20 Things I’ve Learned From Listening to Great Songs and Songwriters (1-2)

Prior to a recent songwriters retreat I taught at, I took some time to synthesize every helpful piece of songwriting advice I’ve heard, read, and believed to be helpful.  After sharing these 20 things at the retreat a handful of people have been asking me to share them in blog form.

Because some of them are lengthy, I’ve decided to share two things at a time over ten blog posts.  I’ve tried my best to practice this advice and have personally found these things to be effective in my discipleship as a songwriter.  I hope and pray they are helpful as you seek to write your best songs yet.

  1. The goal of co-writing is communion and community.

The easiest way to take the pressure off of any co-writing session is to change your perspective.  When we gather to write we have the opportunity to spend time in the presence of God and each other.  If we measure the success of any songwriting session by how many great songs we write we may not only be disappointed, but we are seeking God’s hand and not his face.  Seek first the Kingdom and righteousness of God – songs will naturally follow.

  1. The measure of a great song isn’t always the breadth of its platform.

Why do we write?  Are we writing to build His Kingdom or to build our catalog?  If we write as stewards of a gift purposed to build the Kingdom, our songs already have intrinsic value based on who they are for.  The extent to which they are used is not for us to decide.  Some songs are like Kleenex, meant to be used once and then thrown away, others may have local, regional, denominational or even global platforms.  Some songs may be used for a season while others are more enduring.  Serve the platform Christ has entrusted to you.  Find your contentment in fulfilling your calling faithfully, regardless of the breadth of exposure.

Travis Doucette is Pastor of Worship and Leadership Development at Harvest Bible Chapel Naples, a church plant from Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago, IL.  For more information, teaching and music resources please visit harvestnaples.org.


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