Learning how to write a song is like a lot of other skills; there is a wrong way and a wrong way to learn how to do it. The right way will expedite the songwriting process and reduce the learning curve to get you on the road to writing better songs and hooks faster by utilizing the secrets used by the pros. In this article, I’m going to talk about how to write a song the best way.
First thing’s first. There are a lot of different ways to begin a song, but one of the most effective is to come up with a title for your song. A title can be very evocative of what that song will sound like or be about before you’ve written anything else. Therefore we can use a unique and telling title as a tool to do a lot of the work for us.
If you’ve ever thought to yourself or heard a friend say “that would make a great song title”, you should use it here. Ideally it will be more than just a word or two and feel like it has a story behind it. As an example, a random title I just thought of from Noel Gallagher is: “The Death of You and Me”. A title such as this definitely has a story behind it. This is a very dramatic title which you can take it literally as the actual death of two people or at the very least conjures up the image of an end to something.
Now the title is especially great for generating lyrical ideas, but I always preach music before lyrics. Placing music before lyrics is easier typically and most musicians operate in the same way. Once you have what you want to be your vocal melody for your chorus or another specific part, you know exactly the kind of spacing to use with the lyrics and you can write your lyrics accordingly knowing how many notes or beats you have to work with and can either stretch out syllables over or assign one per.
A title can also set the tone for the music for a song and give you an idea if it should be uplifting, full of energy, low key, etc. What I’ll generally do is take the lyrics for my title (generally those will be the only lyrics I’ll have before I’ve written the music largely in full) and I’ll try humming different notes over each syllable or I’ll stretch the same note across multiple syllables in that title.
Ideally you also have experience with some kind of instrument which plays chords such as the guitar or the piano. This makes playing different chord progressions underneath your new hook easier so that you can find which progression is best for that particular hook, and in turn you can refine that hook while you’re working with it.