TAKE IT APART | DAYS 01, 08, 15, 22

  • 2 min read

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Breaking a song down into its elements exposes different ways to write.

Your voice is a combination of everything you’ve experienced, so experience as much as you can. It will make you a better writer and musician to learn from others.

Start off writing out all the words on the left. One of my favorite ways to do this exercise is to find a song I’ve never heard. If a favorite artist of yours releases a new song - write down all the lyrics before you hear the song and imagine what they are going to sound like. Is it wildly different than what you imagined?

After you've written out all the lyrics, take a few minutes to dissect them a bit to find their rhyme scheme and structure. If you're struggling to find the rhyme scheme, sometimes it takes listening to the lyrics sung out loud to hear the match (or sometimes there is no rhyme to be found).

Next you’ll dive into the production on the right. Headphones on. Pay close attention and pause and rewind as much as you need to figure out what’s going on. You can get into as much detail as you'd like, but when you're first starting out, write in the language YOU understand. If you want to learn the exact musical terms later that's great, but use the tools you currently have instead of getting bogged down in the terminology. For example:

1:24  - Background vocals switch between the left and right ears
2:34 - Drums finally come in, snare and kick only
2:40 - Lot of "whooo" and snaps
2:55 - Swooshing instrument in the background - what is that? 

Dissecting the work of others will build up a vocabulary and toolkit of different techniques that you can mix and mash to make something completely your own.

Practice Workbook example from the Take it Apart Exercise

Here's an example of the exercise completely filled out. Forgive me for using my own song as an example, but you know...I own the copyright to this one :) . 

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