The Instruments A Songwriter Should Know How To Play

Author: Tommaso Zillio

Author: Tommaso Zillio

How many instruments does a songwriter need to know how to play, if any? Are you an aspiring composer who has yet to pick an instrument to learn? This can be a bit of a stressful decision to make, but hopefully after reading this article you will find some clarity.

I’ve heard many questions asked surrounding this subject. Is it possible to be a songwriter without first learning to play an instrument? Must you be an expert at that instrument to write great music? Which instruments write better tunes? Enough with the questions, lets get to some answers.

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Must You Know How To Play An Instrument?

The jury is still out on this one, but what do the facts say? Let us investigate:

1)During the Baroque/Classical/Romantic music period of the 1700-1800s, all the great composers of that time were generally virtuoso of their chosen instrument (or at least really darn good). This includes names such as Mozart, Chopin, Beethoven, Bach, and the list goes on.

2)There were times where the above wasn’t the case. For example, French composer Hector Berlioz famously never learned to play the piano. Though he did become quite proficient at other instruments including the guitar.

3)Today you can find many successful musicians who are not exceptional at any one instrument. However, they are usually able to get by playing an instrument or two (there is still one exception that I will explain in my video)

From this we can gather that YES, you are probably going to want to know how to play at least one instrument if you want to compose music.

Must You Be A Virtuoso Of Your Instrument?

It may appear that we resolved this one already. However, the fact is that yes you very well may need to be a virtuoso. Do you think Steve Vai or Hendrix would have become as successful as they did by just being passable at their instruments?

The answer to this question lies in the kind of music you hope to write. If you are dreaming of creating killer instrumental tracks, you need to play very well. Though if you have other musical goals, then a basic understanding can potentially take you far. Look to The Beatles for example. They weren’t shredding amazing guitar solos, but they could play well enough to write and perform their own tunes and you can’t argue with how well that worked out for them!

The Best Instruments For Songwriting?

Learning the basics of any instrument is going to do you some good in the long run. Though if songwriting is your game, what instrumental tool is going to help you best achieve your goals? By learning only these three particular instruments, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of how music works (and these is a good chance you already are familiar with one or two)

Which three instruments am I talking about? Learn about them in my following video and watch how quickly you can unlock your newfound songwriting abilities.

Do you know any of these instruments already? For the ones you don’t, how many (or how few) hours might it take to change that? Not much time is required to learn these basics and improve your songwriting. It’s all about having fun and knowing that no, you don’t have to have virtuoso skills to compose.

About the Author

Tommaso Zillio is a professional guitarist and guitar teacher. Visit Tommaso’s site to know more about how to write music. Subscribe to his YouTube channel for more videos.

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