write a song

How To Write a Song Today: 4 Easy Steps

write a song

Learning how to write a song is easier than you think! Greeley, CO teacher Andy W. outlines the steps here… 

Don’t you wish you could write a song that tells your own story – whether it’s about love, hardships, or finding humor in life? There’s no reason that you can’t do that today! To help get you started, here are four easy steps to writing your own song:

1. Play chords or a riff.
2. Sing or hum over the harmony.
3. Repeat steps 1-2 to form a chorus and then a bridge.
4. Place the song sections in this order: Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus

1. Play chords or a riff.

Play chords that you know sound good together. You can use what you know of music theory to help think of possible chords. One of the most common chord progressions is I, IV, V, which would be C, F, G in the key of C.

Another approach is to forget about all that theory and just play chords that sound new and good to your ears. This is a great way to make a song sound like your own.

2. Sing or hum over the harmony.
Start by singing syllables without words. When Paul McCartney originally wrote “Yesterday,” instead of saying “all my troubles seem so far away,” he sang “Scrambled eggs, oh my darling you’ve got lovely legs.” Likewise, when Stevie Wonder first wrote “Superstition,” instead of singing “writing on the wall,” he sang “wash your face and hands.” If they write lyrics this way, so can you! Then once you have a basic melody, it can be much easier to add lyrics.

3. Repeat steps 1-2 to form a chorus and then a bridge.

Here is a general breakdown for what each section of your song should look like:

  • Verse: The verse should tell a story. Use it to describe a scene, an emotion, or something in detail. This section can rhyme but it doesn’t have to.
  • Chorus: The chorus should be very simple and repetitive. Try to make a hook that people can‘t get out of their heads. Here are a few examples of songs with memorable choruses: Beatles – All You Need Is Love; Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe; Eric Clapton – Layla
  • Bridge: The bridge is a common addition to a song that keeps the listener engaged by going into new territory. It‘s often used as an instrumental section where solos can occur. Changes in the chords, key, tempo, dynamics, or instrumentation are common.

Here are two additional song sections that are commonly used:

  • Pre-Chorus: The pre-chorus is typically a transition between the verse and chorus. Another approach can be to use the pre-chorus in place of a chorus for the first half of a song. This allows you to save the chorus for a big climax toward the end.
  • Intro and Outro: Intros and outros can be instrumentals or feature lyrics that introduce or develop the main idea of the song.

4. Place the song sections in this order: Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus

This is a very common structure for pop songs. Examples of songs that use this structure are: Otis Redding – Dock of the Bay; Incubus – Drive; John C. Mellencamp – Jack and Diane

By playing chords, singing over them, making multiple sections, and finally ordering these sections, you can quickly and easily write a song today! Congratulations! As you continue to write, avoid writer’s block by doing these steps without judging yourself and your abilities. You can do it. Happy songwriting!

AndyWAndy W. teaches guitar, singing, piano, and more in Greeley, CO. He specializes in jazz, and has played guitar for 12 years. Learn more about Andy here!

 

 

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Photo by Ron Sombilon

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