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How to write a song

For now, this article is essentially the same as the "how to write song lyrics article...I see the processes as very similar, so it will take some time for me to separate the articles...for now...enjoy!

Are you curious about how to write a song? One of the best ways is to be able to write a song down, that is, notate the song.

Try my eBook:
How to Write Your Songs Down

I've put together a few tips that might help you. Be sure to go through the free music composition lesson on this site to gather further information on what will help you grow as a songwriter.

There are many, many approaches to writing a song, and please, don't let yourself be told that you "have" to start with a "title" or a "chord progression" or anything like that. You can start with chord progression, if you like, you can start with a title, if you like. Maybe you already have music and you are singing along to it...allow yourself to begin at what you perceive as the end...and reverse the process. Let enjoyment guide your process.

You can allow a topic to become a song...

Pick something you are very passionate, emotional, concerned, angry, or excited about. It can be something that gives you energy, like love, or it can be something you’re particularly apathetic towards, like “my boring life.”

Let the emotions and thoughts work on your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual awareness.

Write, shape, rinse, repeat...ok, ok, you can skip the rinse part!



Feel the song taking’re even starting to “hear” the chords, the beats, the accompaniment. Do you hear strings, a band, an orchestra, a wind ensemble? What do you hear? An electric drill run through effects to make it sound like a possessed locomotive haunting the railways? A saxophone playfully “talking back” at the ends of phrases, emphasizing the character of your witty lyrics? What do you hear?

You are using your sonic, rhythmic, and linguistic imagination. You are creating.

Music and words are coming to you from somewhere, not really from you, but through you. It feels very comfortable. It feels powerful.

Are you co-creating?

In a way, you “direct” the “message” of the song. From another perspective, your inner self is revealed to you.

Do you hate? Are you resentful? Are you hurt? Do you heal? Do you wish to heal? Do you help? Do you wish to help?

Read and repeat the lyrics until they taste good in your mouth, until just saying the words feels good, or bad, or "right." There might be some “holes.” You might need to leave the song alone for a while...let it rest...then pick it up later and finish it. You might need to work on the music and watch the gaps fill themselves. If you finish the music, you might need to go and perform the song somewhere and see if the missing words come into place.

If it’s not coming into place, contemplate the following: “If it’s hard, there’s something you’re missing.”

Meditate on the following diagram.

love turns the wheel creativity and lyric writing diagram

Allow your meditation to reveal what’s missing – or what you’re strengths are regardless of what’s missing. Many great songs have been written by folks who had no idea “how” to write a song. Hmm...why is income something that "comes from" you in the diagram...

Many a great musician has glaring weaknesses as a musician.

Love yourself and love every note. Love every word. You can easily love your song into being. It will be a song of much greater worth than even you could have conceived of.

Love it into being.

Last edited March 27, 2006