TPM 29 Mike Meiers | Songwriting For Guitar

 

Bree Noble’s guest in this episode is Mike Meiersfounder of Songwriting for Guitar. Mike shares his journey on how he came to love playing the guitar and teaching others to play it. Teaching others helped Mike grow exponentially in music, eventually becoming a skilled songwriter. Through the years, he realized that people don’t buy tickets and merchandise because the band makes clever music. Rather, they support music that’s hooky, catchy, and relatable. Tune in and discover how you can write better songs on your guitar and earn! 

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Songwriting For Guitar: How To Write Better Songs And Earn More With Mike Meiers 

I’m excited to be with you and with my guest, Mike Meiers from Songwriting For Guitar. I love his brand name because it’s clear what he does. Sometimes we get all excited about these clever brand names and then people are like, “I don’t understand. What do you do?” We’re going to be talking about Songwriting For Guitar but first, I want to get into his story. What is his musician story? How did he get into teaching guitar and all the ways that he teaches guitar and songwriting? How did that morphed into what he’s doing now? Mike, we’d love to hear all of that from you before we get into some other questions. 

Thank you for having me. I’m pumped. When I created it, I did want it to be simple and not clever because I used to do that a lot in songwriting titles. I try to be too clever, where I was like, “What does this mean? I have no idea what this is about.” 

That reminds me of the ‘90s when the alternative was popular. The song title would be one word that you could never find in the song. You’d never remember the name of the song because it didn’t make any sense. 

It made no sense. I totally get that and then later on in the 2000s, you went to long sentences as the title and then there were brackets or parentheses and now it’s gone to the other extreme. We swung the other way with the pendulum. I tried to keep clarity on that. Music has been my entire life. I grew up as an only child. I was not an athletic child. Athleticism was not something that I found appealing. I went to Catholic school and I had a couple of options. It was basketball or basketball. 

Investing in yourself gives you new information you could utilize to go to the next step. Click To Tweet

You would be considered a total nerd because you don’t play basketball. 

It was the extreme. I didn’t like that. I did like Mr. Rogers and he played the piano. I saw that it was nice because I was surrounded by one area of the school that was giving me one narrative. He then was giving me like, “Here’s music and here’s a form of self-expression.” I thought I could do that. I begged my parents, “Please, can I play the piano?” They were like “Wait a year,” because sometimes kids want to do this one thing but then ten seconds later, “I want to be a ninja. Let me be a ninja. Train me to be a ninja.” 

That’s exactly what I did when my daughter said she wanted to play the drums when she was five. I’m like, “Take a year of piano and then if you still want to take drums, you can.” She then grew out of that. She wanted to continue with the piano. That was smart of your parents. 

That’s what happened. I waited and it was the same thing. I kept on being like, “When is it going to happen? Is it time yet?” They were like, “You’re serious about it.” I ended up doing it and I loved it because no one else was doing music. It gave me an identity. While everybody was doing this one thing, I was doing something unique and it spoke to me. I had a teacher that was not bad, but I could tell he was also doing it for the money because he was a teacher. Every lesson was the same. I had to hand the check first for $15 because that was the exchange money. As an adult, I didn’t realize how that made an impression on me. I could tell he was doing it for the money but I didn’t care because I wanted to understand this. I did this for a long time. Fast forward to high school and I was like, “I need to learn the guitar.” My parents got me a guitar and I was like, “This is hard,” and it sat in my closet for three years. 

That’s what I was like. I want to learn this but it hurts, and then I’m afraid I won’t be able to play the piano because then I have these big indentations in my fingers and I can’t feel the keys. 

was like, “Nope, I’m not going to do it.” I did this period where it sat in my closet but I suddenly got into punk and I saw all these friends that were in bands. They were setting up bands and writing songs. I was like, “I don’t think I can do this with piano. I think I can do this with a guitar. That’s what I have to do.” Before my senior year, I pulled out the guitar and dusted it off. I started to go through things I could find on dial-up internet which took forever because it was still 2002. Things were slow. It was that age of dial-up. 

