To write a song in ten steps

  1. Start with the title. Create a one to six word phrase that sums up the heart of your song message. Try to use an image or action word in your title to give it energy and interest. For more tips on song titles, go to Write an unforgettable title or watch this video.

Provide a list of questions suggested by the title. First, ask yourself what you want to say about your title and what your audience may want to know. Ask a list of questions. Your list might include: What does the title mean? How do you feel about this? What happened to cause this? What do you think or what do you hope for next? You need three to four questions. For more information, see this video.

Choose a song structure. Currently the most popular structure is: verses / chorus / verses / chorus / bridge / chorus. Many new hits add a short section called “pre-chorus” or “lift” between verse and chorus to create anticipation. Here is a tip to learn more. Or watch this video to learn the basics.

Answer one question in the chorus and one in each verse. Select the question you want to answer in your chorus. Search for pictures and action words to bring your answers to life. What emotions do you describe? How does your body feel? Is it warm or cold? Dark or bright? If you become too poetic, add a line that makes a clear statement so that the audience is not lost. Read more about adding emotions to your texts here.

Find the melody in your text. Choose the lines that you like best for your chorus. Say it loud. Say it again with MANY emotions. Exaggerate the emotions in the lines. Notice the natural rhythm and melody of your language as you pronounce the lines with great emotion. This is the beginning of your refrain melody. Play with it until it feels comfortable. Learn more about how to create a melody with your lyrics.

Begin to add chords to your choral melody. Try a simple, repeated chord pattern. Play with the melody and the chords until you find something that you like. Record a harsh voice – even if it’s only on your iPhone. Just make sure you get it down so you will not forget it. In this article you will find several chord progressions. Just scroll to the section on chord progressions.

  1. Select a question to answer in your first verse. Make it one that draws the listener into the situation. Follow steps 4 through 6 with your text and melody.

Connect your verse with the chorus. After you have a verse and chorus, make a transition between them. You may need to increase or decrease your verse melody, or change the last line to get to your chorus smoothly. TIP: Chorus melodies are usually in a higher range than stanzas. When we become emotional, our voices tend to rise. The chorus is the more emotional part of your song, so it’s higher, while verses add information about the situation.

Build your second verse and bridge. Choose another one of your questions that you want to answer in verse 2. Continue with steps 4 – 6. Your second chorus will have the same melody and lyrics as your first chorus. You are almost done with your song now. You just have to add a bridge. The bridge section adds an emotional climax to your song, a realization or an “aha!” Moment. Try two or three lines of text that give the listener the best possible insight, or summarize what you hope will be the result. The melody should be different from verse and choir. Use a chord that you have not used before, or change the phrase length or movement of the melody. A bridge is not a requirement, but it can give your song a lot of power.
Record your song. A simple piano / vocals or guitar / vocals can often be the most effective emotional statement of your song. If you’ve written a rock song, make an “unplugged” version. You do not need many strings and synthesizers – these can even distract you. Practice both instrumental and vocal parts until you are familiar with each chord, note and word. The less you have to focus on playing or singing, the more you can focus on the emotions in the song. Try singing

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