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Getting Out Of Your Comfort Zone
July 31, 2018
Choose a chord progression you have never done before:
It's very easy to always start with the same chords, just by habit. Then, once you're there it's difficult to make the song sound very different to your others. So, go online type in "chord progressions" and just pick on "chord progressions" and just pick one. Literally that's it. Pick one at random or one you quite like the sound of - as long as it isn't anything like you're go-to progressions and then just see what you come up with. Having a completely different chord progression is a sure way to make your song different from the others and get you out of your comfort zone.
Choose a key you have never done before:
This one is similar to the previous, but unfortunately it isn't as easy as looking up a new key online, because our voices are comfortable in a certain key, so we will naturally go for that one. So get out of this, I would suggest singing instinctively in the key you normally would - then go as far from that key as your voice can go - up or down. But make sure you don't venture back to your comfortable key! It's surprisingly easy to do.
Start a song with the opposite approach to how you normally would:
I think this is rather self-explanatory. If you normally start with the lyrics - start with the music & melody. If you normally start with the music - start with the lyrics. If you usually do the two together, try breaking them up & handling them one at a time.
Work with other songwriters:
This one I think is the "easiest" way to get out of your comfort zone but also the hardest if you don't have connections to other songwriters. Of course different songwriters will have different comfort zones so naturally they will pull you out of yours and you will do the same for them. Finding songwriters, though, can be tricky if you aren't experienced in the industry. There are several websites where you can find songwriters - such as Meet and Jam. Also, many venues will put on jam nights and songwriting events so you just need to do some research if you ant to give this a try. And I would definitely suggest co-writing - it can only benefit you.
Write the song backwards - chorus first, bridge second, verse last:
This one is pretty self-explanatory again, but one I don't think it's one many people think of doing - I certainly didn't before I read a blog myself that suggested doing this (yes I'm nicking someone else's tip). I think this is a really interesting technique and definitely worth a try.
Pick a song you
love and wish you had written & base your new song off that:
I've done this more than a few times. I will always listen to songs and think "damn why didn't I think of that". It may be cheating a little bit, but it is a sure way to get out of your comfort zone - assuming the one you choose is out of your comfort zone!
Listen to a new genre of music:
It's inevitable that what you listen to will affect what you write yourself. So if you want to mix up your writing, mix up your playlist. Make a conscious effort to listen to new music you wouldn't normally listen to and try to pick up some new techniques and ideas.
Pick at random:
This is a sure way to write a song not in your comfort zone - but not necessarily a sure way to write a good song. But even if it isn't one of your strongest songs it is a step in the right direction - as long as you don't cheat. Pick every aspect of the song literally at random; the chord progression, title, topic, tempo, lyrics. Everything.