Talent comes in all shapes and sizes, especially in a musician’s world. But what is talent? Being born with a gift?
While songwriting may be viewed as a gift or talent, it does not come with a bow on top. Some are born with this talent, and others question how these born-with-it masterminds can create content in such short time. All it takes, truly, is time, practice, and determination.
So whether you are searching for a voice that words cannot yet express, or you have an impressive voice already and are dealing with a bit of writer’s block, follow these steps:
Find your Inspiration
- Find your inspiration. Why are you a songwriter? Maybe it’s because music is passed through generations in your family. Or maybe it’s because you stink at writing poems, but can nail down amazing lyrics to a song. Whatever it is, you write for a reason. But more specifically, you are writing this song for a reason. Who is it for? What emotion are you looking to spark? What does your song mean? Why would someone want to sing this?
Choose a Theme
- The theme. A song should have substance. A central idea. A main concept. Ever heard that your first 10 ideas are the worst ideas? Unfortunately with songwriting, this is definitely the case. For the most part, this part takes time—brainstorming on paper, drawing sketches, and having past-written or well-liked songs around can be helpful.
Create a Title and Hook
- Create your title and hook… for some, the title making may fall into place later. You’re not the only one. Anyhow, a title is a statement and sometimes, the underlying message of a song. It should be bold, and capture a story. The hook on the other hand should yes, be catchy occasionally, but more importantly, reel listeners in to sing along.
Identify Your Song Structure
- Identify the song structure. Choose from your favorite songs or those you think would support your goal of the song. Having many to view and compare will help you find the order of verses, the chorus, and bridges.
Melody and Chords
- Melody and chords. Ehh, this can actually be the easy part. You can find chords to support your melody from other various chord progressions; these are not copyrighted, so why not make use of them? Before you search for the chords, establish the melody. Try singing the lyrics aloud and listening to the cadence and inflection in your voice—this can be very helpful.
- Use technology. There are many benefits or this: organization, easy navigation, songwriting tools, or just a different way to view or hear your music.
Helpful examples: Noteflight and Apple’s Garage Band
Don’t get Discouraged
- Don’t get discouraged. Your first song won’t be your last. Songwriting takes practice. If you’re still left worried or stumped, take a breather. Revisit your goals and passion. Restart after coffee tomorrow morning.
But before this all, figure out what you are writing for. Are you striking an emotion, or getting party people onto the dance floor?
Remember, words are just words until they are brought to life by music and meaning. Then, they become lyrics.