I finally took lessons and it was the extreme opposite. I found a teacher that enjoyed the instrument, but was willing to teach it to me in a way that was right for me and not this blanket like, “This is what you do.” He gave me a book, but then he could tell I could care less about the book. He was like, “I want you to bring in a CD next week.” Every week, it was a new CD. It was a different song and out of those songs, he was able to teach me concepts and things that were super important fundamentally but in context too, something that I could relate it back to. At the time, I was like, “I’m learning a song.” Now as a teacher, I’m like, “That was amazing,” because it was not just, “Here’s the concept.” It’s like, “Here’s the concept and here’s something you can relate it back to.” 

I did bands and eventually, I did one band that did pretty well. We were able to tour a lot. We broke even a lot of the time. That was a win. We were able to do some good tours. We were able to play things like Warped Tour and with other bands that were in that pop-punk genre. We were able to open for. It did well but then eventually, it lost its momentum. I eventually found myself teaching because prior to teaching, I was working at a car wash because, who wants to take someone’s job at a car wash when they leave to go on tour? It’s not appealing. Nobody goes off, “I want to be around chemicals and have customers yell at me.” That’s why that job was always secure. 

Somebody that came to our shows was like, “My teacher is looking for another person, would you be interested?” I was, “No, because I don’t know anything about teaching.” I then thought about it, “It’s better than a carwash.” I agreed. I thought it was going to be a job that I’m at for a year or two, and then I’ll move on to something else. I ended up loving it. I found myself immersing myself into understanding my instrument more because it’s one thing when it was me playing, but to explain it and break down the fundamentals to someone that’s brand new, I had a newfound appreciation for all the things I was taking for granted, that I was doing out of emotions. 

More importantly, I didn’t realize the next four years were going to give me an education in modern songwriting and top songs. The ages that I was teaching, that teenager range and also early 20s, they want to learn a lot of top songs. The things that I wasn’t listening to because I was in my punk bubble and I was like, “No, it’s not good. I’m going to stay true to my genre,” but when you’re a teacher, I’m not going to tell someone “No.” My teacher of guitar was accepting of my genre. Even though he was a metalhead, he saw things and saw my appreciation for the genre. If that kept my interest going and I was willing to dig in because of this song, then he was willing to teach it. I kept that mentality. 

TPM 29 Mike Meiers | Songwriting For Guitar

Songwriting For Guitar: It’s one thing when you’re just playing. But to explain how to play the guitar and break down the fundamentals to someone brand new makes you appreciate things you take for granted.

 

What was wonderful is I was seeing all these top 40 songs. I was teaching them over and over because the longest I was teaching was six days a week, maybe 6 to 8 hours a day in four years. It was my school and I didn’t realize it. I was listening to these songs. I was breaking them down. I was starting to grow musically because suddenly, I was being stretched. As I was teaching, I was starting to take lessons from other folks. I was going around from other teachers that were a little bit more advanced. Going over here and getting more and more. I was building my arsenal so that I was fully equipped and still helping my students. As they were learning, I was learning too. 

That’s so important. A lot of teachers don’t do that. Probably your piano teacher who was taking your $15, he wasn’t out there taking his own lessons and making sure that he was improving. He was just teaching in the exact same way over and over again. Not only did you want to understand your students and how they learn and all that stuff, but you wanted to keep bettering yourself so you could stay ahead of them, which I appreciate in a teacher. I love the idea of how you were learning about songs and song structure and songwriting because you had to break down those songs to teach it to your students. 

It’s fascinating because a couple of years ago, prior to teaching, I would have written it off as radio stuff. Suddenly, I was breaking it down and listening to production. I challenged myself every time I had to listen to a song. Some songs, I’ll be teaching that same song twenty times that week. Within that one lesson, I may be listening to that song 6, 7, 8 times because we’re going over certain sections. I would challenge myself to listen to it in a different way like, “I’m used to listening to the guitar part. I’m going to listen to the melody.” Sometimes I would even teach the melody on guitar to bring it back to scales and different styles. I would listen to the production that’s happening and I’d be like “It’s sparse.” They’re only using four notes in that melody the entire time. It was seeing everything. I was starting to see patterns. That’s what made it intriguing. 

