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Songwriting: Where to Begin


writing is really about creative something out of nothing, which is no easy task. People ask me often where I start my songs. Do I start with lyrics or melody, with the verse or the chorus, on guitar or piano, with music or without?

While I have started from every one of these places, 99% of the time I always start with my guitar and I'm always searching for melody. Melody is the defining factor of every song, so if we are gonna write catchy, memorable, relatable, repeatable songs, we first must have a melody that is worth listening to.

So if melody is what we are chasing, do we start with the verse or chorus. I think you need to start with whatever flows naturally, however, the chorus melody is the most important regardless of where you start. The chorus is what is heard the most, its often the hook of the song, is what people remember, and when you add lyrics, it's what everything points to. If you have an "A" verse melody and a "B" chorus, than you'll need to keep working.


When I started writing music, and even today, I wasn't writing for other people. I wasn't searching for melodies I thought people would like, but melodies I liked. Every melody and song I've ever written, I wrote because I loved it. It just so happens that after writing ten thousand melodies, I started getting feedback that other people liked them too.

Search for the melody you love. There are gonna be lots that only you love, but there are gonna be some others that people love.

I challenge you to go find a song of your spotify playlist and click to the artist and listen to one of their albums from start to finish. Sit down and listen from song 1 - 13. What you'll soon realize is that there are other songs they've written you really like and songs you'll never listen to again. But if you ask the artist, they will likely tell you they love all of them.


When you're searching for melodies, trying singing words.

What I mean is don't hum the melody, don't sing "da da da" or "na na na". Try to sing actual words. What will happen is a lot of "giberish". you'll listen back and most of your melody won't make sense, but you'll stumble upon words or sounds that just seem to fit. You'll listen to the end of the melody and it might sound like you say "I love it" or "make my day" or some random thought and that will be what inspires the rest of your song.

PS - if you didn't pick this up, you should be recording your melodies (use your phone)


Sometimes you may already have lyrics, or lyric ideas. I personally find this to be a much harder place to start. Why?

Because when you're freestyling melody, you are not trapped by any preconceived phrases or sentence. You don't have to fit the melody into any boxes. When you already have a sentence or verse without a melody, what happens is people shape the melody to fit the words rather than the words to fit the melody. This can work and pay off, but it is very difficulty to come up with those catchy melodies when constrained to a pre-built sentence.

I have done it and it can be done, but it often takes more time and patience.


Start with melody

Write what you love

Trying singing words

Dive into lyrics


Once you've done this 5-10 times, listen back to all your voice notes, find one you think is the best and make it your number one task to finish that song before moving onto anything else.

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