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How to write your songs down

Folks, here are some basic steps for writing your songs down. The steps outline what you need to do, but they don't teach you "how." There are some time-saving tips in there, though. I suggest supplementing the material below with books and lessons.

  1. Gather existing songs that professionals have written down. Inspect their work.
  2. Fill any gaps in knowledge you might have, such as: key signatures, time signatures, musical terms, note names, note values, and repeats.
  3. Write your rhythm down. Get a pencil and a blank sheet of paper, move your hand in an even motion from left to right, and make a dot on the page whenever you sing a syllable.
  4. Go very slowly in the beginning.
  5. You'll get better at the point where you'll just mumble the tune and write it down as you go.
  6. If you don't already know it, determine your time signature. If you don't know what I mean, move back to step 2.
  7. Draw in the complete notes, using your "dots" as a guide. Draw in 16th notes, quarter notes, triplets, ties, etc. You've completed your rhythmic map. Congrats!
  8. If you don't already know it, determine which key the song is in (or which key you'd like to notate the song in).
  9. Get a new sheet of music paper. Start with the key and time signatures, and if you're ready, determine the tempo (bpm).
  10. Use your rhythmic map as a guide, and draw the notes on your new sheet, this time putting the notes on their appropriate line or space. You'll need to learn how to "hear" which note you are singing, and there are many ways to learn. Options: solfeggio, notenames, practice, scale degrees, practice.
  11. Include your repeats and musical instructions, and make sure that you have the title, text and music authors, as well as the copyright information on the page.

I invite you to purchase my eBook called Learn how to write your songs down, so that you can start enjoying the benefits of being able to notate music!

Best wishes!

---Dec 7, 2006