A Five Step Guide to Crafting Your Own Songs

A Five Step Guide to Crafting Your Own Songs

By Annabel Gutherz

Songwriting is at the intersection of my passions, including storytelling and music. If you love music and have the urge to dip your toes into the songwriting waters, then look no further! Although there is no single way to create music, in this article, I’m going to be wading through five simple strokes that will help you get started on writing songs of your own!

 1. Foundation

Lay a foundation for your song by starting with a chord progression. If you’re a musician and can play either the guitar or piano, you can find a chord progression by tinkering around and making note of what resonates. If you’re not a musician, or if you’re looking for musical inspiration, subscriptions to services like Splice or LANDR may be particularly beneficial, as they offer an array of samples to choose from that can serve as the basis for your topline (your lyrics and melodies).

 2. Lyrics

What story do you want to convey? Share what’s in your heart and in your mind using what I refer to as the Funnel Method – write lyrics that are more expository and detailed in the verses, and lyrics that summarize your message in the choruses. Each verse showcases different lyrics, whereas each pre-chorus and chorus showcase the same lyrics, respectively. One of the most common song structures is Verse – Pre-Chorus – Chorus – Verse – Pre-Chorus – Chorus – Bridge – Chorus, and it would be a great structure for your song to adopt!

3. Melody

Experiment with different melodies and see what feels right. Pop paradigms suggest that the most memorable melodies are employed in the choruses, as these song sections are the emotional centerpieces and “hooks” of the song. Consider creating melodically dynamic choruses that capture listeners, and melodically “contained” verses.

4. Production

Once you’ve committed to your lyrics and melody of choice, you can begin fleshing out your arrangement, adding all the instruments and sonic goodies that will breathe life into your topline and establish its story!

 5. Revise

Don’t be afraid to go back and review your work, making tweaks and adjustments to your lyrics, melodies, and production that may enhance your song and make it more resonant! Asking friends and family for feedback may also help provide valuable insight into ways you can refine your song.

 Writing songs is a fun and iterative process that allows you to express your story and your voice in meaningful and musical ways. It’s also an opportunity to explore the oceans of your emotions and uncover cathartic treasures lying deep beneath the surface. By starting with a harmonic foundation and crafting your lyrics, melodies, and production, you’ll start to witness your song take shape and magic take sail!

Annabel Gutherz is a singer-songwriter based in Montreal

Website: annabelgutherz.com/