Many of us start our learning journey by playing popular songs. These are songs that’s written by others. While it’s a great way to start, it’s not where our musical journey should end. We should in one way or another end with trying to bring the song we have within us out. Today I want to explore “How To Write A Song” for those who are beginning.
Understand the 3 Component of a Song
1. Get The Chord Sequence
2. Compose The Melody
3. Write The Lyrics
Step 1: Pick one way to start and the spend the whole day working on it.
The reason to pick one of the ways above is so that your song has a unique element. That element will gives its a unique flavour that people can remember. Some call it the stickability factor of the song.
Do you know songs with strong stickability factor? I remember my favourite songs either it’s strong melody or riff (Wham’s Careless Whisper), or some interesting or memorable lyrics (Sting’s Russian) or a swinging chord sequence (Muddy Water’s Hoochie Coochie Man).
It’s also a good way to start to get us out of the songwriting rut. I recall many times when I’m dry in my creativity juice, I realise I’m only dry in 1 or 2 of the 3 components and not in all 3 areas. So having to choose an alternative way to start writing a song keeps me fresh and ever ready to write one.
Spend a whole day so you give yourself time to come up with the best of many many you have come up with in that day. Once you have a good chord sequence or a melody or a great set of lyrics, you are ready to move on to the next step.
Step 2: Spend an hour working on the second element
You don’t have to do this on the same day. Give your mind and soul a rest. Attempt this the next day. You’ll find yourself spending a shorter time with it. Your first element is there and has become a strong foundation to guide you. For example if you already have the melody, and your second step is to write the chord sequence, you just work out the chord sequence. It’s more mechanical and is a science than an art.
Or if you already have a strong melody and your next step is to write the lyrics, you fill in words that has the right number of syllable or those with the correct rhyme.
Just get it done.
And the last step is
Step 3: Work out the last element which connects the first two
Ok, ok. By now you maybe wondering, have I tricked you into not teaching you anything because it all seems obvious.
Well, it is. But my response to you is to tell you that writing a song is a creative process. It has a structure but the structure only helps you to hold your creativity. The creative work itself depends on you. So at the end of the day, my 3 steps only will facilitate the creativity that is always in you.
What kind of chord sequence, melody or words that come out of you depends on you, not your teacher.
I hope after teaching you the above structure on how to write a song for beginners, that it will inspire you to attempt to write a song.
Many students (or even intermittent to professional) players never got into getting the song out of their heart. They could play many of other people’s songs but never got to write out their own. And that’s a pity because there’s so much joy for us as it is for our listeners when they get to hear it.
I hope this post will inspire you to want to not just play good guitar but to bring out your song.
Let me know what you think? How do you write your songs? What works and don’t work for you?