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Composing Music: How to Broaden Your Songwriting


How do you keep from composing music that sounds just like every other song you’ve composed, especially given all the strictures of congregational song?

First, if you always write in the same key, try writing in a different one. Try different tempos and rhythms, too. Most contemporary worship songs are in 4/4 time—try 3/4, 6/8 or 7/8.

Composing Music: How to Broaden Your Songwriting

Broaden your range of listening experience by searching for music outside of your immediate preference. In an interview here at My Song In The Night, Stephen Altrogge of Sovereign Grace said,

“I listen to a lot of different music—Coldplay, the Beatles, Matt Redman, Mumford and Sons, the Police, Mutemath. I’d say that the main thing I’ve learned is that a good song is good no matter what the production, and a bad song can’t be saved by good production. When I listen to The Police, they have a distinctly ′80s sound. But their songs are just incredible. So if you’re going to write songs, make sure that they’re good songs. Don’t count on the music or the production to save you.”

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Bobby Gilles has written several of Sojourn Music’s popular worship songs for albums like The Water And The Blood, Over The Grave and Before The Throne. He is content manager for sojournmusic.com and has mentored songwriters and led many Sojourn songwriting workshops as part of Pastor Mike Cosper’s worship ministry. Bobby is also Sojourn Church Director Of Communications, and works with Lead Pastor Daniel Montgomery to communicate Sojourn’s mission and vision. He co-wrote the children’s book Our Home Is Like A Little Church, published by Christian Focus. As a former radio disc jockey and music director, he was twice named a National Top 10 Finalist for Gospel Music DJ of the Year.