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Many singers are also lyricists or composers and many play more than one instrument. Are you one of these gifted masters of creative multitasking? Is there any reason a singer should learn to play the guitar or keyboard and create their own material?

Mark Elliott is a well-known Americana artist who is an accomplished singer-songwriter and musician.
“Singing taught me how to write,” Elliott said, adding that playing an instrument has helped him become a better singer. Not only that, the honing of his crafts has led Elliott into the production end of the music business. He owns Cub Creek Sound Studio nestled in the rolling hills and winding creeks of middle Tennessee just a few miles northwest of Nashville.

It was his efforts in high school to write songs as part of a creative writing class that he hoped would teach him how to sing. For Elliott, the interconnectedness of these three disciplines has created a full circle of more than 1,000 songs, countless tour dates that span several continents, a diverse fan base, and a vast network of singers, songwriters, musicians, producers and other industry contacts. Learning to write and to play an instrument has improved his singing while enlarging his circles of connection.

Singers With Benefits

For singers who write and play out, there’s another key benefit, too. It gives you the change to pursue gigs where you can sing those songs that you’re pitching to get cut. You get to share and strengthen your voice. You find out what works, what doesn’t, and it feeds your creativity. A further advantage for the composer is that after songs ride their wave of popularity they still come to life on the stage as the singer tours.
And again, it gives you, the singer, a wider circle of connections to get your voice heard.

You may not play a mean guitar or set the stage on fire with your fancy key work, but it can help further refine the performer in you. It can also help you connect with the reason behind each song and help you become more intimately familiar with the relationship between your voice and the instruments that help to lift it up and carry it to the hearts of minds of your audience.

For more information on Mark Elliott, visit

Randy Moomaw

Author Randy Moomaw

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