I constantly get asked by songwriters in various stages of their development whether songwriting lessons could benefit them and help them write better songs. I suppose the first place to start is acknowledging that different songwriters are in different stages of their development, and have completely different obstacles to hurdle as they hone their craft. The answer is a resounding yes for all the writers who are at beginning to intermediate levels of songwriting. For entry level songwriters and even songwriters who have a handful of songs in their catalog, the more instruction that you can sift through regarding your lyric writing, melody writing, and harmonic development or chord progression creation, the stronger your toolbox is in terms of what you know how to do. You can then additionally benefit from finding some kind of Master Class, song circle, songwriter’s guild that has a true song evaluation process, or even by joining organizations such as Taxi, in order to test the success of how you are implementing the tools you have learned.
The more challenging group of songwriters to talk to, are those who could be considered advanced-intermediate to advanced or even professionals. Quite often the songwriters in this category have had some success; songs published, a CD released, a list of credits and a big song catalog, and they have a lot of confidence to go with that success. The question I would ask these songwriters is how much mastery do they have of the tools of their trade? I know that they have their system of writing and their process of completing a song down to a science, but how repetitive are their songs? How innovative are they in their songwriting and could they be a lot better?