Song writing is a lot of work, as any of the masters will tell you. It takes concentration, a good ear, and a fast mind. Luckily, these days there are a ton of technological tools that can help song writers develop their craft and write better songs.
Here’s a look at a few tech tools that every songwriter should own.
1. Digital personal recorders – Personal recorders have been around for a while now, but modern digital recorders have exceptional fidelity, letting songwriters record jam sessions with bands and later pick out individual parts, or transfer recordings via USB onto a PC for transfer and distribution. Granted, most personal recorders aren’t going to make a good enough recording to sell, but there are some that can come pretty close, and as any songwriter knows, inspiration can hit anywhere–always have a personal recorder within grabbing distance to record melodies or lyrics that might suddenly just come to you. One good inexpensive voice recorder is the RCA 256MB RP5120.
2. Drum machine software – Drum machines have been the songwriter’s best friend for a while, too, but they’re extremely expensive, and as any working musician knows, money’s not always plentiful. Drum machine software like FL Studio 7 can provide well rounded drum machines, with expandable sound samples and an easy to use interface, letting songwriters test out their songs with a virtual rhythm section on the same machine that they do their main recordings on. Putting a band-quality demo together is fairly simple with one of these programs, which often include audio recording features as well.
3. Music notation software – For arrangers and songwriters that prefer complete control over their songs, music notation software is a great way to put together different instrument parts and test them out before using real in-studio musicians. Finale is probably the most famous music notation software around, and simulates the sound of different instruments using MIDI. These types of programs are often fairly inexpensive, costing about $30-40.
4. Music communities – Communities such as Indabamusic.com are absolutely fantastic for songwriters, because they let songwriters get criticized. Any good songwriter should be ready for some criticism, as well as some kind words, and these online communities encourage songwriters to work together and give each other feedback on songs in progress. There’s no better way to learn what works and doesn’t work about your songs, and if you receive the occasional bad comment, ignore it–but if you notice a trend forming, then attack your weaknesses. You’ll be a better songwriter for it.
What technology do you use to write songs? Post in our comments section below.