How To Write A Song: Our Super Handy 5 Step Guide

Have you wanted to try your hand at songwriting but have no clue where to start?

You’ve come to the right place, because we’re about to give you a step by step guide into the world of songwriting.

Are you ready to get to work? Let’s start by getting inspired!

Step 1: Inspiration

The funny thing about inspiration is that you can’t sit around all day, waiting for it to sneak up on you and get in your face with all of it’s good ideas! Whether you’re overflowing with inspiration or are coming up empty, it’s time to get started with a good, old fashioned journal!

Journaling your thoughts and feelings is a great way to kickstart your creative mind, first and foremost because it gets the words out of your head and onto a page. This makes it easy for you to see the words as potential lyrics (rather than swirling thoughts you can’t make sense of!), and discover topics or themes you can turn into a song.

But your inspiration doesn’t have to come solely from structured journaling in your bedroom! Your Notes app on your phone will become your best friend when you’re out and about, where you can jot down words and phrases that light your musical heart on fire. Then, when the songwriting mood strikes, you can scroll through your notes and bam! Inspiration!

Remember, the best songs are often written from the heart. They’re honest, transparent views of your life, whether those are adventures with friends, experiences with past relationships or moments in your life that made you feel something. This is where the magic happens, so hone in on this!

Step 2: Pick Your Chords

Next up? We’re finding chords that fit what you want to write about.

You might think you need to play an instrument to do this step (and it sure does help!), but you don’t need years of practice! Instead, head on down to Big W or JB Hi-Fi and snag yourself a ukulele. They’re $10 and you can learn to play in an hour via YouTube tutorials. Easy peasy!

But if you want to get started right here, right now, you can plug “type beats” into the YouTube search bar and be on your merry way. This will show you a bunch of different backing tracks you can write to, but these aren’t royalty free so they’re for practice only!

Step 3: Find The Melody

This is the fun part for so many songwriters, because it’s where the song really starts coming to life!

Take those chords you’ve worked on, start humming out a melody or sing using totally nonsensical words. You might feel a bit silly (or a LOT silly if it’s your first time!), but this is the easiest way to feel out the tune of your song!

Step 4: Add Some Words

A lot of novice songwriters get stuck when it comes to this step. They want the perfect words. The perfect rhyme schemes. The perfect rhythm for this song they’ve worked tirelessly to make a reality.

But it doesn’t have to be so complicated!

Try to avoid getting wrapped up in what you want this song to become. Let your creativity do the talking and write whatever comes to mind. Don’t stress over every word, every line and every rhyme you put to paper. Why? Because you’ll never finish it!

We tend to get stuck with lyrics because we think they need to be profound and have the perfect rhyme schemes (and believe us, we’ve all been there). But as songwriting guru and all around music legend, Ed Sheeran, says, “I kinda treat songwriting as a dirty tap in an old house. When you run a dirty tap, it’s clogged up, bit of dirt in it, bits of mud. You run it, mud’s going to come out, a little bit of water, a bit more mud, and then suddenly it’s going to start flowing clean water.”

Pretty cool, right??

Step 5: Tidy It Up!

Remember where we said to keep writing? Don’t worry about perfection? Just write and write and write and you can fix it up later?

It’s later! This is where we tidy it up. We run back through the song and sweeten up the lyrics, jazz up the melodies or embellish the song. We make all the edits, adjustments and tweaks we need and BAM!

We’ve got a finished song on our hands!

Did you ever think you could write a song yourself? Now you know just how possible it is, especially when you stop letting perfection get in the way!

Songwriting is not only good for the musical legends who want their songs out in the world! It’s also a brilliant method of self care for its ability to help you process your emotions, release trauma and relieve stress.

In other words? It’s good for you and good for the world, so show us what you’ve got! You can come on down and join us at SoundCheck for our Artist Development Classes, or if this has helped you start your own journey to songwriting, tag us on Instagram @SoundCheckAu so we can share the joy of songwriting with you!

P.S. If you want a helping handwriting your songs from home, give it a go using our Songwriting 101 Booklet! Download your 100% FREE copy below!

Songwriting workshop booklet (1)
Download PDF • 7.52MB

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