Who doesn't love a good ol' cover song? I think a lot of times singer-songwriters underestimate the value of playing cover songs because we're scared of being labelled a "cover artist." But there's a lot you can learn from learning and playing cover songs, even if it's just for fun!
I always stress the importance of studying and analyzing songs. But playing another artist's song helps you take it to the next level analyze it even deeper.
You'll discover an interesting chord progression that you didn't even realize was as complex as it is, or a cool vocal run that you had overlooked. (Or maybe you'll realize how HARD the song is to play!) Chances are you'll find something you can take away and incorporate into your own songwriting.
So here's the challenge. Over the next 10 weeks, use these prompts to practice 10 different cover songs.
I'm putting all the prompts up in advance so you'll have plenty of time to practice. (Because I know it can be a struggle to learn a more difficult song in one week!) Here's a pdf printable of the challenge if you'd like to print it out or hang it up somewhere!
I'll be posting my own covers each week of the challenge in the Songstress Society facebook group and I'd encourage you to do the same! If you haven't joined the facebook group yet, just request to be added I'll let you in :)
1. Cover a song using a different instrument.
Let's switch things up! Create your own arrangement for a song using a different instrument than the original. For example, you could take an electronic/pop song and cover it on acoustic piano. Or try a ukulele song on electric guitar. Get creative with it!
2. Cover a song a cappella
Cover a song with only your voice - no instruments allowed! This will will force you to really zero in on your vocals (and stay in tune).
Try to make your arrangement interesting by using dynamics and phrasing to really "shape" the song!
3. Cover a song with a COMPLETELY different singing style
Choose an artist whose vocals are completely different than yours - and give it your own twist!
4. Cover a song with an identical arrangement.
This week, try to follow the song as closely as possible. You obviously don't have to play 5 instruments at once, but try to follow the arrangement on the track as closely as possible. You may pick up on some interesting voicing of chords (or inversions) that you hadn't noticed before!
5. Cover a song on the Billboard Top 10 right now.
Let's keep things current! Learn a song on the Billboard Top 10 right now. If you don't keep up with pop music, this is a great chance to see what's popular right now!
6. Cover a song by a (relatively) unknown artist.
Cover a song you don't think anyone will recognize. (I hate the term "unknown" artist, but you get what I mean - pick someone with a relatively small following or who's new to the scene.)
7. Cover a song by your all-time favorite artist.
Chances are, you've already done this, but it's always fun to cover artists we love, so why not do it again?
8. Make a duet cover song.
You can pick a song that's already a duet or make a song into a duet - the choice is yours!
If you don't have anyone to "duet" with, use overlapping tracks to create a duet with yourself.
9. Cover an artist whose vocals you admire.
Pick a vocally challenging song (think: Kelly Clarkson, Lady Gaga) and give it your best shot!
10. Cover a song you wish you wrote.
Have you ever heard a song and thought "Darn it, I wish I had written that!" Well here's your chance to pretend you did ;)