If you have an interest in music, there are plenty of writing opportunities for you out there.
You might get into writing content for music blogs, band updates for news sites, or even copywriting for a musical instrument company.
The vast scope of possibilities can be intimidating, particularly if you’ve never done it before. The subject appears so deep, and the amount of knowledge needed to be an authority on the topic of music seems insurmountable.
Don’t worry! It’s not as hard as it looks and if you have polarizing opinions on things, you have something valuable to share with the music community.
I’ve put together five of the best tips for writing about music to help you with your next writing project.
Top Tips For Writing About Music:
1. Play to Your Strengths
There’s a degree of comfort to take from the fact music as a topic is so huge. Huge to the point where there is no single person who can claim to know everything.
Someone well-versed in music theory may not know much about digital audio mixing. In much the same way, someone who is an authority on mixing music might not know a single thing about guitar technique.
Everybody has their strengths and areas of knowledge they are more deeply involved in. That’s why it’s helpful to double down on your niche instead of feigning complete knowledge of the subject.
For example, perhaps you’re really into guitar equipment and getting a good tone. You also know loads about amplifiers and guitar pedals.
You can then transfer that expertise and insight you have gained about instruments and offer that perspective when discussing other topics.
As an example, let’s say you’re writing about a band. You can perhaps lean into talking about that band’s sound with more depth than someone who isn’t as involved in that area.
Identify the areas of music you enjoy and are knowledgeable about, then always keep this precious knowledge ready, even when writing about a different topic.
2. Musical Verbiage and Terminology
Musicians love to use fancy words to describe things. We’ve created a mini-language that we use when discussing sound.
Do you know the difference between something sounding gritty and fuzzy? Or what does it mean when someone says a sound shimmers?
All these terms have come about because we need words to describe sounds. Becoming well versed in musical terminology can help tremendously when trying to write about such amorphous things as the qualities of sound.
This kind of musical terminology falls into two categories: technical and descriptive. Technical terms are dictionary-defined words that mean something music-related. For example, ‘allegro’ refers to playing music at a brisk pace.
Descriptive terms are a little less formal, defined, and can be used creatively. For example, describing a guitar sound as having a bite, or snarl when it has a prominent pick attack. Or, a piano sounding rich and full-bodied when it projects across the whole frequency range.
Once these kinds of terms enter your common vocabulary, the process of putting qualities of sound into words will become far easier.
3. Research and Reference
It may not be something unique to music as a topic, but something that you must practice often when writing within the realm of music.
Checking and referencing any facts or descriptions you use against other media, articles, and blogs will help in ensuring the information you provide is accurate.
Why is this extra important in music?
Music as a topic can have a lot of conflicting information. Things can be described and interpreted in multiple ways.
A simple example of this would be how we get loose with the use of theoretical terminology in guitar playing. We use words like ‘power chord’ when it’s technically not a chord, or how we keep calling modes, scales.
Also, when researching about bands, you might stumble across conflicting accounts of a certain band’s activities. Like what instruments they used for which song, where a particular album was recorded, or what tuning they used.
Conflicting facts are very much the nature of the internet and can present a challenge when trying to be factual and concise. The simplest way around this is to research as much as possible to find other accounts corroborating the fact or term you wish to use.
4. Learning and Expanding Your Sphere of Knowledge
Of course, it’s wonderful when you’re able to write about an area you are already familiar with. The words will flow out from you effortlessly, with both confidence and authority.
But not every topic you’ll be tasked to write is going to be in your comfort zone. Being open to learning and expanding your knowledge is going to help you mentally prepare for unexpected topics that you are not comfortable writing about.
Sometimes it can feel like you are studying more than writing. But remember, once you become learned on that topic, it’s something that is no doubt going to serve you well in future writing projects.
A good example of this is a “guide to music theory” article I recently wrote over on killerguitarrigs.com. The task required me to learn some new things to provide a comprehensive article. But that information may very well serve me again in a future article.
5. Staying Up to Date
Music presents an ever-evolving landscape. In the last few years alone, new genres, styles, trends, equipment, and production methods have emerged and become popular.
It’s important to stay at least a little on the pulse so you can write about what’s relevant at any particular time.
One of the best ways to do this is to find a couple of content creators or music-related websites which you enjoy and follow them.
It doesn’t take too much time and keeping loosely aware of what’s going on in the music world will help you ensure the content you write is more up to date.
Are You Ready To Write About Music?
We hope the tips shared today help you in the process of creating relevant and factually correct musical content.
But remember, there are a lot of opportunities when writing about music to put your spin and flair on things. It’s a very subjective topic and sharing your own opinions is vital in giving value to the content you write!
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