How to write a song in 10 easy steps

How to write a song in 10 easy steps

Writing your first song may sound a bit scary, but in reality we must not forget that music is there for us to play with and enjoy. Although it will take you some time to become an expert, here are some tips to write a song that can ease you into the moment where you'll be able to express your first ideas.

  1. First, try to have a quiet space. Remember that creative processes are not linear, so a little concentration and silence will be very important.
  2. Now think and feel about what you would like to write about. I mean, is it a sad song, or is it a happy song? From here you can define the types of chords that you will use (major for happy songs and minor for sad or reflective songs).
  3. It is also important that at this point you start defining the tempo of the song. If you choose a happier song, it is important that you let this be reflected in the rhythm. No one is going to believe you are super happy if your tempo sounds a little "depressed".
  4. Now let's move on to chord selection. We recommend that you start with something simple.

Next, for more tips to write a song: Pick 2 to 4 chords to generate the verses and start there. Now choose another two or four chords for the chorus. Try to make them feel right, that they are in the same key! That is, if you don't know much music, it's best to start with something easy, like the C major scale (which doesn't have any alterations!), or just go with your ear and your intuition, until you have the right chords.


Progression in C major C - F - G - C or I-IV-V-I (4 chords):

  • I (tonic)
  • V (dominant)
  • VI (relative minor submediant)
  • IV (subdominant) Example in C major: C - G - Am - F

Progression in C major C - F - G - C or I-V-vi-IV (4 chords):

  • I (tonic)
  • V (dominant)
  • vi (relative minor submediant)
  • IV (subdominant) Example in C major: C - G - Am - F

I-V C - G (2 chords):

  • I (tonic)
  • V (dominant) Example in C major: C - G

If you want to learn more about chord progression, check out this video:


Now, you have the skeleton. For more tips to write and finish your song:

6. Now it is important that you start imagining a melody for the verse. You can try to record the chords to loop them and try to imagine the kind of melody you want. 

If you need help from an instrument, play the same notes you used to make the chords, but this time alone and just feel them. 

Search until you feel you have the right notes that fit the mood you are looking for.

7. Now do the same with the chorus!

8. Once you've decided on a melody, it's time to work on the lyrics. Think about what you are writing about. Your first idea will give you clues as to where it should go. It could be something funny, it could be something metaphorical, or it could be very up front. The lyrics are what will give your music its personality.

9. Now you have your first song. Remember the easy structure formula:

If you want to learn more about song structure, check out this video:

10. You can start like this and then you can add a bridge or some more complicated structure. Remember also that there are no rules in music. Let yourself be carried away by your talent. The important thing about making a song is that the feeling is captured!

And most important of all! Keep practicing! Don't give up at the first try. It can be frustrating, but it is very important that you manage to finish the songs so that little by little you can notice your progress!