Writing your first song

This is one of the most time consuming steps of being a songwriter. But it is also the most rewarding step and is ultimately the reason why we have songs.

Every person writes songs differently, so I will outline a few of the most common steps you can use to write your first song.

One of the most logical and easiest ways to write your first song is to co-write.

Co-writing is where you work with another writer and create a song together. Find someone that already writes and records songs and ask if you can co-write a song with them. This means that you will both own part of the song as collaborators on the writing.

Once you have found someone, bring along some lyric ideas or some music ideas, sit together and go through the process of making a song.

The process of making a song can start in many different ways.

Typically you start with some lyrics and then add chords and a melody. But some people start with the chords, or even a drum beat and build the song from there.

This is how a songwriting session could evolve.

Understanding Chords Udemy Course

​Making your songwriting easier, faster and more intuitive. By learning how chords work.

You would often already have some lyrics, like a poem. You find the part of the lyrics that are the main focus of what you are trying to say. This becomes the chorus. The other lyrics then tell the story around the chorus. These lyrics become the verses to the song.

Typically the verses and choruses of western music are divided into four, eight or sixteen bars that make it easy to piece the music together.

In musical terms there are a collection of chords that go together and make it easier to decide on what chords you should use in a song. For example, if the first chord in your song is a D chord. Then you would often use the chords D, G, A, Em, and Bm in this song. All of these chords go together.

The purpose of this book is not to teach you music theory, but you can see that if you understood basic chords and basic music theory, you will find it even easier to write your own songs.

Once you have a chord pattern for a chorus, you can then create a chord pattern for a verse.

As you create the chord patterns you then need to combine the lyrics with a melody that flows with the chords. This is the most difficult stage of writing music.

The melody and phrasing of the lyrics needs to flow smoothly and often have a very distinct pattern in it’s highs and low. For example, a chorus is often a higher pitch melody that builds as you progress through the chorus. In contrast a verse is often less melodic and at a lower pitch that gradually builds to the chorus.

A song is usually structured based on a variation of an introduction, verse one, chorus, verse two, chorus, bridge, chorus, chorus and outro.

You can then decide how you would like your song to be different by adding extra verses or using variations of the chorus or an extra bridge. A bride is a section of music that bridges two parts of a song together. It is often quite different to the rest of the song and is used to add variety and colour as well as an opportunity to add something different to the song.

Take the time to learn the following important topics that will make it easier for you to write your first song.

  • Learn how chords are constructed
  • Learn about key signatures
  • Learn how chords are grouped together
  • Learn how a song is structured
  • Learn the notes in a key (to help learn melody)
  • Learn different rhythms that go with different styles of music

By now you should know what you need to learn that will help develop your songwriting.

Once you have completed a co-write, then you can start to write your own songs on your own. You can see now why learning an instrument gives you a distinct advantage when writing your own songs.

It doesn’t matter if you learn guitar or keyboard/piano, but if you learn both, then this will make you extremely versatile when it comes to creating your own music.


OnSong iPad App
I use OnSong to display the chords and lyrics on my iPad for live performances especially as I perform with so many different musicians. I can key change songs quickly, save custom sets for different nights and it provides me with the tempo for each song. Awesome Product!



More resources for musicians

Understanding Chords Udemy Course

​Making your songwriting easier, faster and more intuitive. By learning how chords work.

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