Monthly Archives: March 2017

How to Write a Song

The Beginner’s Guide for Learning How to Write a Song

Many musicians and songwriters out there will tell you that songwriting is easy. You just get into a zen mode, get creative, and pop out a hit. A lot of the biggest and greatest songwriters of all time have agreed to this as well.

Unfortunately, this isn’t such an easy task for most. In fact, reducing songwriting to “just do it” almost trivializes songwriting as an art and a skill.

If you want to become a good songwriter, you’ll need to learn from the best and start somewhere. We put together a beginner’s guide on how to write a song with tips from professional musicians from around the world.

Check out this awesome guide!

How To Write A Song For Beginners

When one begins learning how to write a song, finding the theme is only a small part of the songwriting process.

Get a notebook and pencil and carry them with you everywhere.

Tiny notebooks work well and can be shoved into your pocket on your way out the door in the morning. Don Henley, founder of rock band The Eagles, is a fan of this tip: “I’m always jotting things down on pieces of paper. I’ve got pieces of paper all over my house.”

You can also use a smartphone note-taking app or an audio recording app like FourTrack. The point is to have something with you at all time for when inspiration strikes.

Have you ever thought of an idea for a split moment at a party or in the middle of class and told yourself, “I’ll have to write that down later!” Did you remember to write it down? Probably not.

If you want to take your songwriting seriously and create authentic music, you should do your best to carry songwriting materials with you for when inspiration strikes.

Experiment with different songwriting methods.

Learning how to write a song starts with experimenting. It’s a very creative process, and not all methods of songwriting will work for everybody.

There are several songwriting methods to consider:

  • Lyrics + Instruments
  • Instruments + Lyrics
  • Beats + Instruments + Lyrics
  • Vocal Melody + Lyrics + Beats/Instruments

Musician String is an advocate for going even more outside the box with songwriting, stating, “I don’t write the first line of a song. I write backwards from the chorus line or hook to come up with it.”

Try playing with each of these steps and see which one feels both easy and creatively satisfying to you.

Find your lyrical subject.

The next step in your songwriting should be looking for that theme or subject. Traditionally, listeners find more appeal in songs with lyrical subjects that are clear, engaging, and relatable. Why else would songs about heartbreak or falling in love be so popular?

This isn’t a set in stone rule by any means. If you want to create a song with a more poetic, abstract theme, then go for it! Songwriting is an art that is very specific to the creator.

There are steps you can take to brainstorm ideas for your song:

  • Build your song on a particular line that you’ve written. Did you have a moment of intense inspiration and write down a line or two? You can absolutely build a song around that.
  • Choose a specific word or phrase. This method can be a bit more adventurous but definitely works for many songwriters. Words like “love” “survival” or “beauty” can be the central theme to your song and you can build lines and lyrics around it.
  • Turn beats into words. Did you recently hear an instrumental beat that made you unconsciously put together lyrics? Did that beat remind you of a memory, event, or something else? Building a subject, theme, line, and eventually lyrics around a beat is a possible path to take as well.

Once you have your method and subject down, it’s time for the hard part of learning how to write a song– the actual writing.

Having trouble finding that great musical subject? Singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge has talked about finding her musical subjects and inspirations within herself: “My songs are inspired by my experiences. Sometimes they are more than my real life and, conversely, my life is more than just my songs.”

Musician Jason Mraz, on the other hand, tends to think in the opposite way: “The easiest songs to write are pure fiction. There is no limit to how you can tell the story.”

Create that “hook”.

The hook of the song is also known as the chorus of the song. Typically, the structure of writing a chorus is simple– find a melody that would work well for a chorus, write along with it, and keep it simple and brief.

You can be as brief or as thorough with your chorus as you want, but one or two lines usually will do the job.

Don’t be afraid to write multiple chorus lines and experiment with which one fits best. Sometimes the process of elimination works well with songwriting.

Take your time with the chorus, as it is the most vital part of the song. The hook literally “hooks” the verses and bridges together, making it a vital part of creating a catchy song.

Focus on the verses.

When it comes to the verses, you’ll need to find some balance. Verses sound great when they aren’t entirely symmetrical, but a melodic lyrical mess can be difficult for listeners to follow.

It can also be helpful to separate your verses into sections (like verse 1, verse 2, etc.) and designating a subtheme for each verse.

This way, each verse will get your undivided individual attention.

