8 Essential Tips for Writing Music You’ll Love

Most people enjoy music in their daily lives and many people find writing music to be a great creative outlet. However, did you know that making music is actually good for your brain and can have a number of health benefits [1]?

With technology making music creation more accessible and affordable than ever, there’s never been a better time to get started!

Whether you’re a beginner or have been playing an instrument for some time, here are 8 essential tips for writing music that will get your creative juices flowing!

1. Start Writing Music with an Instrument

Many songwriters begin the writing process with a simple idea on their instrument of choice.

In the music business, there has been wisdom passed around that if a song is memorable when it’s played with just an acoustic guitar and a voice, it will translate well to any arrangement.

With that in mind, start with a simple repeating chord progression. Create variation from there to build a structure for your song or composition. Use music notation app if you need to.

2. Start with Lyrics

If starting the writing process on a musical instrument has you feeling a little hesitant or creatively stuck, try starting with lyrics.

When writing music, you might find that you’re more comfortable fitting melodies and chord progressions around your lyrics.

Perhaps you’re familiar with lyrical storytelling and know that your creativity starts more easily from that place. There are no rules to making music, so feel free to start the process however you see fit!

3. Study Basic Music Theory

Music theory can help give you a foundation for understanding how rhythms, melodies, and chords all fit together to create a piece of music. While you don’t need to become an expert overnight, having a basic understanding of major and minor chords and scales will help you to train your ear.

Once you’re able to hear these patterns in popular songs, you’ll become more comfortable writing your own songs.

4. Be More Observant

As you start on your journey to writing music, you’ll need to feed yourself with a slew of creative ideas so that you can write consistently. While even the best songwriters find themselves in a writer’s block from time to time, you can prevent this by focusing on the small details of your daily life.

For example, before you go to bed at night, you could take a moment to listen to the sounds made by crickets outside. Think about how those sounds might translate to a rhythm on a drum kit.

Make a habit of keeping notes on your passing thoughts throughout the day and you’ll be sure to have tons of storytelling material.

5. Get Inspired

With an overwhelming number of musical styles and genres, it can often be hard to pin down what kinds of songs to write.

If you’re a beginner, take this tip into consideration: try picking a song from your favorite band and writing something similar. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t plagiarize, but there’s nothing wrong with being inspired by the music that you love!

Spend some time analyzing the music of some of your favorite artists or composers. Write down the structures of their songs, what kind of emotional impact they have on you, and what the lyrics are saying.

As we mentioned above, you’ll begin to see patterns in music that you can then apply and modify within your own music.

6. Have a Theme

Everyone has had a song stuck in their head at one point or another. To write music that has ear-worms, you need to focus on having a hook or theme. A hook can be anything from a repeated guitar riff to a catchy melody or lyrical phrase.

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel while writing music. If you find yourself repeating an idea in your song, embrace it. That repeating idea might be the reason your music gets stuck in someone else’s head.

7. Don’t Let Technology Scare You

Technology has made writing and recording music simple and affordable. You don’t need to be a producer with a professional studio to get your songs recorded.

You could get started writing music using a digital piano and a digital audio workstation (DAW) like GarageBand [2]. Your DAW will have a variety of virtual instruments, effects, and tools to help you bring your music to life.

Technology can even help bring your creative process to new heights. For instance, you could try starting your writing process by singing lyrics or playing a digital piano over a drum loop.

Take notes from songwriter and artist Jon Bellion. In this studio video, you can see how he writes his song from start to finish with drum beats and piano synthesizers all using his computer [3].

8. Collaborate with Other Musicians

One of the most rewarding aspects of writing music is the ability to share your creation with others. While you might just be excited for people to listen to your music, you can really benefit from writing with other people.

Working with other musicians on your songs or compositions can allow them to take shape in ways that you might not have imagined on your own.

All musicians have unique talents that they can bring to the writing process. For example, having a friend sing backup vocals on your song or adding an extra instrument, like a saxophone, can bring a new perspective to your music.

If you ever feel like you can’t finish a piece of music, don’t shy away from the idea of getting a group of musicians together and working together on it!

Time To Hit the Studio!

With these music writing tips in hand, you’re all set to pick up a notebook, your favorite instrument, and start writing songs that you’ll love.

Do you have a songwriting process that you think other aspiring musicians would like to know?

Let us know in the comments!

Stephanie Su

Started learning music when she was four years old, Stephanie is a music teacher and a music therapist who is highly proficient in Piano, Violin, Guitar, and Ukulele. She likes to learn, teach, and share her music playing experiences.

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