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chord progressions
catchy melody
creative juices
quiet room
church choir
pop songs
rainy day
How To Write A Song – The Over Looked Lessons Of Successful Songwriting
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How to Write A Song – The Over Looked Lessons Of Successful Songwriting

I can remember the first time I aspired to write a song. I was 18 years old and had just learned how to play a guitar. Singing was a hobby I had developed years earlier in church choir and then eventually various amateur (very!) rock bands. I didn’t own a guitar at the time and had to borrow one from a friend. I was sitting on a porch that rainy day and after strumming through a few chord progressions, I started humming a melody along with the chords and VIOLA! - I had started my first songwriting session.

This leads me to my first point… to find the best place to write a song. I know this sounds elementary, and it should, but it is very important to learn this lesson FIRST. When I say the best place, I’m referring to the place or places that allow you to be most creative and inspired. I have multiple places I retreat too when I want to get inspired to write a song. Many times just being outdoors enjoying nature (rainy day on a porch) allows me to get inspired. Other times, being alone in a quiet room while my wife and kids are away allows me to reflect and write well. These types of environments and settings get my creative juices flowing. What does it for you? You need to explore and experiment with different scenarios. Make notes on which places inspire you and which places bring about distraction.

Secondly, you need to learn familiar chord progressions to write a memorable song. Some of you reading this may be clueless to what I’m referring to here. Familiar chord progressions are ones that the general public hear and immediately favor. These are typically major chord progressions and look like this…..GCDEm, EABC#m, CFGAm, or DGABm. These chord progressions, or some variation of each one, will allow you to immediately have a familiar sound for your audience and allow you to develop a catchy melody as well. This is important because you want a song that will be both memorable and enjoyable to sing along too. On a side note, most country and pop songs are written in one these progressions……the reason, because it works!!

Lastly, write simple songs. Don’t start out trying to be Beethoven right out of the gate. Have you ever heard of KISS? No, not the rock band, I’m talking about Keep It Simple Stupid…..KISS. More often than not, simplicity is the best approach when learning how to write songs. Pick a simple chord progression (see above paragraph) and hum out a simple, catchy melody while strumming. Once you have your simple chord progression and simple but catchy melody, begin writing your lyrics. Again, KISS!! Don’t try and be Shakespeare……you’re not, I’m not! Start off by writing simple lyrics that everyone will understand and appreciate. As you continue to develop you can get cleverer with your lyrical content, but don’t ever get so clever that only you know what you are saying….that would be pointless.

So let’s recap these often forgotten methods on how to write a song. First, find the best place for you to write a song. Find a place that inspires you, not one that distracts you. Next, learn the familiar chord progressions that enable you to write a memorable and catchy song. Remember, there is a reason most country and pop use these chords…..they work! Lastly, KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid. Many of the greatest songs just so happen to be some of the simplest songs…..U2’s “One” ring a bell??

Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive explanation on songwriting. I have addressed issue’s that many 3 step “how to write a song” lessons overlook. Using my guidelines alone will not make you successful just like using the sterile 3 step programs alone will not turn you into John Lennon. However, if you combine both, you just may become the next Gene Simmons.

Street Talk

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