Suddenly, I found a new appreciation because here I was, I looked at all the songs that I used to write in bands and realize that’s why maybe things didn’t always hit the mark. I suddenly saw through this new lens, things that were chaotic all over the place. We were too busy. It’s like a title, we were trying to be too clever. Nobody goes to a show and goes like, “I love watching that clever band. That’s why I bought this ticket because they’re clever.” No, it’s because it’s catchy. It’s good. It draws them in. I find people that go like, “That’s clever.” They’re not the ones buying the tickets or the merch. They have an appreciation for cleverness. The ones that are there are buying the merch, the tickets, and the songs and downloading it because they find it hokey and catchy. They sing along to it and it’s relatable. 

When I was 4 or 5 years into teaching, I was like, “I want to be a songwriter,” because it was still eating at me. It didn’t go away. It subsided for a little bit but it came back. I was like, “What do I want to do?” I want to do commercial songwriting and more sync licensing, and get my songs in television and film because there are many shows out there. There has to be a way. I took classes. I studied up and I started and crossed a new bridge too. It’s the idea of investing in myself. That was something I didn’t do and that was a whole new thing that I had to get used to. I wasn’t spending money on a class. I was investing because the end result was going to give me new information that I could utilize and go to the next step. Every time that I started to do that, I got more and more comfortable about investing in myself. 

I then started to do more songwriting. I was writing all the time. I was writing with new people and then eventually, my clientele were all songwriters. I was teaching songwriters. I was teaching co-writers. I realized that I was teaching the same formula where they would be like, “How do you do this thing? When we’re writing a song, you say it’s this and this.” I’m like, “That’s because I know in this genre, you have to listen for this.” I then realized that’s what I have taken for granted because I gave myself this seven-year schooling on a ton of listening and breaking down songs. What I think is widely known is suddenly not widely known. 

I have almost developed a little system of here are the three things you need to listen for. Here’s what we need to work on and this is what’s going to give you that formula for the genre that you want to try to write forWhen you’re writing for an artist, that’s important because they have a style. They have a voice. You need to make sure you’re listening for that when you’re trying to write for sync, you’re given a brief where they say Kings of Leon. Even if you nail the most perfect Fleetwood Mac, that’s not Kings of Leon. That’s Fleetwood Mac. If there’s a brief that looks for that, then it’s awesome. If you’re trying to aim for this, then you’re going to miss the mark. 

I realized after a while when I go to Nashville or LA, sometimes I get coffee with people and they’d be like, “Can I buy you a cup of coffee?” After a while, as much as I love it, the coffee consumption was getting way too high because I was saying the same things over and over. I had a few friends that were doing online classes and they were like, “You should think about doing that.” When somebody suggested you should teach, I was like, “I don’t know.” I realized, “No, I think this is something people need to know.”  

That’s why I created Songwriting For Guitar. My goal is to empower songwriters with their guitar skills. They should be controlling the guitar and most allow their guitar to control how the song turns out or when they’re performing. It’s like the guitar is in charge. That’s a terrible thing because then the guitar is going to take you on this roller coaster ride. It’s almost like when you go to an open mic and you hear that one guitarist that strum. No matter how well-crafted the lyric is and how beautiful the melody is, if you’re given this one blanket line of loud strumming, it doesn’t matter how good the melody or the lyric is. No one’s listening because they’re distracting. They’re tuning out the white noise of that one strumming that you’ve got going. 

I love your evolution. It’s so similar to a lot of people that I know have online courses. They discovered that they were good at something that they didn’t even know that they were going to be good at. They were passionate about it and again, they would get asked to help individuals and it moves into groups, and then it’s like, “I can have an online course.” Let’s talk about as far as what you teach in your online course. I know that there are some traps that guitar-playing songwriters get into like this strum, strum, never changing the pattern and all that. What are some of the common things or habits that people get into because they don’t realize that there’s another way? How can they change things up to make it more interesting? 

If we're not aware of the pattern, we won't break it. Click To Tweet

The number one thing is and I’ve realized this through teaching a wide variety of age ranges. Some of the most common similarities between the pitfalls. The first thing, whatever genre or whatever decade you grew up in, especially when you’re a teenager, that ends up being your strumming pattern for life. That’s your default strumming pattern. There’s something about that age and I fell into this. During that period, when you’re a teenager, you’re filled with hormones and emotions, and the song speaks to you and you’re like, “This is the soundtrack of my generation.” It is absorbed that no matter what, that comes out as your strumming pattern. 