Rewrite, proofread, rewrite, proofread again.

Like any form of literature or art, you’ll want to work out the imperfections.

Take your time when proofreading and rewriting your lyrics. Ask peers and other fans of music what they think and decide if you agree with their advice, then rewrite and proofread again.

How was our guide on how to write a song for beginners? Tell us what you think, along with your own tips and tricks for songwriting, in the comments section below.

uber tuner

The Best and Coolest Gifts for Musicians: Guitarist Edition

Shopping for anybody is tough, let alone your guitarist amigo.  Whether its for Christmas, Birthday, or Anniversary, you can spend hours thinking about what to get them.

We have put together a list of awesome gifts for guitarist that should ease your troubles!  We tried to find the unique and cool gifts that he or she probably does not have or is in need of.

Gifts For Musicians: Guitar!

 

1. The Hammer Jammer

Hammer Jammer

This awesome and unique device will make your guitar playing fresh!  It fits 6 sting guitars and standard necks.  Gives a cool percussive sound on the strings..like a piano!

Buy the Hammer Jammer on Amazon

 

2. Guitar to iPhone Adapter

guitar to iphone adapter

The IK Multimedia Amplitube iRig adapter would make the perfect gift for your guitar/bass playing friend.  Works with the iPhone, iPad touch and iPad.  Is also able to work with numerous guitar apps.

Buy the IK Multimedia Amplitube iRig Adapter for iOS

 

3. O-Port Sound Enhancer for Acoustic Guitar

oport

Make your acoustic guitar sound richer and fuller.  It gives more volume and more clarity to your playing while suppressing feedback on your acoustic electric.  Great for live shows!

Get the O-Port Gift Today

 

4.  The ErgoPlay Tappert Classical Guitar Support

ergoplay support

What about your classical playing amigo?  Check the ErgoPlay Guitar support out.  It helps with keeping the back straight and both feet on the floor.  Both are crucial to great guitar posture.  Great for beginner singer-songwriters to teach them correct posture.

Buy the ErgoPlay on Amazon

 

5.  The KLIQ Uber Tuner

uber tuner

Another great gift for guitarist is the KLIQ UberTuner.  What sets this out from the rest is that bright display.  This makes it easy to read anywhere, whether it be a dungy bar stage or a light filled bay window!  Very accurate and well priced.

Get the UberTuner Today

 

Final Notes

Getting a gift for your musician friend, spouse, bandmate is a great way to show them that you love them.  These gifts listed above are very unique and your friend isn’t likely to have any of them YET!

best lyricists

The Top 10 Best Lyricists of All Time

Some songwriters are good, some are great, and then there are some that are downright legendary.

Whether you’re a beginner writer or a seasoned musical lyricist, it never hurts to get a little inspiration from the greats throughout time.

We put together a list of the best lyricists of all time to get you inspired to start writing.

We simply couldn’t rank these great lyricists, so mind that this list is not in ranking order.

Check out these amazing musical lyricists!

The Top Ten Best Lyricists of All Time

Many of these best lyricists are commonly know, but you may be surprised by the others that make this list.

10. Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan is an American songwriter, artist, and singer known for his extensive works throughout the sixties.

He’s been an active musician with a career spanning over fifty years. His stamina in a stressful music industry isn’t his only talent, though. He also happens to be one of the best lyricists of all time.

Some of Bob Dylan’s best songs include:

  • Alright Ma
  • Desolation Row
  • It’s All Over Now Baby Blue
  • Visions of Johanna
  • Blowin’ In The Wind
  • Like A Rolling Stone
  • Positively 4th Street
  • Idiot Wind

9. John Lennon

You can’t really have a legendary lyricist list without including the Beatle’s frontman and solo artist John Lennon.

John Lennon was a talented British singer, songwriter, and creative. Known for being diverse and experimental in his songwriting, John Lennon’s career as a musician lasted many years before his untimely death in 1980.

Some of John Lennon’s best works include:

  • Imagine
  • Instant Karma
  • Jealous Guy
  • Mother
  • Mind Games
  • Whatever Gets You Thru The Night
  • Dream

John Lennon’s work has been covered by many popular musicians, most recently by Lady Gaga at the Baku 2015 European Games opening.

8. Jesse Michaels

An unexpected and underrated creative makes this list with Jesse Michaels.

Jesse Michaels is a songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist known for his work as the singer for ska punk band Operation Ivy.

