There is no feeling like writing a new song, especially for those who have carried around songs in their head for a long time. However, getting a song from your head and onto paper is something that many people find very difficult. This is especially true if they have difficulty finding the right way to express their song to others. Unfortunately, too many people give up on their idea of writing a song because they feel that they are not talented enough or that the song simply is not good enough for others to hear.
Even professional songwriters can have difficulty in starting a song which goes a long way in explaining that the songwriting process itself can be a difficult one. However, it is not one to be avoided simply because you may not know how to put your song to paper. The good news is that you can start writing a song quickly and be able to get most, if not all of it out within a very short period of time. The only real trick is being ready for it when it happens.
Great songwriters know how to take inspiration from almost anything they see and feel. The closer a song is to their hearts, the greater chances of it being relatable and hitting the charts. Here are a few tips that will help inspire you to write down your song and even create one from scratch. All you need is a little preparation and the ability to start writing it down when the time is right.
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Song Inspiration Comes In Waves
Your ability to write a song starts when you become inspired. Unfortunately, there may be no way to know when inspirations strikes, so you will simply have to be ready when the moment occurs. It may be when you are having dinner, at work, driving back home or any number of places.
One famous story of songwriting came from Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones who was awakened one night by a dream, he grabbed his guitar, turned on the recording tape and put down a riff four or five times before putting the guitar down and falling back asleep. The riff he recorded became the basis for the song, “Satisfaction”, one of their biggest hits.
So, while you might find it inconvenient to put a recorder and musical instrument by your bed, you can carry with you small digital recorder or voice recorder app and perhaps pencil and paper so you can sing into it when the inspiration for a song strikes. You can also write down the notes if you have a musical background, but today digital recorders are compact, inexpensive and can be activated almost instantaneously. However, pencil and paper will help if you write down song lyrics that is part of your inspiration.
You need to start recording as soon as the song enters your head because otherwise it might get lost in your memories and be next to impossible to track down again. So, when it is first convenient to do so, start recording your song even if it is only a few lines or a melody. That will be what you need when you are ready to formally record the song.
More about creative songwriting and inspiration.
Learn More About Writing Music
If you already know how to write music, then you have a definite advantage because you can translate your song for musicians to expand. However, if you do not have a full knowledge of how to write music, it does pay to learn. This is because the understanding of how to write notes and structure can help you develop the song as you go along in the writing process.
The common or standard song structure is composed of verse, chorus, another verse then followed by a bridge and will end with a chorus repeated once or more.
The verse is usually heard at the beginning of the song or before a chorus. Its rhythm and melody are all the same but the lyrics change. A verse is like where the story is being told. A chorus is the highlight of the song; it is the most remembered part since it is repeated more than once. Bridge serves a break from verses and choruses.
Understanding how to read and write music can go a long way towards developing your creativity and harnessing your talent putting a song into a form that can be further developed in your own style.
Even if you can play music by ear, which is a very special talent, understanding how to translate that by writing music can greatly enhance your ability to start a song. This is especially true if you are in a band or work with others who can help you develop the song along the way. Once you can do this, you'll find it easier to get inspired when writing a song.
Develop The Melody First, Then Focus On The Words
If a melody is the basis for the song that you are forming in your mind, then work out the melody and don’t focus on the lyrics until after you have worked out the structure of the song.
Many famous songwriters, including Paul McCartney and Peter Gabriel are famous for developing out the melodies first while inserted nonsensical lyrics until the structures of the songs are completed.
The song, “Yesterday” which is one of the most recorded in music history began as “Scrambled Eggs” as Paul McCartney focused on working out the melody before focusing on the lyrics which became one of the most recognized songs by The Beatles.
Use A Song Idea Generator
Sometimes as song writers we just need a push. In this case you can use something like a song idea generator to give you some prompts.
This can be a great time saver, and give you ideas you wouldn't have otherwise thought about.
Start Writing A Song By Not Thinking
Basically, this means that if you are having difficulty working with the melody part of the song in your head, then write it out as poetry first and then worry about songwriting later. The “Star Spangled Banner” was originally a poem and in fact many songs got their start as poems or similar forms of writing before they were translated into song.
You can start out with poetry or perhaps just focus on a catchy riff. Whatever suits your style best is how you should begin the song. Sometimes, writing out the full song will take a great deal of time while in other cases it might come out all at once. There are many stories about famous songs that almost wrote themselves in just a few minutes while in other cases they took months to work out. You shouldn’t be concerned about the time it takes, just focus on creating what you can at a pace that you are comfortable.
Be Calm And Let The Song Come To You
Starting a song is not something that can be forced or come into being because of necessity, it is most often a relaxed state of mind that allows your creativity to flow. You should avoid creativity-killing thoughts such as starting with the title to the song, the key or the structure as that will take you out of the creative process.
Instead, you simply need to let it flow from you and be prepared to catch it when it happens. That is the best way to start a song.
You need to write down everything that comes to you, but be careful not to judge your material at this point. This is because some of the ideas may not be useful at all, but you never know if they will answer something for you down the road.
For instance, you may think of an amazing idea to put in a song you are working on, but when you bring an instrument on board, you find it doesn’t work. Months later, when you are working on another song, you can simply refer back to the previous idea you had and include it in your song.
Whether you are seeking to write a song to serenade a loved one, to vent your emotional turmoil or hoping to make it to the hit charts, it is important to know what goes into creative songwriting. Basically, it is just two parts – music and lyrics.
It sounds easy enough for one person to do both, but in reality, most of the greatest hits we know of were penned by two people. One writes the music (pens the notes, progressions, rises and falls) while the other writes the words to the catchy hook, the chorus, and even the bridge. An example of this excellent teamwork is the 40-year working relationship of Elton John and Bernie Taupin. Elton writes the music, Bernie writes the lyrics and they are responsible for Skyline Pigeon and Your Song.
I hope you found this guide useful. If so and you want to learn more, you can see more about creative songwriting and inspiration here.