A lot of people don’t understand strumming patterns. If I stopped someone and said, “What are you strumming?” They go, “I don’t know. I just do this.” They can’t describe it and that’s where the default comes in. I remember this hit me vividly where I had a songwriter who was like, “Mike, I want to play some songs,” and I was like, “Go ahead. Play me three songs.” All identical strumming patterns but what was interesting immediately was, “What does this remind me of?” I close my eyes and listen to his intro and I was like, “Do you like the Goo Goo Dolls?” He was like, “They are my favorite band.” That was the flag for me. We don’t realize it but subconsciously, it always comes out of us all the time. If we’re not aware of that, we won’t break it. We will constantly write more and more songs. It doesn’t matter how many songs we write, we’re just giving the same strumming pattern. 

The next big thing is we don’t recognize dynamics when we’re trying to convey the song. The level at which we’re strumming is if it’s the same as our verse in our course, we’re never taking the listener on that journey as it should be. Dynamic should build and drop. I find this crucial as a networking thing when songwriters go to writers’ rounds. They play open mics. That is songwriting-networking and it’s your calling card, essentially. 

You can have the nicest card, the nicest website, but your songs are going to be your calling card. It’s where you showcase what you’re capable of writing and even if you’re a great lyricist, a great singer, if you’re not building dynamics in your song, it doesn’t matter how great the song is produced. When you’re just using your guitar, that thing to communicate that song, if you’re keeping it at one level all the way through, it’s not interesting. It’s boring. That’s when you notice people start talking more and more in the room. The room gets louder because everyone’s talking. They don’t care because they’re just listening to this strumming guitar. 

I find songwriters that can convey that dip in the verse, and then suddenly, ramp it up slowly, suddenly we’re in it. Because the average listener doesn’t understand song structure, they understand loud and soft and if they go like, “That’s the story part of the song. Your verses are here.” “That’s the catchy part. We’re ramping up to the course. That makes it so clear and again, stop trying to be clever. It keeps it like, “I understand. We’ve got strumming. We’ve got dynamics.” 

It’s interesting about that as a pianist, I wonder if it’s something about the guitar itself that it’s easy to get into that auto mode of not changing the dynamics. On the piano, that doesn’t happen to me because I’m one with the instrument when I’m playing it. I’m on top of the instrument. I’m putting pressure and I feel I get way too dynamic when I play with the piano because I become into it. I have seen guitarists where they get into that auto mode. They’re singing and stuff is a totally different thing than what their hands are doing. 

They also try to wash their hands clean that they’re a guitarist. They say they’re a songwriter. They say, “I’m a melody person. I’m a lyricist,” and that’s great but they take this guitar. When you take a piano around with you, you have to own it. I’m using that as my form of communication. There’s something when you have a little guitar and you strap it on and you’re like “I use it. I write my songs.” They downplay it so much that they need to own it. I don’t accept that. If you are writing songs with your guitar, you’re going out and playing songs with your guitar, and you’re carrying it around, you’re a songwriting guitarist. You can’t dismiss the two. It’s not one or the other. They’re joined together. I think of how much they spend on building their skills as a songwriter when it comes to melody, lyrics and buying books. They have no problem with that. When it comes to guitar, they write it off as it doesn’t matter but that is the most crucial element to the thing. 

When I sit down to write a song, the next thing they don’t pay attention to is voicings because every genre has a different voicing. It has a different way of communicating. Yes, G, C, D, E minor will never die. Those will always be chords that we love. I like to think 2,000 years from now when I’m dead and gone, there’s going to be a guy or a gal who picks up the guitar, plays G, C, D, E minor, and goes, “Those are good chords,” because they are. There’s something about that pattern that always feels good, but your goal as a songwriter-guitarist is to find multiple ways to play that pattern because every genre has a different form of communication with G, C, D, E minor. If I pair myself with a pop artist, I’m not just going to clamp down on open chords because it’s going to feel weird. I find that certain voicings trigger certain melodies. Our brain likes to think, “No. It doesn’t matter. Voicings, don’t matter.” 

They do because if we want to not fall into the same traps melodically, we have to create new things with our brain. We have to create new patterns with our brain. Voicings unlock different melodies. Melodies that we don’t know are in our brain and that is always fascinating. Those are a few things that songwriters, especially ones that use their guitar but haven’t delved into it, are probably doing right now and they don’t realize it. 

