An Introduction to Songwriting
Songwriting can be a great outlet for individuals to express themselves through music. Here are a few simple steps to introduce you to the wonderful world of songwriting.
When we listen to music, our job is pretty easy. Nod our heads, tap our feet, maybe even hum along if we’re feeling adventurous. We sit back, relax, and enjoy the show, but we don’t often think about how a song came to be. Before it made it to the radio, before instruments and background vocals were added, when was a song first brought to life? Let’s retrace our steps from Spotify and Apple Music all the way back to the roots of a song: the songwriter.
When we hear the word “songwriter,” we often think of the big names: Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Adele. Bearing witness to the success of these writers can make songwriting appear intimidating or even impossible, but here’s some good news for you: songwriting is simple! There is no one correct way to write a song. Each artist’s writing style is unique, with contrasting songs like “Blinding Lights” and “The Macarena” sharing the spotlight as some of the most popular songs of all time. Songwriting is about much more than fortune or fame, however, and it can be a great outlet for individuals to express themselves through music. Here are a few simple steps to introduce you to the wonderful world of songwriting.
Pick a topic. What sparks your interest? When you hop into the shower, what do you want to serenade your shampoo bottle with? A song can be about anything—as complex as heartbreak or as simple as pie.
Lyrics! Here’s where you can really let your creativity shine through. Lyrics can be heartfelt, silly, or anything in between. Giving your lyrics a little bit of structure can also contribute to the making of a musical masterpiece. Many songwriters will write verses with lyrics that change throughout the song and a chorus whose lyrics repeat throughout the song. Add a sprinkle rhyme to the ends of your phrases, and voila! You’ve got yourself some lyrics!
Rhythm and notes. Giving your song a melody can be a little tricky if you don’t naturally have a knack for music. If you’re having trouble figuring out how your song should sound, think about some of your favorite songs. What patterns of notes and rhythms do you hear them use? Do melodic phrases (notes and rhythms) ever repeat? Once you’ve gathered a little inspiration from the big names, try to come up with your own melody. Verses and choruses often have different melodies, but your song could simply repeat the same note over and over if that suits you! Pick a melody that is pleasing to your own ear, and have fun with it. If you’re an instrumentalist, feel free to add accompaniment to your song!
Regardless of where your song ends up, whether it be on the radio, shared with your family and friends, or tucked away in a drawer somewhere, writing a song can be both a very fun and very cathartic experience. Songwriting is a great introduction into the world of music for those that might not have access to instruments or music lessons, but it is truly for everyone. I encourage you to give songwriting a try, and remember: there is no right or wrong way to write a song. Happy songwriting!