I've been in this rut for what seems like years; but how does one practice songwriting exactly? I try to experiment with guitar pro and mess with stuff but I can never get anything solid together; whether it be the parts in the guitar or when combing multiple guitars or the drums. One common issue I have is getting rhythms down. I can never exactly transcribe a complex guitar rhythm with dotted notes and ties across measures from my head. Because of that I'm always stuck trying to play everything in eighth notes or sixteenth notes. I've been trying to figure out how to get out of this especially because I'm planning to take classes in college related to composition. What should I be doing to start building my skills as a songwriter, not just as a guitarist?
Last edited by Nightwolf197 at Jul 11, 2011,
Different people have different approaches to songwriting. To practice songwriting you gotta work on whatever it is that is blocking you from expressing what you want to express or creating what you wanna create. If you issue is with getting rhythms down then that's what you gotta get your head around. Taking classes and working on theory is sure to help, but also just spend time playing around with it. Try opening a program with virtual instruments such as logic or pro tools and try programming in the same rhythm as you played on the guitar, that way you can hear it back + if you can transcribe it in the piano role, it can automatically be converted to score form. More than anything else though it's just writing songs, more and more + being able to look at them objectively and critically. For my songwriting practice atm I'm writing, recording and producing a new song each week for 6 months, you can check it out at youtube.com/helmutuhlmann if you're interested.
But the thing is I don't know what's stopping me exactly. Your idea is very helpful for working on my rhythms, but I don't think that's the only thing stopping me from writing songs since I could just write them in eighth notes, right? Maybe it's my approach to the songs and not being able to approach the song from other perspectives besides the guitar parts. This is where I get lost in my attempts to work on my songwriting -_-
Yeah, you could just write them in eighths.... nothing wrong with that. This way it gets you to focus on creating a melody within that note time frame.

An exercise i give my students (over a few weeks) is just straight 8th note exercises... I use this to describe rhythm creation. So each week, you add a tie to a note... this changes the feel (obviously)... and as it goes on.. the ties get more... and I take notes out and replace it with rests.

You can then shuffle them 8ths to help you work in a triplet environment... or you could just double the tempo (or half time the suckers) which will create the illusion of 16ths... and the ties and rests you created over two bars with 8ths now becomes one bar... and more complicated rhythms take place.

Just a suggestion... use it, don't use it...