The people that do realize it are their co-writers, are the people listening to their songs at writers’ rounds. Sometimes they wonder why the same song turns out the same way. How come I didn’t get asked back to the co-write? What was your role? If you were the only one with a guitar and you were hammering away or weren’t paying attention, that may be some of the reasons sometimes things don’t work out. There are some skills that need to be built a little bit more. Once you do those and realize those small little things, then your knowledge as a songwriter and as a contributor in your co-writing, your value skyrockets tremendously. 

TPM 29 Mike Meiers | Songwriting For Guitar

Songwriting For Guitar: Find multiple ways to play the pattern because every genre has a different form of communication with G-C-D-Em.

 

That’s such a good point about the writer’s rounds, and it being almost an audition for future collaborations which can be amazing for your career if these people have connections. You can develop relationships that will last over years. It’s when people don’t think that they have to have a good demo and they’re like, “The song will speak for itself.” It’s the same thing. You have to showcase the song in the best possible light and that does involve the way you deliver it on the instrument. 

The best demos and the best work tapes that were delivered for a song were a simple guitar and vocal. I’m always blown away that they think the production is going to save it. Sometimes the production doesn’t save it. A simple guitar that was tracked well to a metronome. If I were to sneak in another thing that I think is always huge, it’s the metronome. Many don’t practice with it. If you can lock in with a metronome and you can suddenly be a person in a co-write that writes a killer song with someone, and they go, “We got this guy quick. They can do a quick demo. Can you record that guitar?” You want to be able to say, “Yes.” You don’t want to be like, “Umm.” Suddenly, they spend an hour being like, “Let’s try that again.” 

BPMs are crucial when it comes to songwriting because you’re talking about, “What is the melody and tempo that we’re going to set?” Some melodies need to be at a specific tempo. Otherwise, it’s going to be too fast or too slow. I saw a friend and she’s a fantastic songwriter. She has an amazing voice, great lyricist. She did an open mic. This was when I was in Nashville. I came to one of our writers’ rounds and she started off way too fast because I don’t think she was thinking of the tempo, and then she realized. What happened was she made it too slow because she was conscious of like, “I started too fast. I’m bringing it down.” Suddenly, the melody got too slow and she found where it needed to be. 

When practicing to a metronome, prior to playing, I always do because I think about the BPMs of what my songs were written at or what I collaborated with and where we sat. I practice with that metronome because it’s crucial to me to get that melody tempo right. Melodically, it had a particular phrasing that worked at a certain speed. If I’m not thinking of that with my guitar and suddenly, I start off too fast, brought it down to slow or the reverse. I start way too slow and then suddenly, the melody drags. You want to have that confidence that when you step onto that stage, you sit down, you’re like, “I’ve practiced this. I’ve done the work. I know where it needs to sit tempo-wise.” That’s important. There’s a big difference between people that do that, and those that are on a wing and a prayer. They are at the mercy of their guitar. 

We’ve talked about the traps that people get into. In going over the things that people do wrong and what they can do better, is there anything else that we haven’t covered that are in your main wheelhouse of what you are teaching songwriters on the guitar that we haven’t covered yet? 

Those are the major pitfalls and I work at songwriters trusting their ear. Think of how much music we’ve listened to in our lifetime. We walk around with self-doubt and insecurity in our ability. If that’s one thing. Sometimes I meet with folks. The way they sometimes carry themselves or the way that they’re striving to be this unrealistic version of themselves or they’re spending way too much time comparing themselves to others. They could instead understand the value of what they’re bringing. They’re bringing a unique perspective. It’s as important. 

When I played the piano, Mr. Rogers was huge. Think of how he ends his program. There’s only one person in the whole world like you and that’s yourself. People can like you exactly as you are. I find that still valuable as an adult. I still have to listen to that because we look at our phones daily. That’s our job. We have to post things. We have to do things. We can fall through the trap of like, “I’m looking at what so and so is doing.” We’ve spent an hour looking at all these other good things and we feel like crap. We feel terrible about ourselves. 

