Step-by-Step Method to Writing a Song
So you want to write a song but you don’t quite know how to go about it. The following step-by-step method will help you get that song written.
1. Begin by deciding whether you want to write the music or the lyrics first. If you already have a tune in your head and want to get it down on paper and then write the words to go with it then clearly this is the way to begin. If, on the other hand, you already know what you want to say in the song you can either write the lyrics first or write them as you compose the music. There is no hard and fast rule to songwriting. You may need to try both ways until you figure out which is the best way for you.
2. Choose what your song is going to be about i.e. the subject. Songwriters get inspiration from the oddest places sometimes. It may be something they witnessed as they walk down a city street, or it could be something that happened to them personally. It may be a national event that the songwriter feels is worthy of writing a song about.
3. Start with a title. Make it memorable but more importantly it needs to convey the message of the song. Keep it short – between 2 and 6 words is best.
4. Choose the structure of the song – Typically the structure will consist of Verse / Chorus / Verse / Chorus / Bridge / Chorus but your song does not have to stick to that structure. If you are uncertain aim for that structure and then modify it as you progress if you feel the need to.
5. Find the melody – Choose several lines of your chorus that you particularly like and focus on writing the music for those lines first. Make them impactful and then add chords until the chorus itself is completely written.
6. Now work on the chords for the verses. Typically these will follow the same style with the bridge being a little different. Keep the flow of the lyrics in mind as you piece each line of music together.
7. Play each section over and over until you feel it has the melody you are looking for. You may need to do considerable tweaking to get your song to come together cohesively.
8. If you have a friend who sings and/or plays an instrument, perform the song for them and get their feedback. If you feel their points are valid continue working on the song until it feels and sounds right.