Writer’s and musician’s block is never fun. It can be a tricky time when deciding on what lyrics to use or what part of a song should go where. Fortunately, Kyser not only offers tools and accessories to enhance your guitar-playing abilities, but also supports events that help you put those abilities to the test. In her newly released book, The Songwriter’s Survival Guide, songwriting retreat founder Judy Stakee shares her best trade secrets to achieving your dreams in the music industry. She’s also taken the time to share a little bit about herself, her company, and some insights to better songwriting.
10 Steps To Writing Better Songs
“I have been teaching and mentoring songwriters my entire career. In that time, I have found that writers who treat their craft like a job are more successful than those who treat it like a hobby. The process you put in place and the consistency with which you practice will determine your results.” - Judy Stakee
- Choose a creative space that is comfortable and full of inspiration. Some writers like the outdoors and others prefer the cocoon of their own room. Go where your creativity is most activated.
- Make sure you have the necessary tools around to help you out: rhyming dictionary, thesaurus, musical instruments, paper, pencil, and computer.
- Meditate on an idea, a story, or a feeling that you can build upon.
- If you start with lyrics, find your subject and your perspective; love is a subject, love stinks is a perspective. What are yours?
- If you start with a melody then find the chords that capture the mood you are trying to convey.
- Remember you get approximately 200-300 words to tell your story, so you must choose your words carefully and intentionally.
- Choose a structure - AABA or ABABCB are the two most popular. These letters correspond to song sections: A is for verse, B is for chorus, and C is for bridge.
- Create an outline. The first verse describes what happened, the pre-chorus gives me your reaction, and the chorus is the story’s emotional result.
- If you are having trouble creating on your own, find a co-writer who can help out. If you are better at lyrics, but lack proficient musical skill, then finding a great guitar player can supplement your process.
- Invest in a critique so you know you are on the right track. Getting feedback is a must when developing a new skill.
Five Day Retreating Environment
Judy’s five day retreats consist of strengthening the body, mind, and soul. Each retreat day follows a schedule that maximizes creativity and limits decision making so everyone can focus on what matters most: music. At the retreat, anyone can expect to learn an abundance of lessons, some specific ones include: how to overcome writer’s block, how to be a better co-writer, how to write hit songs, how to establish a brand, and how to design a music career.
Some of Judy’s upcoming retreat enrollments will be held August 15, 2021 - August 19, 2021 In Nashville and August 29 - September 2 in California. Anyone can apply and check out all her enrollment dates here: https://www.judystakee.com/retreats
About Judy Stakee
A world-renowned leader in songwriter development, author, speaker and past president of the National Songwriters Association, Judy Stakee is a songwriter and vocalist in her own right. With over 40+ years in music industry experience, Judy has earned a phenomenal songwriter reputation. Her songwriting methodology has kickstarted and shaped the careers of many acclaimed songwriters and artists. Before founding her artist development company in 2009, she worked as a senior VP for 20 years with Warner Chappell Music. During this time, Judy signed, developed, and managed their star roster including Grammy-award winner Sheryl Crow, Michelle Branch, Jewel, Gavin DeGraw, John Shanks, Wayne Kirkpatrick, Scott Cutler, Anne Previn, Julian Bunetta, Kevin Kadish, and Franne Golde. She has obtained hundreds of BMI and ASCAP awards for her writers and numerous Grammy, MTV, CMA, and AMAs. She has also worked with celebrated artists and songwriters, such as Katy Perry, Michelle Branch, Jewel, Joy Williams, John Shanks, and Julian Bunetta. Judy Stakee knows what it takes to create and write a great song.