MUSIC BED TIPS
Tip 1. Combine Two Songs
For this songwriting tip, I'm not saying copy a song, but... two!?!
They say creativity is nothing more than combining two or more ideas. So, if you are super low on creativity, try picking two songs that you like already and combine elements from both into your new track. You could pick a chord or two chords from one song and a chord or two from another (choose relative chords if they are in a different key).
Tap a beat on your desk to see if you can get a rhythm going. Sing half of a phrase from one song and a half from another. See if you can put some variation on the melody to go with your new chord progression and voila, an original tune.
Tip 2. Find New Sounds
You might have noticed the most popular songs these days usually have a very unique sound that tickles your ears. First, you can try scrolling through loops in your DAW, presets of a new virtual instrument, or even try sampling the sound of an instrument, or household item and transforming that into something original inside of a sampler.
Most DAWs have some sort of sampler, but for even more sound warping abilities I recommend getting a plugin with granular synthesis capabilities that can mangle your sound into some original ear candy. An affordable sound warping solution is Phaseplant by Kilohearts. It's an expensive plugin on its own, but in the 9.99/mo full plugin bundle, it's a steal!
Tip 3. Use Virtual Instrument Songwriting Plugins 😲
Need random inspiration for your music track? There are plugins and resources available to quickly choose chord progressions for your songs. Try using virtual instruments like Scaler 2, Captain Chords, or Orb Producer.
Tip 4.Take a Break from Songwriting
This songwriting tip probably sounds like the most idiotic, but when my mind is trying to be in too many places at once I get distracted and can't focus. Often just putting the phone down and doing something relaxing gives my mind a chance to reset and come up with new ideas on it's own. Some things I do for this are, exercise (I know I said relaxing, but it gives me a sense of peace), meditation, going for a walk, swimming, drinking tea, and my favorite... taking a hot shower or bath. Singing in the shower is a thing for a reason.
Tip 5. Modify Your Song's Music Bed
Try mixing up your chord progressions with different variations of the same chord with a new note added. Seven chords if you are feeling jazzy or classic hip hop, sus4 and sus2 for some epicness, and, chords with a 6th to confuse people. Seriously, play those chords, and then resolve them to kickstart a melodic idea.
Tip 6. Force Your Performance to the Key
I feel like I said this tip already, but use plugins or functions in your DAW. Some tools will allow you to play in key regardless of the notes you push on your keyboard. This gives you the ability to play rhythmically and go up and down the scale based on the feel of your performance and leave the musical accuracy to the software.
If you don't have a keyboard, you could try singing on a track, then use a plugin like Melodyne to export the MIDI data from your vocal to play a virtual instrument in the song's key on a new track.
Tip 7. Speak in Tongues?
Try recording your melody by singing nonsensical words that sound cool. Play your recording back and see if you can replace those sounds with actual words that fit the melody.
Tip 8. Find a Purpose, Cause, or Emotion
If there is something important to you that you want other people to feel, or know about, choose it as the focus of the song. You can then expand on that idea by combining it with another purpose, cause, emotion, or point of view. Even choosing conflicting ideas could result in something new and brilliant.
Tip 9. Rewrite a Story
This is one is the simplest ways to write lyrics. So many of my early songs were about heartbreak, a cliche, I know... But you could just as easily choose your favorite book, film, or article and blend that concept through an alternative outcome, your own experiences, or even someone else's to come up with something original and intriguing.
Tip 10. Clean Your Room
Ok, this tip isn't so much about songwriting, but if you have a cluttered workspace or chores that you need to do, then those things are also taking up valuable space in the back of your mind somewhere. Clean your room and you'll have more processing power to get important things done.