01 Oct Songwriting Tips for Beginners
Songwriting Tips for Beginners
What does it take to write a song? There are many ways to approach songwriting, but the most important part is having something you want to say. Learning how to write songs involves some basic understanding of music theory but it also requires you to search yourself for a message or story that you want to tell. Do you have to be a world-class poet? No, not really, but it doesn’t hurt to be able to put your story into words that connect with your listeners and find the right melody and rhythm to bring your story to life. Songwriting does take some talent, but it also takes skills that are very learnable. The more you practice, the more you can take more risks in your writing. The more you write, the better you get. Either way, songwriting is a great form of self-expression and can be personalized to fit your own unique style.
Which Comes First? Melody or Lyrics?
Every songwriter has their own technique and will come up with their songs in different ways. Some start with the melody while others have a lyrical hook or idea. Singer-songwriters reach deep within themselves to find ways to bring the two together. In some cases, the chorus is written first and then a story is written to go along with it. If you are thinking about entering a songwriting contest, remember to write down the story behind the music and how the song was written.
Write About What You Know
If you want your song to stand out, write about something you know, something that is important to you. It will be easier to create a beautiful piece of music if you have an intimate understanding of what you are writing about. For a song to be amazing, it should have a universal message that connects with listeners. Or it could have an infectious groove or a really cool vibe. The main thing is to tap into the emotion behind the song and others will too.
An important part of songwriting is authenticity. Are you just using words that rhyme or are extra clever, or are you really saying something? Is the song a part of who you are? Do you put everything you have into it when you sing? When you share your song with others, does your music draw them into the moment? Being passionate isn’t something you can learn or write. It is a feeling. When your melody and lyrics flow together to create something so powerful that it brings people to their feet, or to dance or to cry or smile, then you have found the passion and emotion in the song.
Tell Your Story
Many of the best songs are actually stories set to music. Lyric writers often come up with amazing stories but have difficulty coming up with a melody to go with it. Collaborating with a musician who may be able to guide you through the melodic process may be the easiest way for you to turn your story into a song. When you are writing a song, the story you choose needs to come from the heart. You need to put yourself into the music so that when you sing it during a competition, the song becomes an extension of who you are. If you can’t find the right words, dig out the thesaurus and get creative.
Tie Everything Together with a Chorus That Answers A Question
The chorus of your song should be what ties everything all together. It should add the final piece of the puzzle. If there is a question that is being asked throughout the lyrics, the chorus should provide the answer. It should put the final notes on the song to add the closure that is needed for the song to end and for the listener to move on. The chorus should also be what carries the “hook”. The “hook” is the part of the song that gets stuck on repeat in your listeners’ heads. It needs to be catchy, quick, and extremely memorable. The chorus kind of sums up the verses with a bigger, overall message.
If you are new to writing songs, it will take time for you to learn the process. While it’s easy to take classes and work with a mentor or teacher, the key is finding your own way of doing things. Find out what works for you. Study and listen to some of your favorite songs and take note of the format and structure. You can use a lyric you like and make up your own words to it and try to use the same meter and rhyme schemes. Then you can go back and change the melody to your new lyric.
There are also some great teachers like Pat Pattison and Sheila Davis who have great books on songwriting. Take your time and work on things a little at a time. As you begin to become more comfortable in your own methods of writing, things will begin to flow naturally. Follow your heart and your passion and the writing will begin to take care of itself.
The most important thing is to do it. To try. And be patient with yourself and allow yourself to write a bad first version of the song. After all, most great songs aren’t written – they’re re-written! Good luck! Be sure to check out our website HERE to learn more tips and tricks on songwriting by some of Nashville’s best songwriters.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE THESE RELATED BLOGS ON SONGWRITING:
- Songwriting Contest Tips
- Critique Your Song
- Top Tools for Songwriters
- How to Market Yourself As a Songwriter
- Explaining the Nashville Number System
About us: Foxhedge Music is a management company and recording studio located in historic Leipers Fork. Our mission is to support and encourage songwriters. We believe they are the backbeat of Music City, while we continue to invest our time and resources in the Music City community. Through the Music City SongStar Songwriting Contest, we want to give songwriters a chance to have their music heard. We’re believers in creativity, chasing dreams and getting the chance to pursue your passion.