Everyone who has tried to write a song or poem knows how frustrating it can be at times. Whether you want to write songs to pitch to music producers, or record them yourself as an artist, here’s are my favorite songwriting tips to make sure your listeners stay engaged from beginning to end of your song. Of course, this is just one approach to songwriting, but it’s used by many songwriting pros and I find it works!
1. Start with the title. Create a phrase of one to six words that sums up the heart of your song’s message. Try using an image or action word in your title to give it energy and interest.
2. Make a list of questions suggested by the title. Start by asking yourself what you want to say about your title and what you think your listeners might want to know. Make list of questions. Your list might include: What does the title mean? How do you feel about it? What happened to cause this? What do you think, or hope will happen next? You’ll need three to four questions
3. Choose a song structure. Currently, the most popular structure is: Verse / Chorus / Verse / Chorus / Bridge / Chorus. Many recent hits add a short section called a “pre-chorus” or “lift” between the verse and chorus to build anticipation.
4. Answer one question in the chorus and one in each verse. Select the question you want to answer in your chorus. Look for images and action words to bring your answers to life. What emotion are you describing? How does it make your body feel? Is it warm or cold? Dark or light? If you get too poetic, add a line that makes a clear statement, so listeners don’t get lost.
Let’s put it to practice! Try out these songwriting prompts:
Time required: 5 minutes.
Break through your creative blocks in ten minutes or less. This simple writing prompt is all you need to restart your writing habit on the right foot.
Image-Only Free Writing
Time required: 5 minutes.
Pen compelling descriptions that will stimulate your listener’s senses and draw them deep into the world of your lyrics.
As a Songwriter, you should always be writing words, phrases, rhymes, melodies, feature ideas, and anything else that comes to you. I recommend a small notebook (or using the notes app on your phone if your parents have given you one). It might not mean anything later, and chances are you’ll only use a small percentage of what you jot down, but it’s worth it to keep track of everything, as you never know what will end up becoming a new favorite lyric.
Check out my first song: No Good For You! I’m writing more and plan to release them soon on my YouTube channel so watch my blog and the Katrina Kusa Facebook page for more!