Whether or not you ever actually perform what you have written – and I believe you should – there is something to be said for immersing yourself in the craft and even studying how others put their music together. I’m not just talking about the lyrics, either. I’m talking about all of the elements: melody, harmony, rhythm, texture, etc. Study what makes the music come together. Study what gives the music shape. Study how different performs interpret the same song.

Learn how verses, choruses, and bridges behave. (They each do different things.) Be able to tell when you have multiple choruses. What does a vamp do? Maybe there might be a place in a song where you want to extend (vamp) the changes and riff? Maybe you want to take a song and add a bridge. How does it change the meaning of the song when you play the bridge “soft” versus “loud”? What different things does it draw attention to? What happens when you change the chords? Do you know how to change the song from major to minor and keep the same exact melody? (Yes. It is possible.)

Learning how all these things work will not only make you a better songwriter and performer, but a better music leader overall.

Do you know how composers of old learned their craft? Often, they would copy out note for note other composers’ works! In the process, they learned what other composers did and were able to apply it to their own works!

And if you find out your people write songs, for heaven’s sake, engage them. Whether you perform them or not, it is in your best interest as a leader to encourage and invest in the musicianship of your people.

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