Do you ever feel like writing a song, but you don’t know where to start? Do you have lots to say, but you have no idea how to put it into song lyrics?
Many people seem to think that songwriting is based on natural talent only, but don’t worry - anybody can learn how to write a song!
There are as many ways to write a song as there are songwriters. For now, let’s take a look into writing your own song starting with the lyrics. This is a simple process you can use:
Step 1 - The Theme
Pick a theme. It can be anything.
Are you going through something in your life right now? Is someone in your family going through something that you could write about? Would you like to say something to someone specific?
The theme can be something deep but it doesn’t have to be; it can be about the weather or even ice-cream. The sky’s the limit and you decide!
Step 2 - The Content
Once you’ve picked the theme, it’s time to brainstorm what the content in the song will be. The time for filtering and criticism will come but it’s not yet, so just gather all your ideas and everything you can think of into a mindmap.
Step 3 - Organizing The Content: The Chorus
When you have your ideas written down, it’s time to start thinking about what the song is about in more detail.
It might be easiest to start with the chorus, since that’s the most important part of a song, both melodically and lyrically. The main idea or message should be clearly expressed in the chorus. If, for example, you’re writing a love song, the chorus should clearly express if it’s a happy lovesong, what the narrator is happy about and to whom he or she is singing. So make it very clear what it is you want to say in the chorus.
Don’t worry if you don’t have any actual lyrics yet - that will come later. For now, let’s focus on getting an outline for your song.
The next steps would be to decide what you want to say in your verses. The verses should be “the story”, so while your chorus might say “I’m so happy that I found you, I love you”, the verses could entail the story of how you met this person, how your life was before versus what it is now...
It might also be a good idea to have separate sub themes for the verses, for example: the first verse focuses on how you met and how it all started, the second verse is about how life is now etc.
Typically songs have a third part - the bridge. This part doesn’t have to have the same length as the verses. It’s a whole different part.
In our love song example, the bridge can take a look into the future. Or something completely different. Generally, some kind of conclusion should be presented in the bridge. This is just a guideline, so don’t get too stuck on this.
Step 4 - The Lyrics
The next step is putting your thoughts into actual song lyrics.
Look at examples from songs you know and like: How are they written? Do they have rhymes? Are there lots of metaphors? Of what kind?
You can take a song and use the same outline. Count how many lines there are in the verse and the chorus and try to match your own lyrics to that. You don’t have to stick to this if you would get inspired to do something else..!
Remember, you don’t have to get the lyrics just right the first time you try (most songwriters don’t) and you can even make several versions of the same song!
Enjoy your songwriting!
About The Author:
Linda Lampinen is a songwriter, singer and the owner of Laulutunnit Tampere, a singing school in Tampere, Finland. If you live in the area and want long lasting results in the fastest and most fun way possible, be sure to visit www.laulutunnittampere.fi.