There are things that we can work on these pitfalls and they are actionable things. The word actionable is important, not unrealistic, not lightyears away. These are actionable things that we can do to fix and get on track that will then highlight the things that we’re great at, the things that we’re good at, the things that we bring to write, the unique perspective. My goal is to get songwriting guitarists to use their listening ear to guide the writer and to know what to look for. If we can look for these few little things like voicings, better strumming patterns, techniques, and understand all those little things that make a song unique that we’re trying to aim for. 

Don’t spend too much time comparing yourself to others. Instead, understand the value of the unique perspective you’re bringing. Click To Tweet

If I was sitting down for a Jason Mraz song. I knew what to look for and I go, “I need to understand this voicing, this strumming pattern, this technique.” That unlocks it and I’m set. We then can allow our unique voice to carry that song because we’re keeping things in line. Songwriting guitarists need to keep close to themselves and not fall down that trap of an unrealistic version and more an unhealthy version of themselves and trying to compare themselves to others. That’s huge. 

It’s a hard line to walk those, especially if you’re working on sync placement stuff because you are trying to follow these briefs. You’re trying to be like, “Okay, I need to write a song like Jason Mraz, but I don’t try to sound exactly like Jason Mraz.” It’s a hard line to walk in and I’m sure it takes practice to not sound like a total copycat, but still in the style of. 

It’s understanding the elements. I like to think of it this way. A baker that’s baking a cake understands the ingredients that need to go in to make a chocolate cake or whatever style, but the twist, the design, and the things they do, no one does it exactly like that baker. There are elements that’ll make that cake delicious, but the design, the elements, all those things are going to be a little bit different than the baker a couple of doors down. These elements are not meant to restrain an artist or limit them. It’s meant to give them a better guide to aim and get that song to fall into that genre, into that style. Their unique tastes can still come through.  

I always geek out when I can find the elements that I know will hit the song perfectly, but then I get a chance to play around with different sounds and find the things that are an interesting combination. I love to layer my guitars when it comes to recording and finding different sounds. I map, I throw my chain and I throw in a reverb pedal on a fuzzy guitar. I pitch and shift it up to make it sound like a chipmunk, but then I blend it behind another guitar. That’s pretty normal and straight down the middle. Nobody’s going to hear that chipmunk sound all the way but it adds this layer that makes that part a little bit more unique and a combination that not everybody does. 

That’s the buttermilk or the apple sauce of whatever it is you add to your cake to make it moister. I love that idea. Sometimes, it’s something in the background. You’re not sure what it is but it sounds a little bit different. 

I’ve been watching The Great British Baking Show. I always rewatched the episodes. I’m always loving to see what people do that is their unique thing. They always bring up one ingredient that they were like, “This is the secret thing.” Paul just goes, “Soggy bottom.” He is always checking to see if there is a soggy bottom. 

I always watch Holiday Baking. There is always somebody that’s like, “I’m from Kentucky. I have to put bourbon in everything.” We have those things that are in us and then we need to pair those with not always doing that. Making it be a good mix between what we bring and then what we can bring in from other people and other influences. I have to ask about income streams because that’s one of my things, profitable musician and all that. I know you make a comfortable living from the guitar and I love that because it all stems from the guitar and all these ways that I’ve made an income because of that. How are you able to have a comfortable income by being a songwriter, a teacher and a guitarist? 

I don’t think people realize that they can make a good living from the guitar because there’s the stereotype of, “A broken musician just carrying his case, maybe getting a few pennies, maybe you’ll get a real job.” There’s a whole new host of things that opened up when I started to take my guitar more seriously and delved into avoiding some of these pitfalls and just honing my own skills. The first thing was, there are so many people that are looking for a great session guitarist. The internet has opened this world. Avenues like SoundBetter or AirGigs, where if you’re a solid guitarist that can track to a metronome, understands different styles and can arrange guitars, people will pay good money for a great guitarist. 

When I first started, I geeked out when somebody paid me $75 to be like, “Can you track one guitar?” I was like, “How many takes?” “One good take of a rhythm.” I did and that was the easiest $75 I ever made. The most extreme that I got was something that was a deadline. They contact me. They were like, “I need this within an hour.” I was like, “Here is my need-this-in-an-hour rate.” “Fine.” I was blown away for getting $400 for something that took me maybe 30 minutes to map out. They were like, “Here you go.” All this time I was carrying this mentality of there was only one way to make money in music and that was through a band. Suddenly, there was one way, tracking for others. 

