How to write a Song…Part ONE

So. Writing songs is easy isn’t it?

Well, in some senses, yes it is.

Anyone, literally anyone, can write a rudimentary song. In fact we do it all the time. How many times have you been singing to yourself some ‘ear-worm’ version of a well-known song and getting the words or the melody all wrong? How many times have you whistled or hummed a tune and you don’t actually know what it is? It seems our brains are actually quite good at filling the gaps and creating some music, even if it’s only in our heads.

But what if you want to actually write a song? A song that is original that you created yourself? Well that’s a bit more tricky isn’t it?

Well, no actually.


1. ‘You need have talent’

‘Talent’ is a funny thing. People tend to think that it’s somehow ‘inbuilt’ or that we are born with it like a marathon runner is born with the physique to run 26 odd miles. This is a myth when it comes to music. Firstly who has talent and who doesn’t is a matter of opinion and secondly talent is a skill. You can learn to be judged to have talent.

2. ‘You need to master a musical instrument’

Well, only partially. You don’t need to play like a virtuoso to create pleasing music. For example you don’t need to be the best electric guitarist in the world who can shred at a hundred miles an hour or be able to play the ‘flight of the bumble bee’ on piano. People seem to equate playing ability with musical talent when the two aren’t the same thing. I have worked with classical players who were brilliant but couldn’t write a tune for toffee. Most ‘Punk’ bands in the late 70s couldn’t actually play or sing very well, it was what punk was all about, that sense of ‘DIY’.

For the purposes of this blog series I’m assuming you can play your chosen instrument at least a bit whether it be guitar or keyboard or whatever. Even if you can’t there is technology out there nowadays that can help. Maybe I’ll talk about that in later blog posts.

3. ‘You need to read music’

Again this is a myth. Plenty of top songwriters don’t or can’t read music. The Beatles never learnt to read music. It can be useful, but you don’t need it. I’ve never learnt it.

What do you need then?

To start with you need two or three chords. That’s all to begin with. Two or three chords. How about G, C, and D? Or E, A and D? Or maybe just two of them.

Pick the two that are easiest for you to play and change between, whether it be on your guitar or keyboard. Practice changing between them. It might sound boring but it’s a start…

The start of your song.

PART TWO will explain what to do next.

© 2019 Simon Poore

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