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How to write a song Part 1: Preparation and Inspiration

How to write a song
1. How to write a song Part 1: Preparation and Inspiration
2. How to Write a Song: Part 2 – Music Production Techniques
3. Music Production Techniques: Something by George Harrison

How Can I Prepare to Write a Song Successfully?

To write a song, you need to know the following key points:

  1. Musical Vocabulary: Acquire a musical vocabulary, understanding melodies, chords, rhythms, and how they create music.
  2. Song Memorization: Memorize 20 songs you love, including melody, chords, and lyrics. This internalizes song structures.
  3. Instrument Proficiency: Be proficient in an instrument like the guitar or piano, enabling you to play chords and melodies.
  4. Singing Skills: Enhance your singing abilities to complement your songwriting.

Learn Songs You Love

To begin, you need to acquire and develop a fluent musical vocabulary, much like how you learned your spoken language as a child.

A child learns a language by listening, copying, and recreating the sounds they need to convey an expression. Similarly, a composer should undergo this process. In the early stages of your musical journey, don’t worry too much about music theory, which can be compared to grammar. Instead, focus on learning the language of music. Dive into the songs you adore, learn the melodies, master the chords, play those melodies, sing them, and relish them.

Ask any accomplished composer or songwriter how many songs by others they know and can play, and you’ll likely hear “a lot.” A songwriter should have a library of songs memorized, including their structures, chords, melodies, and lyrics, before their own compositions start to make sense.

How many songs?

20If you memorise 20 songs you love, and are able to play the chords and the melody, sing the song and play the guitar or the piano, at the same time, then you will be ready, without any doubt, to compose a song that sounds good. 

If you memorize 20 songs you love, and can play the chords and the melody, sing the song while playing the guitar or the piano simultaneously, then you’ll undoubtedly be ready to compose a song that sounds good.

If you skip this cumulative process of immersing yourself in selected, beloved music and only focus on reading music theory books or studying music in a traditional manner, you won’t be able to compose a song that sounds good.

I state this based on my own experience. I wish my teachers and the first music producers I worked with had insisted on this fundamental learning. It would have saved me a lot of time and effort and, furthermore, added much more joy to my life.

Unlocking the Songwriting Process: From Inspiration to Creation

So you’re ready to write your own song; a melody and perhaps some lyrics have been floating around your mind, and now you need to bring them to life.

How to Write a songIntroduction

We all have our unique journeys in turning inspiration into a complete song. Inspiration often begins as fragments of music, like lyrics, melodies, rhythms, or chord progressions. It comes to life when you express a feeling or emotion.

The Seed of Inspiration

Think of this process like nurturing a seed until it blossoms. Writing a song is similar to the growth of a living thing. The melody, chords, and lyrics evolve over time, much like a creature developing in the womb. These ideas need time to emerge from your subconscious and become a reality.

You can’t rush the birth of these ideas. Instead, you need to diligently work on them until you have the right words, melody, and chords that harmonize with your initial inspiration.

So, it’s essential to embrace your first idea, your initial “seed,” and cultivate it.

Persistence in Songwriting

Persistence is key. As the Nobel Prize-winning author Camilo Jose Cela once said, “Inspiration is the result of investing a good number of hours.” This aligns with my view of songwriting. When an idea strikes, sit down at the piano or pick up your guitar and breathe life into that emotion. It might take just a few minutes, a month, or even longer, but the crucial thing is to persistently work on the idea until your song comes to life.

Paul McCartney once shared his perspective on music and lyrics, saying, “Most of the time, if you’re lucky, they come together. You just sit down and start… and eventually, you hear a little phrase that works, and then you follow that trail.

The Journey from Fragments to Songs

Now, after you’ve been inspired and have your musical fragments, how do you turn them into a complete song? How do you organize it for performance by a band?

The Role of a Music Producer

In this series on how to write a song, I’ll explore quotes, facts, and knowledge to provide you with a strong foundation for building your songs. My role as a music producer comes into play once you’ve finalized your song and are ready to develop it further, making it shine so others can enjoy, admire, and perhaps even purchase your creative work.

Article Summary

To write a successful song, focus on these key points: musical vocabulary, song memorization (20 songs), instrument proficiency, and singing skills. Acquiring a musical vocabulary is like learning a language through immersion. Embrace your initial inspiration and persistently work on it. Nurturing your ideas is like tending to a seed, growing slowly but steadily. Remember, persistence is crucial. Learn from accomplished composers and songwriters, who have a library of songs memorized. This foundation will lead to your songwriting success, with the possibility of collaboration with a music producer.

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