I am aware that some songwriters neither sing nor play an instrument, however, the vast majority do at least a bit of both. And while I would never recommend doing anything that would be daunting or might put you or your songs in a bad light, I think there are some very compelling reasons why most of us should find a way to perform our own songs from time to time. .
1. You will work harder to improve your composition
There’s nothing like the specter of an upcoming performance at a local writers night to inspire us to give our songs one final review or tweak. Unfortunately, leaving a song in a “good enough” state is tempting if you have no reason to refine and edit it. Knowing that you represent yourself and your songs definitely matter for that reason.
2. You will be motivated to finish your songs
People often ask me how I know when one of my songs is over. There’s no simple answer here, but I can promise you’ll be sure to get a whole lot closer to the end if you know you’re going to be performing your song live. This is a good thing because most of us tend to visit – and revisit – our songs a little more often than necessary instead of prioritizing finishing them and moving on to the next one.
3. You’ll see how your songs perform in the real world
The writing room is a magical and – let’s be honest – secluded place that’s pretty much essential for songwriters to have the calm and focus to create. However, other than your collaborators – if you have any – there aren’t many opportunities to comment on your songs in this context. Bringing your songs to the world by performing them will give you instant and incredibly powerful feedback on what’s working – and not working – in your songs. In my experience, lines that I thought would work well sometimes didn’t work, and lines that I thought were uninspired got a big reaction from the audience. You’ll never know until you try your songs live.
4. Playing live is another way to get your songs out there
We all know that putting in the effort to pitch our songs is, to say the least, a lot of work. Early in my career, I was ridiculously guilty of writing way too many songs before I even made the effort to pitch them. Performing your songs live is a great way to get your feet wet by showing your songs to others. Think of it as a way to build the momentum and confidence you’ll need to actively launch your song catalog.
For the record, I’m not suggesting that you schedule a full set of your own songs at a local club, but rather that you commit to playing a song at an open mic or writers night, which is more to typical songwriter music. level of comfort. If you’ve never performed your songs live, make it your long-term goal and take the time to work on your singing and playing. It’s never wasted effort.
Cliff Goldmacher is a GRAMMY recognized songwriter, music producer and author with recording studios in Nashville, TN and Sonoma, CA. Through his studios, Cliff offers songwriters outside of Nashville virtual, live access to Nashville’s top session musicians and demo singers for their songwriting demos. Learn more. You can also download Cliff’s FREE tip sheet “A Dozen Quick Fixes to Instantly Improve Your Songs”.