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How to Write a Song: For Beginners!

My greatest passion in life is song writing. Ever since I was about five years old I've been writing songs, jingles, you name it in my free time. Once I turned nineteen I started to take it even more seriously. I found myself having a summer where the l was not thinking up my lyrics, but rather the lyrics were finding me and the songs were seeming to write themselves. Over the years from five to nineteen I’ve probably written hundreds of songs. Whether they were just in my head or written in my songbook, which later turned into my notes app on my iphone, they were lovingly crafted by me. Writing a song can help you say the things you never thought you could. Writing a song could mean releasing anger, sadness or sometimes even expressing happiness and love. It can be anything you want it to be and the best part is, it is whatever you want it to be. In 2020 I released my first EP of three songs ranging from topics of love to sadness and growth. I am so proud of it and I encourage others to explore songwriting and see where it takes them! I love writing songs and I’m going to share how I write them. While it is not always the same process, sometimes it just comes to you, this is my method for when I sit down with intention to write.

 

STEP 1:

 

Find some inspiration. Inspiration can literally come from anywhere. Something that is so important that I constantly have to remind myself every single time that I write a song is that there are no rules. Some of the best songs ever are completely random and sometimes don't have such a straightforward meaning but rather just make you feel good and express your emotions. For example, the topic can be prom night.

 

STEP 2:

 

Once you have found that topic that you want to write your song about, write the chorus. I have found that writing the chorus first is a good strategy because it is the most repetitive and really enforces the songs overall meaning and vibe. Now that you have your chorus, play around with a few different ways of singing it and really get creative with it. Remind yourself that you can make it whatever you want it to be. For example:

 

Chorus:

Screw you prom night

Really thought I was gonna get it right 

Nice dress nice guy or so i thought 

Now i'm throwing out the corsage you bought

 

STEP 3:

 

 Once you have the chorus go into the first verse. The first verse typically sets the scene or situation of the song. A good tip for when you're stuck is to start describing a location or a feeling and compared to something or someone. For example, if your song is about heartbreak, more specifically getting your heart broken or prom night or something like that, here is an idea for a first verse: 

 

First verse:

My dress was red but you left me blue

Did I ever really know you?

Sitting on the bleachers under the lights 

I swear I hate prom night

 

STEP 4: 

 

Once you have your verse one and chorus then you head on over to your verse 2… This will allude back to verse 1 and sometimes introduce new material, for example:

 

I should’ve gone with your friend 

Cause I guess I just can’t depend 

On guys who drive dirty jeeps

And will only love me under sheets

 

STEP 5:

 

Join it all together and make a bridge! This will be short and sweet and sometimes the best bridges are repetitive. 

 

For example:

 

I swear I hate prom night

I really hate prom night 

Things never go right 

When you go with a loser to prom night

 

These are my tips and tricks for writing a song! I encourage anyone to write a song, the best feeling is when everything comes together and you get to listen to your creation. Just remember, it can be whatever you want it to be, and there are no rules just relax and make your creation! If you write a song after reading this article, DM me @kellymctiguee on instagram and share your lyrics!

My name is Kelly McTigue and I am a senior at Roger Williams University. I am my schools events director for our Her Campus chapter. In my free time I am a singer/songwriter:) Check me out on Apple Music/Spotify https://open.spotify.com/artist/0MHoUPbpNHFdtWYlFC8f31?si=96GImrziSO6PUWm5-Xn6RA https://www.instagram.com/kellymctiguee/?hl=en https://www.tiktok.com/@kellymctiguee?
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