Before the advent of musical notation, composers employed various personal codes and intuitive methods to document their musical ideas. They did not require formal symbols to capture the essence of their melodies, thus underscoring a vital truth: the soul of music transcends the constraints of written symbols.

In contemporary music, formal training and the ability to read and write music have become standard for many composers. This skill allows for precise communication and preservation of musical ideas. However, the capacity to produce moving and memorable songs is not confined to those who are formally educated. Numerous renowned composers, such as Jose Mari Chan and Rey Valera from the Philippines, started their musical journeys without the ability to read musical notes. Yet their works demonstrate that true musical genius can flourish outside conventional academic frameworks.

Practical songwriting, as I define it, involves creating music without relying on formal musical notation. This approach democratizes music composition, making it accessible to anyone with a creative spirit and a keen ear. It proves that the ability to craft compelling music does not depend on formal training but on the passion and creativity of the individual. By using intuitive methods, such as personal codes or modern technology, composers can capture their musical ideas effectively. The beauty of practical songwriting lies in its pure, unfiltered creativity and accessibility.

The process of practical songwriting often involves a more spontaneous and emotional connection to the music. Without the constraints of notation, composers can focus on the emotional resonance of their work. This often leads to music that feels raw and authentic, deeply connecting with listeners. The absence of formal structure allows for a direct expression of the composer’s emotions, resulting in a more genuine artistic creation.

Moreover, practical songwriting encourages innovation and experimentation. Freed from the conventions of musical theory, composers can explore unconventional harmonies, rhythms, and structures. This freedom encourages unique, groundbreaking music that challenges traditional norms while resonating with audiences. Many musical genres have evolved from such innovative approaches, highlighting the importance of creative freedom in music composition.

The success of practical songwriting underscores the diversity of human creativity. It illustrates that there are multiple paths to creating beautiful music, each valid and valuable. Whether a composer meticulously crafts a piece using notation or improvises a melody intuitively, the true measure of their work is its emotional and aesthetic impact on listeners. This diversity enriches the musical landscape, offering a vast array of sounds and styles for audiences to enjoy.

In my own experience as a composer with five original music albums, despite not being able to read a single note, I have found practical songwriting to be a powerful and fulfilling process. It has allowed me to connect deeply with my music and express my creativity without the limitations of formal training. My journey reinforces the idea that the heart of music lies in its ability to convey emotions and stories, rather than in the technicalities of its notation.

Indeed, practical songwriting celebrates the limitless potential of human creativity. It affirms that anyone, regardless of their formal training, can compose music that touches the heart and soul. With it, we honor the traditions of the past and pave the way for future innovations in music. This approach not only democratizes music composition but also enriches our collective musical heritage with diverse and heartfelt expressions. While many trained composers rely on musical notes to craft their pieces, there remains a special place for those who create beautiful melodies without these traditional tools. This form of composition, which I call practical songwriting, proves that musical creativity is universal and innate.