No matter the genre, every songwriter needs a variety of tools at his/her disposal. As I go through this project, I’ve decided to keep a running list of the songwriting resources I’m using. So, if you’re following along and wanting to tackle some writing yourself, this page could be a good starting point.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links. This means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to click the link and then make a purchase. I only recommend products and services which I truly believe will be useful for you as a songwriter. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you truly need them or that they will help you achieve your goals. There are several other ways you can support me and the project.
The Craft of Christian Songwriting by Robert Sterling
The first book I want to list is The Craft of Christian Songwriting by Robert Sterling. While there are plenty of songwriting books on the market, there are very few books about Christian songwriting in particular. Sterling’s experience teaching songwriting for the Academy of Gospel Music Arts makes him a solid authority on the subject. I’m still working through this one and plan to post a full review once I’ve read the entire book. It’s available in both paperback or Kindle format through Amazon.
To record some of my demos, I knew I’d need portable recording equipment. While I don’t have a laptop, I do have an iPad (which comes with GarageBand for recording). So all I really needed was an interface to connect instruments or microphones to the iPad. After a lot of searching, I chose the Griffin StudioConnect. Thanks to my iPad being older (and having the 30-pin connection instead of the newer Lightning), I was able to get the older version of the Griffin StudioConnect at a great price. The new version (Griffin StudioConnect with Lightning) doesn’t break the bank or anything, but every little bit helps for a songwriter on a budget.
WRITING TOOLS & SOFTWARE
Moleskine Music Pocket Notebook
Sometimes you just need a place to jot down a few lyrics or notes. For several years, I just used whatever paper was nearby. But, after accumulating quite a collection of scraps (and probably losing at least a quarter of them), I decided it was time for a more sophisticated solution. Enter the Moleskine Music Pocket Notebook. While it might seem silly to spend more than a dollar or two on a memo pad, this little notebook just has a different feel. Maybe it’s all mental, but I feel like more of a professional when I’m jotting down ideas in my Moleskine. Plus, it isn’t just a notebook. There are a couple of features that not only save time but are also quite convenient. First, each page has 8 blank staves on both sides making it much faster and easier to sketch out a melody. Second (and my personal favorite) is the built-in accordion pocket. Sometimes I end up forgetting the Moleskine and still need to use whatever scrap paper is handy. That pocket gives me a place to store those scraps before I transfer them directly onto the notebook’s pages.
Finale Songwriter Music Notation Software
Handwritten lyrics and chords might be good enough for when it’s just you performing, but what happens when someone else wants sheet music of your song? Finale SongWriter is an inexpensive but powerful software designed specifically for songwriters to create and print professional-quality sheet music. There’s no reason to spend hundreds on the more robust programs (filled with instruments and features you’ll never use anyway).