You’re ready, you’re set, and your brain is about to explode with amazing ideas.
It’s an exciting feeling when you feel the burning desire of creativity.
You have no idea how to store your creativity, or what you need to be able to write your song.
You have no tools in place to harness your full songwriting potential.
No worries, I’ve put together a list of the 13 most important songwriting tools.
Read and enjoy the post!
Note: This list only includes the initial construction of writing music, and doesn’t include music production.
Make the creative process easier with these 13 useful songwriting tools
13. Rhyming websites
Sometimes we find a phrase we love but we struggle to find the right word to rhyme with it.
Simply type in your word and look through the list it produces, you’ll find words you forgot existed!
Using the same words over and over again can make your writing become rather stale. How many times have you seen or heard the words ‘love’ or ‘hate’ in a song?
It can become predictable and kind of boring.
A thesaurus allows you to search for words with an exact or similar meaning which means your lyrics will still portray the same emotion but not sound overly repetitive.
11. Voice recorder
I’ve just sung a catchy melody in my head… QUICK, record it! Your phone is out and voice recorder is recording. Success!
Most phones nowadays already have a built-in voice memo which is great news.
Having a voice recorder is essential if you have those random moments where a melodic phrase or a rhythm comes into your head and you need to quickly remember it for a later date.
There is an app called Hum, which incorporates voices recordings and notes which is incredibly useful. However, this app costs $2.99 and is only available on Apple.
When you’re on the move and haven’t got a keyboard to hand, a tuner is helpful to show you what note you’re singing.
It’s as simple as: download a free app on your phone, enable your microphone, make a sound and it tells you the note.
It becomes incredibly handy if you’re transcribing on the go as well.
Whether it’s an app or the real thing, a metronome is perfect to help you find your ideal tempo for a new song, or you can use it to practice performing in time.
I use an app to practice the rhythm of my melodies and rhythm guitar, because I want to get my timing right for when I start recording.
Not all of us may have the spare money or space to keep a keyboard handy, however now you can use virtual pianos. So you can sit at your PC or on your phone and create melodies easily.
In my studio I have a small 2 octave MIDI keyboard (smaller than an A4 sheet of paper), which I can plug into my iMac, load Logic and record melodies and chords incredibly easily.
7. Score writer app
I transcribe everything I create. I have to listen repeatedly to ensure harmonies work, melodies sound perfect and rhythms are correct.
Having a score writer app is my most used songwriting tool on this entire list. I can design melodies, add chords, add a drum beat, add lyrics and playback my song to ensure everything is melodically in sync. All of this whilst I’m on the bus, in bed, or waiting for my food in a restaurant.
It’s also incredibly useful when you can then export your songs as MIDI to input into a DAW.
When I record vocals I can then sing along to my melodies to keep me in tune. I love it, love it, love it!
6. Notepad and pen
It may feel really outdated, but nothing beats the classic use of pen and paper.
Sometimes we spend too much time staring at our screens, or distracted by the internet. So switching it up and just allowing yourself a notepad and pen is the purest form of songwriting creation.
5. Word processing program
Sounds super technical reading back those words, but it just means a tool to type up your words.
4. Google Drive / Dropbox
With all these songs and all these ideas you need a place to store them.
Google Drive or Dropbox are both excellent ways to save your files, and be able to access them without being tied to your computer at home.
Dropbox price starts at £6.58 ($9) per month for 1TB of storage.
Google Drive is free up to 15GB of storage and you can also use there online software Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides. All that you need is to sign up for a gmail account, which is also free.
3. Notation Software
This list would not be complete without notation software.
There are several free and paid notation software available, each allowing you to write, save and print your sheet music.
Guitar Pro is not a tool just for guitar players wanting to tab out their music, it is so much more than that. It is a more sophisticated score writer, than the free app on your phone.
You can take the design process one step further by adding more realistic instruments for playback and creating professional and customizable sheet music.
I use Guitar Pro for my portfolio tracks on Nicola Writes Music.
The software is a one-time fee of €69.95 (approx $80), and the license can be used on up to 5 computers.
Crescendo Music Notation Software is a free piece of software for non-commercial use that allows you to write, save and print musical notation. You can also playback your music and export files as MIDI.
To use for business purposes it’s $80 for a single license.
2. Chord Apps
Are you only a topline songwriter? Or maybe you’re not familiar with how to create chords to go along with your song?
If you’re not willing or ready to learn yet, a chord app is an easy way to add a chord progression to your song without the learning curve.
1. Your Creative Aura
Last but by no means least, this website you’re checking out right now!
Use the resources I share on here to your full advantage!
Whether it’s songwriting tips, learning basic music theory, finding songwriting inspiration, or songwriting topic ideas, I’ve got you covered.
I publish new resources every month to guide you on your songwriting journey.
If you want a reminder of when I publish new resources you can sign up to my mailing list. This will give you access to my Musician’s Toolkit, as well as updates on new content.
It’s your turn
There you have it, 13 songwriting tools to make the creative process run smoother.
You’ll never be faced with hurdles and barriers when it comes to storing and harnessing your creativity again.
Finding the perfect songwriting tools to implement into your creative workflow is essential, otherwise your ideas will become a pile of unorganised mess.
So next time your creative aura blossoms, you’ll be ready to record or take notes on your next masterpiece.
Good luck, and get creating!