Most songs today include a catchy hook and a foot-tapping baseline, however the lyrics can be the difficult part. Coming up with song ideas can be the most complex part of song writing, until you know where to begin. Following these handy tips can help you find motivation and inspiration when it comes to writing a No. 1 hit!
Find a subject to write about:
First, you need to pick the subject for your song. Drawing on moods such as how you’re feeling can help you figure out what you want your song to represent. It could be about love or pain or even anger, by identifying what you’re feeling can help to inspire you. Also, it can help to incorporate the things you do and see around you, for example;
– Books: What’s the latest book you’ve read? If you haven’t read anything lately, try picking up a book and gathering ideas from that. Poems are another suitable alternative to draw from.
– Conversations: Talking to people and listening to what they say may spark ideas that interest you. You could then turn these thoughts into lyrics.
–TV/Films: Watching a favourite film or programme may help you gather ideas together, also news stories regarding current affairs may spark emotions that you can channel into lyrics.
Decide what to start with first, lyrics/melody?
It can be challenging deciding whether to start working on the melody to your song or the lyrics first. The thing to take into consideration here is what do you naturally come up with faster, the lyrics or melody?
Some people find it easier to sit down with their instrument and find the keys and notes they want to use for their song, then fit it to the lyrics. Others may reverse this approach and write their lyrics first so they can decide what mood they want their melody to sound like, e.g. soft and quiet or loud and angry.
These next steps can be done in a different order depending on what you decided to start with first.
Lyrics are the main part to a song, so it is important that audiences can understand what you’re feeling when they are listening. This can be done through the expression of the lyrics, such as emphasising a specific word.
Timing and delivery of words is also important as it can make the flow of the song smoother which is more likely to make people want to listen to it.
Rhyming schemes are an effective way of getting your message across, you can use tools like rhyming thesauruses for this. Also, when writing a song, it is vital that words are used in the right context so your song makes sense.
Come up with a melody:
Coming up with a melody can be tricky, however they don’t have to be overcomplicated. If a melody is simple, it is more likely to be more effective. Starting with something basic and simple can be worked on and turned into something great, so remember this if you’re struggling.
When creating your melody, start with an instrument you’re confident with like a piano or guitar and pick chords that resemble the mood of your song. For example, if it quite sad and sombre you may want to stick to minor chords, whereas if it was happy you’d most likely use major chords. When you have chosen your chords, you can start layering other melodies over the top, an example of this could be playing your chords on the piano and adding a guitar to it.
It is always a clever idea to record anything you come up with when creating a melody. By recording what you do means you can then listen back to what you’ve got and change certain parts if you are not satisfied, a Dictaphone is a useful tool for this.
Challenging yourself to learn new chords and scales will benefit your song writing skills in the long run as you will become more confident when it comes to writing a song in the future, also this will add more depth to your music.
Perfect and rewrite:
It is imperative to make sure your song is as decent as it can be. To do this you must take a step back and look at what you’ve written to see what you can improve on. If you aren’t 100% happy with what you have created then it is likely that your tune isn’t finished.
Focus on the part you aren’t happy with and try different solutions so you’re satisfied, for example you may go up a scale higher in the chorus of the song to add some variety. It is important that you focus on the things you ARE NOT satisfied with. A lot of artist start rewriting a specific part of their song then get carried away and lose what they originally came up with. ‘You will always be your own worst critic’ is very significant in this instance so don’t get too carried away.
Make sure you are relaxed before you begin:
It is important to make sure you are somewhere relaxing before you begin writing so you don’t get distracted or lose your train of thought. Make sure you have a computer/laptop or notepad to write down your lyrics. Once you begin writing you will get into the flow and words and ideas will originate.
Get opinions from friends and family:
Getting thoughts and opinions from people around you is always a positive thing, so take advantage of it. The people closest to you will give you honest feedback that you can use to alter what you’ve already come up with or for a future song. It is also good to get feedback so you know how to handle it when a different audience hears your song, like the public for example.