Ever hear a wicked good song on the radio? Wish you could write one just as good? This article is just for you!
1Find a theme to your song. First off, you need to figure out what you want your song to represent. Will it be a song about love and romance? heartache and pain? or maybe dragons and elves? During this process, it’s best to identify how you are feeling and what your mood is. What’s currently inspiring you? Maybe you’re feeling completely mundane, and you feel as though there’s no inspiration in your life. In this instance, it may be a good idea to draw from other sources. Here are some you might want to try:
- Conversations: Maybe you’ve had a really good conversation with someone recently. Try to think of some of the key points of that talk, and translate it into lyrics.
- Movies: Think back to one of your favorite movies. What emotions did that film spark? You can either write a song about the movie, or simply gather certain ideas from it.
- Novels and/or poems: What’s the latest book you’ve read? If you haven’t read anything lately, try picking up a book and gathering ideas from that. Poems are another good alternative to draw from.
2Decide whether you want to start with the melody or lyrics first. This is an important step and sometimes a hard decision to make. Do you naturally come up with words or melodies faster? This should help in determining which one you choose. If you find that you’re inclined to hum out a melody much quicker than you do writing lyrics, then it’s probably best to pick up your guitar or sit down at your piano first. If you’re one who can really jot down lyrical ideas fast once the can of worms has been cracked, then find somewhere quiet to sit down and start writing. The following two steps are interchangeable depending on which one you have decided to tackle first.
3Come up with a melody. Coming up with great melody is a tricky concept. Generally, the simpler the melody is, the more effective it will be. Here in lies the tricky part however, coming up with that perfectly simplistic melody, without seeming amateur or “cheap”. Don’t be frightened by this though, remember, stay genuine and good things will happen. Be patient and really take the time to come up with your best work.
- Start by playing simple chords on your instrument. Keep in mind what kind of theme you have decided for your song. If it’s dark or sad, you might want to stick to minor chords. If it’s happy and up-tempo you might be better of with major chords. For electronic music, it is best to make sure you have a basic synth, then play around with it until you find something good.
- Start humming or whistling different melodies over the chords.
- Invest in a Dictaphone or micro-recorder, you never know when that perfect melody may come along and it’s best to document it while it’s fresh in your mind.
- If you play guitar and like to play open chords, invest in a capo. This will assist you in trying new keys to play in.
- Challenge yourself by learning new scales and chords. This will add depth and ultimately make your music richer.
4Write lyrics. In most cases, lyrics are going to create the initial impression that your audience responds to, so it’s best to make every word count. Timing and delivery of your words are key. Try to think of different rhyming schemes and ways of conveying your message.
- If you get stuck, try using tools such as rhyming dictionaries or a thesaurus.
- Make sure you are using words in the right context. Use a dictionary if you are unsure.
5Perfect and rewrite if necessary. It’s important to make sure your song is the best it absolutely can be. There’s not much point in spending a lot of time on a tune that you’re not completely satisfied with. There is a fine line however, in knowing when your song is complete. Some artists may go too far in rewriting their songs, that they end up losing the initial essence that made the song good in the first place. Try not to get stuck in that sort of trap. Remember, you will always be your own worst critic, so don’t go too far down the rabbit hole, or you may never come back.
- Continually challenge yourself, asking, “is this absolutely the best I can come up with for this section?”
6Make sure you have a safe quiet place to be in and relax before you start.Stretch or do some yoga, then drink some water and relax. Make sure you have a notebook or computer to write your lyrics. After you do that, the words should come to you
- Don’t be afraid to experiment. Try thinking outside the box, but not too far as to where no one else will be able to identify with your music (unless that is what you want of course)
- Play the song for a friend or family member who isn’t afraid to give you honest feedback.