I then got into the main thing, licensing, which I was curious about. Building instrumentals was a big thing because if you can understand the makeup of different genres, and guitars placed within those genres, you can start cranking out instrumentals. That’s what I do. I do that for fun. In the morning, I wake up, I have my first cup of coffee, I sit down and for a week, every day, I create a different instrumental that’s in this genre and I do 10 or 15. Suddenly, I’ve got this catalog, and then I ship it off to a music library. It goes in there and then it starts finding its way within shows because they’re looking for things that sound like things, but they don’t want to pay those artists. They want to find that thing that’s close to it. 

The next thing was writing with artists. Writing with artists that were already signed to create sync libraries and sync agencies that are pushing their songs. I know as a writer, I will get the mark of what they’re looking for as an artist, as a writer, what they need to sound like and what they are. I don’t try to give them an identity that’s not theirs. I know what fits for them. I can write it. I can help them produce it and I can guide it all with my guitar. It ends up producing a great song. That great song goes into an agency that is hustling and making sure that artists get noticed. I get noticed because they’re like, “Who wrote this? Who produced this?” Suddenly, I then get asked to do a few more things. There are many possible streams of income for writers in their guitar that they can start doing right away. 

That is super encouraging for all the artists watching and reading here that there’s no one way. I love that you mentioned AirGigs and I didn’t know about SoundBetter. That’s a great one I hadn’t heard of. I love those opportunities. I’ve been doing those for years and it’s so simple. You’re sitting at home in your home studio and doing it quickly and you get paid. You don’t even have to go anywhere. That’s great for nowadays especially. I love that you mentioned all of those ways that people can make income from focusing on becoming a better guitarist, becoming a better songwriter, and marrying the two. 

Even in a COVID world, in 2020, I had my best year ever, which blew my mind. I say that because I know people struggled and I don’t say that to brag, but to say that there are so many avenues out there that can support you not a little bit, but very well. 

A lot of people that had already started to delve into those multiple income streams did have their best year ever in 2020 which is hard. Some of us feel guilty about that because we know that other musicians are struggling. What we hope is that people will listen to us and see how we did that and realize that they can do it too. They just need to go beyond touring, thinking that all of your income is from touring and merch which is not possible. For those that had already opened up some of those income streams, they turned up the volume on those income streams during this time. This has all been so good. Let our readers know how they can connect with you online and on social media. 

If they want to go to SongwritingForGuitar.com, I have a whole bunch of free resources. A big one is my quick start guide because I talked about voicings. There are four voicings that I‘ll give you right away so that you can understand the genres that they used and how to start to apply it. They can follow me on Instagram @SongwritingForGuitar. 

Thank you so much. It’s always so fun to talk to you and for anyone that’s reading, if you want to hear more about that starving-artist mentality and overcoming that and looking at more income streams, I know that Mike and I talked about that on his podcast as well. Do you want to let them know how to find your podcast? 

TPM 29 Mike Meiers | Songwriting For Guitar

Songwriting For Guitar: You want to have the confidence when you step onto that stage, knowing you’ve practiced and you’ve done the work.

 

If they go to SongwritingForGuitar.com and then click the link, Podcast, they will see your episode up there. That was a wonderful episode because I love what you do to power musicians, to not just think one way, but also to understand the possibilities of different revenue streams that they can start applying now. That to me is huge. 

Thank you and I love that everywhere we look, you are Songwriting For Guitar. I hope every artist takes that to mind when you’re doing your branding. It’s so easy to find him, as long as you know that it’s his brand name, you can find him anywhere. Your podcast, your course and all of it. It’s super smart. Thank you for emulating that because it’s a good lesson in branding for all of us. 

Thank you, Bree. 

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About Mike Meiers

TPM 29 Mike Meiers | Songwriting For GuitarMike Meiers is an Emmy Award-Winning songwriter, producer, and guitar coach. When he’s not producing, Mike helps songwriting guitarists enhance their skills so they can write better songs and get them out into the world through his online program “Riff To Radio” and in the “Songwriting For Guitar Podcast”.