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Ever wondered how to write a song? Want to write better lyrics but don’t know how? Well today I’m going to share with you some of my best songwriting tips, so you too can put together a professional sounding song.
Writing a good song is a skill. With enough practice anyone can write one, but with the right technique and imagination you can create a master piece. While the imagination side of things is largely down to you (Although we give you some ways to generate ideas later in this step by step guide), the technical side of things is where we can help you out.
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In all honesty, there is no one way to write a good song. Everyone has had different experiences, emotions, and beliefs, and all of these things will play a big part in the way you put it together. That said, there are certain best practices you can follow to make the most out of your songwriting process. This is what we hope to pass on to you today; proven techniques that will have you writing better songs each and every time.
This guide will help you no matter what genre of music you make, and whether you want to write lyrics as a singer, or write rap lyrics to a hip hop beat. Either way, these tips should be relevant for you.
So, let’s look at how to write a song. If you enjoy this article, please share it via social networking sites as a thank you, and / or link to it from your own site.
* The above video is an audio version of half of this guide. To see the full guide, read to the bottom of this post.
Different Approaches On How To Write A Song
Ok, before we go into the technique of putting your lyrics together, we need to look at the different approaches we can take to song writing. There are two main ways you can go about doing this:
- Writing lyrics first then finding a instrumental to match it after, or
- Writing to a pre-made instrumental or beat.
Both methods have their pros and cons. For example, the first methods means you can write lyrics no matter where you are, which of course is a good thing. All you need is somewhere to write the lyrics down (So you remember them later), and the motivation to create a great song. And if you have a smartphone, you can use a notepad app to write your lyrics on the move. You can then match your lyrics to a beat later on, or simply sing or rap them acapella to your audience.
This method can be very handy, as many song writers get inspiration at the weirdest times. You could be sitting on a bus and get an idea for a song, or you could be half asleep and suddenly jolt awake as you think of a epic chorus. Of course, in these instances it’s not really practical to bring out your music player and start finding a backing track to write to.
When inspiration hits like this, it’s often a better idea to simply write down your ideas on your phone or on a bit of paper, and finish it off later when you are in a better position to do so. This is why many song writers walk around with their note pad to take down any lyric ideas that come to them.
The downside to this methods however can be finding the right backing track after. It can occasionally (Not always) take a while to find the perfect instrumental to fit with your lyrics, so bare this in mind if you decide to take this path.
The other option is to find a beat first, then write lyrics over it. If you want to develop the skill of writing lyrics to a song, you need to pay close attention to the melody or rhythm of the backing track in question. If you have a beat or instrumental you want to write something to, you need to play it and listen to it for a while.
Get a good feel for the song, and allow inspiration for ideas to enter your mind. You should try to make the lyrics you’re writing down connect with the way the instrumental makes you feel. The more feelings and emotions you inject into your lyrics, the better the song will usually turn out.
Some musicians however, find it hard creating lyrics like this. If you’re having troubles using this method, a good idea is to think of a subject for your song first, then write to the beat once you have a subject matter firmly in your mind. This will then allow you to focus only on writing lyrics around this theme, and writing to the same speed and structure of the backing track.
You don’t have to stick to just one of these two strategies, you can try both and see which one works best for you. I know people that use both methods at different times, so don’t feel you have to just stick to one.
Songwriting Tips – Coming Up With A Subject For Your Lyrics
Coming up with a subject for your song is the first thing you should aim to do before you write a song. While it’s not 100% essential, it’s often a good idea to have our song following a rough subject matter which our listeners can relate to.
Many songs don’t have a set subject matter, and can still do well if they’re catchy and appeal to a specific target audience. That said, choosing a subject matter will make things a lot easier for you when it comes to writing song lyrics. It’ll also mean that your fans will be able to connect with your song on a deeper level, as they will be able to relate to what you’re saying.
There are a few ways to come up with ideas for your song. Firstly, you can build on from a line that you have already created. You may have written down a line in a moment of inspiration, and you may find you can create a whole song around the theme of that line. This is often the easiest method, as you most likely have feelings about this subject if you’ve started writing about it.
A second method is to decide you want to write about a specific subject, and go on to create your lyrics from there. So for example, you may decide you want to write about something because it’s an experience you’ve been through before. Or you may see something you have an opinion on / think will make a good song, and write about it accordingly.
A final option is to get inspiration from a backing track. Sometimes when you listen to a beat, you will start to get ideas for what a song should be about. Ideas will flow to your mind, and you can pick one of these and build out the song from there.
Once again, all of these methods can be used by any one musician. You don’t have to pick one method for how to write a song, you can use the various different techniques at different times.
Once you have a subject, let’s look at the lyric writing. We don’t want basic or childish lyrics, so this is something we’ll need to practice on.
How To Write A Chorus For A Song (Creating The Hook)
If you are a beginner songwriter, the easiest way to start writing your own songs is to begin with a hook (Also known as the chorus). If you’re writing to a beat, you will want to listen to it for a while, and begin writing down everything that starts coming to your mind. These will usually be a line or two of lyrics, or a set melody structure you can write to. Once you have brainstormed a few ideas onto paper, you will hopefully have a stand out idea you can base your chorus around. If not, continue with this process until you do. You can get some ideas on being more creative with your songwriting here.
You may also find you have written more then one idea for a good chorus. If this happens, pick the one that is most suited for this song, then save the rest for other future songs you write. That songwriting tip will mean that you are already ahead when it comes to creating a new piece, and will make the song writing process a lot easier the next time around.
Developing a good chorus is critical when it comes to making good songs, because the chorus is what connects each verse to one another. While it doesn’t need to rhyme, it will need to be catchy, and instantly grab the attention of people that hear it. While there are some exceptions to this rule, writing catchy choruses are often the way to go.
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P.S. Remember though, none of what you've learned will matter if you don't know how to get your music out there and make people WANT to hear it. Want to learn how to do that? Then check out our music marketing training here. A fool proof guide on how to get people to listen to your music.