How To Write A Song In 10 Easy Steps [beginners]

3-minute read. Last update: December, 5th, 2016

Many beginners and hobby musicians wonder how to write a song people will love. We’ve collected 10 easy tips that will bring you forward if you’re a beginner in songwriting. Learn how to brainstorm song ideas, write lyrics and create a chorus. 

Freeby! There’s is a summary infographic below. Scroll and download it for free.

Before we start with the tips, I’d like to point out: Of course, there is no clear recipe for how to write a hit song. If we had one, everybody would be a music world star. But you could never be sure to write a hit because

  1. The music taste of humans differs a lot.
  2. Taste changes over time.
  3. Many factors are involved. It’s not only the notes and chords and lyrics, that matter. Also the instruments, tempo, style, musicians involved, the way it was presented…

You can use some tricks, though. And there are clear steps you can take if you would like to compose a piece of music and you don’t know where to start from. So let’s say you are a musician, playing an instrument or singing. And you would like to write a song. And finish it. Check out those ten steps:

how to write a song in 10 steps for beginners

How to write a song in 10 steps?

  1. Look out for song inspiration
  2. Write the lyrics
  3. Choose some cool chords
  4. Add melody and rhythm
  5. Write a song chorus
  6. Write a song verse
  7. Create a song structure
  8. Play and practice the whole song
  9. Record your song
  10. Practice, practice, practice

 

1. Look out for song inspiration

If you’re a singer

Notice topics and situations you want to sing about. Note down phrases, lines, and emotions that come to your head. What do singers you admire sing about? Analyse their lyrics to see how the songs are structured.

If you’re an instrumentalist

Do you play guitar, bass, drums, piano, sax or another instrument? Start looking for inspiration everywhere. Which songs do you like? What makes them special? How are the chords, the melody, and the rhythm?
 

2. Write the lyrics

Choose a clear topic the audience can relate to. That way people can deeply connect with your music. What could be a good topic for a song?

  • Love is always a good topic and worked for many amazing songs: Falling in love, pain in love, breakups, fights, future plans and more.
  • An experience you had – a bad or a good one
  • Your opinion on something
  • Another idea or line that came to your mind

There are two ways to write a song’s lyrics.

Method 1: Write the text first.

You can go around the world collecting ideas until you have a text ready. Attach it then to a melody. You can get inspired wherever you are. Simply write down your ideas on paper or your phone.

Method Nr. 2: Get inspired by instrumentals & beats.

Listen to the music for a while, allow inspiration for ideas. Then write some lyrics over it. Either you know some musicians that like to jam with you. Or you play some instrument yourself. Or you can check the backing tracks on sofasession to test lyrics impro:

Also on the blog: How to master improvisation like a pro?
 

3. Choose some cool chords

You play an instrument and wonder how to write a song? We want to show you a way we use.

Play a chord you like.

It might be a simple chord like C, E, F or G. Check out which other chords fit and sound nice. If you start with an E chord, the subdominant A and dominant B will fit quite well. Just a tip for the start.

Experiment and get ideas.

Collect every combination of chords that sounds good together. Let your creativity flow. Check out what you like. Check this article for some guitar progression inspiration.

Get inspired by others.

Sometimes you get the best ideas when you’re playing with other musicians. You can do the same by playing along to some backing tracks. Use this 1000+ backing track library to get started:


 

4. Add melody and rhythm

Experiment with rhythm and melodies.

You have thousands of options to play your cool chords. If you play them faster, change quicker or use a melody on top changes the song mood completely.

Record music ideas right away.

Save chords or melodies you like. Play along with them to find more ideas. You can record multi-track songs on our platform for free. That way other users can also contribute to your song and give you new input. Create your new song now.

Meet musicians and learn how to write a song together on sofasession
Join 10k musicians and learn how to write a song together.

 

5. How to write a song chorus

The chorus is the hook of each song, a part well remembered. So it’s worth investing some time here.

Brainstorm ideas

Start to gather ideas for the hook and/or the lyrics. Just as in #3, check what sounds nice. An E-A-H-E chords combo will wound differently than an E-A-E-H-E-E-A.

Don’t judge your ideas too early.

Not every word you write down has to be perfect. Not every chord you play has to be the final one. Collect everything and pick, what is more catchy.

Pick one of the ideas.

You have some ideas now, now pick the best. A helpful tip is to focus on ONE text /melody idea. How do you feel when you think about it? Notice all thoughts and emotions. Make them part of the song.

 

6. How to write a song verse

The lyrics

A verse tells more about your situation or feeling than the chorus. So think further. What details are there? What different scenarios? How did the situation develop? What might happen in the future?

The instruments

Think again about harmony, melody, and rhythm. Do you want to play the same chords as in chorus? Do you want to have a new melody for the guitar or vocals? How should the rhythm be compared to the chorus? Think also about dynamics. A huge dynamics contrast between chorus and verse can change a lot.

 

7. Create a song structure

Whenever you have a good chorus, a melody, and a text it’s time to structure them.

Order of chorus and verse

Do you want to stick to the famous verse / chorus / verse / chorus / bridge / chorus structure? Or turn it all in a new way? Think about it.

How do you want your song to sound?

Do you want a strong contrast between chorus and verse or a small difference? Classically, the chorus is played and sung on higher notes than the verse. Think of your song as a building people enter. What should they see first, what sh0uld come later?

 

8. Play and practice the whole song

Practice the song

You already have some great lyrics, a chorus and verse ready. You thought about the structure and created additional song parts. Connect the parts and play them a bit.

It’s ok if your song is not the next genius #1 hit already

There is no need to judge your song too much at this point! Save whatever you’ve got so far and come back to it later. With a fresh mind and after you’ve had some time for the song to settle.

Learn how to write a song and record song ideas
Join free platform now.

 

9. Record your song

Recording now is not professional, but just makes sure, you won’t loose the new song. So best options are:

  • Smartphone: Record yourself while you’re playing and singing your new song
  • Computer: Use free programs like AudioRecorder, PhotoBooth, QuickTime Player or others or multi-track recorder if you want to go deep. Check these tips for recording at home if you’re a beginner.
  • sofasession: Record an idea by clicking “create a song” in the backstage area. Create multi-tracks to record instruments separately. If you make it public, other users can contribute and help your song grow. You can also send the link to friends and band mates. This is how your recording screen looks like.

 

10. Practice, practice, practice

As every other form of writing, songwriting is a skill. It is not something that falls from the sky one morning. Practice it often and you’ll become better each day. Promised!

And that’s it. Those are our tips on how to write a song for beginners. Now it’s up to you to put them into practice. Comment below if you liked the tips or have something to add. Send us the link to your new song and we’ll feature you on our channels.

More resources on songwriting:

Join the sofasession community & learn how to write a song
Join the musician community here to make music and write songs with great musicians online.

A free infographic about how to write a song:

How to write a song in 10 steps as a beginner