How do you get started writing songs?

Over the last 6 years that my friend Dan and I have been putting out The Songwriter’s Tip Jar ezine, the STJ Forum, and now this daily blog, our most frequently asked question has been, “How do I get started writing songs?”

It made us stop to think…how DO you write songs? We could draw on our own experiences and ask a few others, but it came down to this: There’s no wrong way. So we would suggest the following as an answer to that oft-received question:

1. Start here. Read back through our daily tips.

2. Read the many tips, suggestions and exercises we have printed in our ezine (available 24/7 in the archives);

3. Listen VERY CLOSELY to your favorite songs, and hear beyond pleasing tones and lyrics, to the very foundation of the song. Why does it work? What do you love about it? How is it put together? How do they get that guitar sound, keyboard sound, vocal effect, etc., that makes it stand out? Where do the lyrics take you — are they pleasing or clever prose, clear and cutting, or do they paint a blurry, yet compelling picture?

In other words, pick a song apart to instruct yourself on how to reassemble it, and then how to assemble your own tunes in a similar (or even dissimilar) fashion;

4. Practice at your craft often — daily, even. The idea being that as little as 15 minutes each day working on writing songs is better than 2 hours once a week;

5. There is no right or wrong way to write songs — just be patient with yourself and don’t judge yourself too harshly — and KEEP AT IT!



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2 Responses to “How do you get started writing songs?”

  1. strugmo Says:

    Other ways to start can be to just play around on an instrument of your choice (guitar, piano etc…) with a recorder handy. Maybe you’ll stumble upon a riff or nice chord sequence.

    Another way, which will develop the song in a different way, is to start by writing the lyrics (or take out old poems you wrote to adapt them).

    You can even start by just a title. Maybe you heard someone say an intersting phrase or maybe you saw something ironic in the newspaper that can give inspiration…

    And the other thing: keep a mp3 recorder handy if some melodic idea pops into your head. (This may take practice at first, but later you can draw on inspiration when it hits you at a difficult time…)

  2. singer7tv Says:

    thanks for the info, i wrote a similar article myself. keep it up!

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