting sessions, how do have an effective and useful one?

Should you have a list of rules to adhere to during the sessions? For example, to stay focused, to not "pussyfoot" about what you don't like, to be mature enough to handle a bandmate's adherence to the "no pussyfooting" rule.

Post your opinions here! I think this will be very useful to many amateur band members, including myself.

01-05-2011, 09:02 AM
I wouldn't say I have any 'rules' as such, but yes there is a certain level of focus and productivity that is expected during a practice/songwriting sessions.
The only thing really that gets on my nerves is when someone bails to play Xbox or something similar when we're making some serious progress with a song or an idea. :p:

But yes this thread could prove helpful for many of us including myself,

01-05-2011, 10:16 AM
I don't think ive ever used the term "pussyfooting", but yeah thats a rule of ours.

That and we try not to jam it out TOO much. We give ourselves some time to think in silence. It seems to work for us. haha

01-05-2011, 01:47 PM
We pretty much have to stop ourselves from just jamming endless ideas.

In 5 minutes me and my band (musically this is, not lyrically) can end up hitting up at least 5 really cool ideas for a something. But the problem is that we never assign that to anything.

So we have to really think like if one of us has an idea, we'll all build on it piece by piece.

This ends up with some cool ideas.

01-05-2011, 03:09 PM
My band tends not to have writing session, just write stuff on our own and then just play it to the other band members and we all contribute on how it could be improved etc.

01-05-2011, 04:16 PM
the only rule we have is to always record... I don't think we need any other rules, there has never been a problem with our jamming, and no one really complains about any of our own original suff....

01-05-2011, 09:11 PM
Since I'm the primary songwriter, it ends up being to where I come in with a song, the band makes their parts, and we edit the song based on other ideas from the band members.

01-06-2011, 06:41 PM
We tend to jam on one chord for a very long time, I usually try to take things into a more Jimi Hendrix/Band of Gypsys turn, while our bassist is a huge black keys fan, and those two styles always seem to go together beautifully, and so our songs often have often had a long jam feel to them, but I'm fine with that. Often, the stuff people like the most at our gigs are songs that we came up with individually, with other band members helping out here and there. we are a bunch of beatniks, so we don't ever tend to go to video games, because the only person in the band with a normal amount of income from his folks is the drummer. We are a 3 piece, just me, bass player, and drummer.

01-06-2011, 09:52 PM
i agree, my band has a problem with the maturity level too

01-08-2011, 12:50 AM
The way it works with my band is, the other guitar player (and anybody else that wants to) contributes some ideas, and I write the music, incorporating those ideas with my own when I can. Then I send it to everyone, and they tell me to fuck off. So I rework things, make it more useable. Then send it around again. "Fuck off Danny". Rework. Eventually we'll all be happy with the basic song. Then they all disregard that and write their own parts. Then we "jam it out" and the whole thing changes more. Then vocals get added, and we change it even more to make room for that.

By the end of all that, we're all happy, and it seems to work for us. :shrug:

01-08-2011, 10:56 AM
This is really hard, because it is *really* difficult to, say, "okay, it's 11am on Saturday morning, so I'll try to write something now." You can't time inspiration. At least I can't, and I'm sure I'm not alone.

In the few times I have co-written with someone, this kinda worked:

Get inspiration on your own time during the week. Something hits you on Tuesday at 2am. Perfect. Write it down, play it into your cell phone, whatever.

So when your friend does arrive on Saturday morning for your writing session, you have some ideas. You're not both just sitting there going, "so what do you want to do?" "I don't know, what do YOU want to do?"

We called these ideas "seeds." They're nothing, really, on their own, but with a little attention and nurturing, can potentially grow into something great. Use your writing time with your friend to fertilize and water the seeds. Some will grow. Some will not.


01-08-2011, 05:22 PM
Generally, it's me and our lead guitarist who write most of it. I do the vocals, then he writes the lead and rhythm guitar parts, we all add feedback, our drummer does whatever he wants (which includes walking out on us -______-) and then we put it all together and rework it. We don't have a bassist at the moment.