Song Writing for Beginners, pt.1
So I’ve been going on about all the stuff that goes on in a band assuming that you’re all already in one and knows basically what they’re doing. But of course not everyone is up to the same point. So this week is a crash course on how to write a song. Assuming you already have your preffered band members (if not then you’ll need to do that first).
Everyone writes their songs in a slightly different way, but I’ll explain the two best ways I’ve seen, and tell you what is good and bad about each way. Also, many bands will have each member go away and come up with an idea on music or lyrics and come back and put them together, but that’s a personal way of writing a song and I can’t tell you how to put all the aspects together, I can only tell you how to come up with your bit. So this week I’ll tell you how to write a song with lyrics first.
Personally, when I write a song I write the lyrics first, as I am first and foremost a vocalist and poet. It’s easier to write lyrics if you’re feeling a strong emotion so if you’re feeling really terrible, write about it. I find it’s also a good way to get over what you’re feeling, a sort of therapy. Anyway, so if you’re a particularly political person, you can also write about that, like all the things you think are wrong with the world, I’m sure you know what you think. Also, if you’re not particularly emotional or poetic, firstly I’d recommend not doing the lyrics first and waiting for next week’s instalment, but if you really want to try your hand at writing, try the Kiss approach and just write about sex. It doesn’t matter what your topic is though, just don’t try to force it because that never works.
Now, once you’ve got the lyrics obviously we need music. So, I’m hoping you all have a basic understanding of musical notes/scales/chords because basically what you need to do is figure out the feeling in your lyrics. I find this way easier because I figure that you always know what you’re feeling at the time you’re writing. If the lyrics are happy, use major chords, if they’re sad, use minor chords, if they’re angry, use guitars with lots of distortion playing very fast and loud. See? Easy. I’ll give you an example. A song I wrote recently is sad, so I used the key of a minor. So as I decided I wanted to play the music side on piano, I used a lot of A minor chords, D minor and E major chords, because they’re the chords related to A minor.
This way of writing is good because you’ll usually get a song that has a good emotional response, and most people want that in their music, even if the emotion is blind hate. Emotional music is better. The bas thing about this is that not everyone is good with words and it can also be hard to coordinate a band around just lyrics, which is why songs that I write like this often tend to be for just vocals and piano or just vocals and acoustic guitar. Ok, that’s all for this week, see you next week for another lesson.
--New Kid On The Block