As many would say, there is no right way of writing a song. I am going to share one way that I personally love when writing songs…one that has proven most useful for me and one that hopefully sparks some creativity and inspiration in you to write a song of your own!
First, I love beginning a song with a concept.
My best songs are usually written after concepts that have literally just popped into my head. These can be a few words, a title or a melody. If it is a title or a few words I will write them down in my phone memos. If it is a melody idea, I will sing the melody into my phone voice memos. So many times I will be driving or out and about and a certain idea comes into my head. I will record it or write it down and then go back into my memos that night or the next day to write a song from that idea (usually using my guitar to finish writing the song).
If this sounds to weird for you, a concept coming to you out of the blue, don’t fear! There are many other ways to get inspired. Try reading a book (I’ve written several songs after getting inspiration from a book), watching a movie, or listening to a friend’s story and channeling that story into a song. There is inspiration all around. Take the time to look and reflect on the world around us and I am sure you will find something to write about ☺
Another great way to find inspiration is to keep a journal. So many songs stem from personal experiences and it is not surprising that many of the emotions and experiences we encounter as an individual are the same ones that many other people encounter and experience too. This truth about us makes many songs relatable and why it is said that music is the universal language. Writing from personal experience makes the song real, honest and full of emotion. The goal of writing a song is to make a human connection, so when you write from a vulnerable place; it is like you are sharing your story to a friend (except in this case the friend is anyone who listens).
Lastly, I recommend learning an instrument if you do not already know how to play one. You do not need to be a master guitar player, keyboardist etc. to write a song, but knowing your way around an instrument is very beneficial. Being able to pluck out notes on a keyboard or strum a few chords to accompany your melody is key, in my opinion, to finishing a song.
If you do not know how to do this, link up with another songwriter who you can co-write with! If you are great at writing lyrics, find someone who is great at playing an instrument and/or someone who is great at melodies. Some of the best songs come about from co-writing sessions. Try it out. You will not always be compatible with everybody (so don’t worry if some co-writing sessions fail), but if you can find one or two friends who you really mesh well with, I highly recommend it. The song you work on might turn into something different than you imagined it would be on your own, but that is not a bad thing at all.
To finish, let me summarize what I find most helpful for songwriting:
– start with a concept, lyric or melody
– speak from experience when possible or try speaking on behalf of a friend or character
– learn an instrument well enough to pick out notes to construct a melody and song structure
– link up with a friend to try a co-write
That’s it! Happy writing 🙂
About the Author
My name is Angela, I’m a singer and songwriter from Orange County, CA who is now living in Los Angeles pursuing a career in music. I’ve always loved to sing, but it wasn’t until I learned the guitar in high school that I wrote my first song and set out to do it as my career.
My goal has always been to inspire people through the gifts I’ve been entrusted with and I hope that I can do that forever, in any way, big or small – the road has only just begun.