What (Song) Key Are YOU In?

When it comes to songwriting all of us have our own key, and our own sets of keys, we write in.  If you substitute ‘voice’ for a key you get the drift.

Expressing our innermost feelings and thoughts by creating songs is highly personal. It often exposes our vulnerability to the world.

Every songwriter and every song has their own unique DNA, the part that is uniquely YOU.  But how do you say what you mean? Do you write lyrics that sound real? Sound like a conversation with someone? Sound like something you want people to hear? Or something else entirely?

You should also ask yourself these questions, Can the listener relate to your voice? Can they put themselves into your story, to the emotion you’re expressing, to the feeling you’re creating? Will they understand the main point you’re trying to convey?

Your ‘keys’ are the points of connection between your heart, your soul, your vision, and the listener. When you know what you want to say and how you want to say it, definitively, then you are in YOUR key.

Why not take some time to think about and organize the ‘keys’ that are most comfortable and authentic to your voice? Making a quick cheat sheet for yourself can come in handy. What do I mean by this? It’s kind of like having a journal of song ideas and song titles. It’s a handy reference to help you get started when you feel stuck for ideas or how to get going,

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Write down a list of adjectives you would use in everyday conversation
  • Make a list of feelings you like to write about, and write about most often(this will also give you ideas and prompts when you need to change it up!)
  • Make a list of words you think fit into whatever genre you write in that are NOT overused
  • Do the same thing with adjectives
  • Identify the types of tempos you feel most comfortable writing to
  • Identify tempos you don’t feel comfortable writing in but you know you need to add to your catalog ,to have a balanced collection of songs

These are just a few ways you can help yourself find and develop your own sets of ‘songwriting keys’, the ones that express your voice, the ones you feel you can really work on to create great songs, and some ways you can find songwriting challenges to help you improve your skill set and your catalog.

Want to see how younger songwriters are tackling songwriting? Meet our  Student Songwriter in Residence and check out some of her NextGen Songwriter interviews.

Some keys are major, some are minor. Your keys change accordingly  Think about it.  What key are you writing in today? Hint: they’re all good! Just get to it.