Much of Jesse Michaels’ work was within Operation Ivy, which was short lived in itself. However, both stylistically and politically, Operation Ivy is known as one of the most iconic and influential bands in the punk and ska genre.

Some of Jesse Michaels’ best songs include:

  • Unity
  • Yellin’ In My Ear
  • Artificial Life

7. Kurt Cobain

Considered one of the most influential figures in nineties ‘grunge’ rock music, Kurt Cobain composed and wrote songs for the rock band Nirvana before his death in 1994.

He is known for his artful approach to music and ability to connect ideas and emotions in a relatable way.

Some of Kurt Cobain’s best songs include:

  • Come As You Are
  • Lithium
  • Heart-Shaped Box
  • Smells Like Teen Spirit
  • About A Girl
  • All Apologies
  • Pennyroyal Tea

6. Jello Biafra

Another punk makes this list. Vocalist and songwriter Jello Biafra was the lead of San Francisco punk band Dead Kennedys and Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine.

Known for being outlandishly political and running for mayor of San Francisco in 1979 and president of the United States in 2000, Jello Biafra is incredibly political in his music while maintaining a level of artistic comedy in his words.

Some of Jello Biafra’s best songs include:

  • Holiday In Cambodia
  • Kill The Poor
  • MTV Get Off The Air
  • California Uber Alles
  • Police Truck

5. Paul McCartney

The other fantastic musical creative that was part of The Beatles is definitely Paul McCartney. Bob Dylan himself is quoted as saying “I’m in awe of McCartney. He’s about the only one that I’m in awe of.”

On top of being an excellent and iconic melodist, Paul McCartney was able to stretch his talents past typical pop songs to add wit and complex storytelling to his written work.

Some of Paul McCartney’s best songs include:

  • Maybe I’m Amazed
  • Live And Let Die
  • Band On The Run
  • Another Day
  • Coming Up
  • Silly Love Songs
  • No More Lonely Nights
  • Eleanor Rigby
  • Yesterday

4. Chuck Berry

Considered the first singer-songwriter of the rock and roll genre, Chuck Berry crossed boundaries that hadn’t been crossed before.

His fun-loving songs and celebratory American classics are still loved to this day.

Some of Chuck Berry’s best songs include:

  • Maybellene
  • Johnnie B. Goode
  • Roll Over Beethoven
  • Sweet Little Sixteen
  • School Day
  • Rock & Roll Music
  • Memphis, Tennessee

3. Smokey Robinson

Smokey Robinson truly set the stage for melodic and lyrical goals when he created some of the Motown genre’s greatest pieces of work.

His lyrics were poetic and elegant while still maintaining catchiness in the pop genre as well. He even inspired The Beatles in their early days.

Smokey Robinson described his method of songwriting as such: “My theory of writing is to write a song that has a complete idea and tells a story in the time allotted for a record.”

Some of Smokey Robinson’s best songs include:

  • I Second That Emotion
  • You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me
  • Tracks Of My Tears
  • The Tears Of A Clown
  • Ooh Baby Baby
  • Cruisin’
  • Being With You
  • Shop Around

2. Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell was a talented folk musician known her her artistic approach to simplicity in lyricism.

Usually accompanied by her acoustic guitar or piano, she would recite almost disturbingly personal words that changed the way people saw “normal” songwriting.

Confrontational and intimate, Joni Mitchell’s work somehow remains underrated for her masterpieces.

Some of Joni Mitchel’s best songs include:

  • Big Yellow Taxi
  • Both Sides Now
  • Circle Game
  • A Case Of You
  • Free Man In Paris
  • River
  • You Turn Me On I’m A Radio
  • Chelsea Morning

1. Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton’s career as a country singer has been above and beyond impressive, and she can owe all that to her talent for songwriting.

From sweet bouncy Tennessee songs to heartwrenching ballads about romance and marital problems, Dolly Parton has pumped out hits that just about every American can recognize.

She was also the writer behind Whitney Houston’s iconic song “I Will Always Love You.”

Some of Dolly Parton’s best songs include:

  • Jolene
  • 9 To 5
  • I Will Always Love You
  • Coat Of Many Colors
  • Here You Come Again
  • Eagle When She Flies
  • My Tennessee Mountain Home

Get Inspired

Were you inspired by this list of the ten best lyricists of all time? Tell us what you think, along with your own favorites, in the comments below!