How to Write a Song:
Study the Masters

If you want to learn how to write a song, do what all successful songwriters do: Study great songs!

If you want to be a master songwriter, learn from the masters.

If you're just starting out, check out this page on beginner songwriting tips

If you've been writing songs for a while, you most likely are doing something right.

When you write regularly you get a feel for it. You develop an instinct for what is catchy, memorable and engaging. But you can take it further than that.

If you really want to learn how to write a song, learn the ropes from other successful songwriters. Listen to the songs on the radio!

learn how to write a song by listening to the radio© Sundown |

Think of a craftsman, say, someone who is good with wood. He may have a natural ability to carve or construct things from wood. If he does it all the time he's going to get really good at it. Especially if he has the right tools.

Now, if that same person studied woodworking as an apprentice, imagine how much faster he will learn his craft. By studying with the masters, he will learn shortcuts and techniques that might take him years longer on his own.

Same with songwriting.

By studying the techniques of hit songwriters, you learn what works and what doesn't. You learn how to write songs. That doesn't mean you have to give up your natural style, or change who you are.

It simply means you learn better ways to present your unique ideas.

By studying song form you can learn to better express those ideas which are unique to you. You learn to build a better vehicle to take your song ideas where you want them to go. Check out these different types of song structure.

So how do we study hit songs?

Listen to the radio! Listen to the radio with a critical ear. Listen closely and ask yourself a series of questions:

  • Why does this song appeal to me?
  • What is it about the chorus that I find so irresistible?
  • What emotion/s does the melody evoke?
  • Why do the lyrics speak to me?

Keep on asking yourself these questions. Dig for more questions. Keep digging deeper for more answers.

There can be many reasons why a song is so appealing. Find and analyse the reasons why it appeals to you.

Realise also, the importance of rewriting. If you settle for the first draft, you'll never find out how good your song can really be.

That's what all great songwriters have done and continue to do.

It's an ongoing process. You never stop learning how to write a song. So don't ever think you're done!

If you're just starting out, check out these tips for the beginning songwriter.

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