Hey! So you want to Write a Song. This may be your very first song or you just want to get more into making music. Well, if you are looking for a step-by-step guide for making music or writing a song, I am sorry but this is not a place for you, I just can’t tell you that. Do you want to know why? Because there is no rule of thumb for writing a good piece of music. It just happens.
I know that you may have many questions like how to write, what to write about, what should be my song structure, what should I write first; melody or lyrics and so on. Honestly, I can’t give straight answers to any of your questions. Because this article is not a cheat-sheet. It’s a knowledge-sheet. You want to write music. You have to do it yourself because music comes from within. It’s inside you.
I am going to share with you some really important things that you NEED to know before you start writing. Just read every single word very carefully and you’ll be good to go after that.
OKAY? Let’s Go!
1. Grab your stuff and get started
Getting started is not easy but everything after that is. Grab a notebook, a pen, your instrument and open any recording app on your mobile. You can start with literally anything; write a title, struck a chord, or hum some melodies. Just do whatever you feel comfortable and confident with. Once you feel the vibe that you are going to write a good song and get started with what makes you confident, everything after that will just go with the flow. Don’t forget to keep notes and recording of everything. But if you find it hard to do anything, don’t worry. It happens. Go listen to some music that can reduce pressure from your head. Once you are chilled out, come back to what you were doing. Now it will be easier.
2. Decide what first; lyrics or melody
Some people write lyrics or poetry first and then apply melody to it. Whereas a lot of people compose a fully structured melody first and then find a good fit of lyrics. You do whatever you are more comfortable with or whatever you find easier. If you have a good command of your language, go ahead write something rhythmic and meaningful. It doesn’t matter if you write it in simple language. Deep poetry can wait.
If it’s hard for you to find words and your vocabulary is not up to that mark but you are good with melodies and composing, just start making melodies on any instrument. Even humming will work fine. You can do it all by yourself or after listening to some songs for inspiration.
3. Write with your experience and emotions
Whatever you do, do it with your experience. Every song is based on some kind of emotion. It can be love, anger, inspiration, enjoyment, or anything. Just recall every moment when you were in that situation. In other words, feel what you felt, again. And try to put all of that into your song (in any form; lyrics or melody).
But what if you want to write a song about a situation that you have not felt personally? No problem at all. There are a lot of times when you watch a scene in a movie and feel very connected to it even when you have not experienced it in real life. You can apply the same method in writing a song. Watch a movie, a short film, listen to a song of the same kind or just think deeply about something similar and soon you’ll be experiencing it yourself. Don’t forget to put it all down in form of melody or lyrics because that’s the spot from where you catch the flow.
4. Decide a song structure
Every song has a structure because a song is always an organized form of melodies and lyrics. A song structure is how you set the order of different parts of your song, i.e. verse, chorus, hook, bridge, pre chorus, post chorus, intro, outro and instrumental break. Different parts of a song can also be similar sometimes and that’s why we can never use all the parts in one song.
There are many predefined song structures and you can also make one of your own. Most popular and easiest one is: Verse > Chorus > Verse > Chorus > Bridge > Chorus. I suggest you start with this and once you get the whole concept of song writing, do the experiments.
5. Find scale and chords to your song
(You can skip this if you wrote your song’s melody with an instrument) If you are an experienced player of your instrument, that’s amazing. But if you are a beginner or an intermediate, you should take a break after writing down your song’s melody and lyrics because finding your scale and chords to the song can be a little frustrating for you.
Now before you struck any chord, just sing your song from start to finish for the first time without any background music and record it on your phone. Then use your ear to find the song’s key note. In other words, find one note that fits everywhere in your song. Then with next 3-4 notes, after that main note, you’ll get to know what scale your song is in. Knowing the scale leads you to find chords. Chords to a song can be found either by using Chord Progression Theory or just by ear (listening to what chord progression fits best in different parts).
6. Don’t overthink or do labor work
You are a musician, not a labor. If you overthink or do labor work in your music, you will eventually lose both; your productivity and creativity. Leave your work whenever you feel under pressure and get back to it when you feel burden free. Once you complete writing your song, let it be the way it is for 2-3 days because after a few days you’ll realize what more should be added and how you can make it even more amazing from your end. But again don’t overthink it or you’ll just destroy what you have done till now.
Songwriting is never a hard work. However, it can be a little difficult at first but it’s always fun to write a song. A lot of times music comes to you when you are not even thinking about making it. When it comes to you, you just got to go with the flow and soon you’ll have a beautiful piece of music.
7. Ask for feedback
When you spent too much time into something, you lose sight on what’s good or what’s bad in it. So find someone honest you can trust. Doesn’t matter if that person knows much about music but it’s better if he/she knows. More the number of people, more the number of suggestions. But don’t go to too many people. 5-8 would be an appropriate number. Ask them to give you honest and brief opinion on everything they think about after listening to the demo.
You might feel kind of upset after realizing a lot of flaws in your music. Don’t worry, just sleep over it and the other day you’ll know what’s actually true out of the many opinions you’ve got. When a lot of people tell you the same flaw in your music and you don’t see it. Look closer. Just don’t believe everything you listen to but do believe similar things people tell you.
8. Keep looking for satisfaction
It’s okay if you fail and just can’t finish a song in your first attempt. Just keep yourself at it and don’t stop until you get that satisfaction you are looking for. There is no defined formula of songwriting. You want to do it and you have to do it. All by yourself.
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