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What's In a Song? – 6 Tips To Start Writing Music

Jan 4, 2023 by Alex Ciona

Understanding the elements of songwriting is essential when writing or producing music.

When it comes to songwriting and music production, there are no wrong answers. But where do you start? How do you start? You have to pick the right starting point. So to start, here are a few things to focus on in your music creation. Use these songwriting tips to jumpstart your musical journey.

1. Start with a structure

Start with a plan of how you want to build your song. Creating a plan will help you see the details of your music before you start producing your song. Decide upfront if you wish to use a standard pop song format (Verse, Chorus, Bridge, etc.) or a longer piece. This can help you get started quickly.

After your initial plan, remember that you can continuously adapt the structure of your song. Don't limit your ideas when writing new music. No matter how you end up at the finish line, starting with a plan will give you some helpful, creative road signs before you even begin.

2. Start with a riff

A short, memorable melodic line can play a huge role in your songs. A riff can develop into a lead, a bassline, or a vocal. Starting with a catchy and singable melody will give you a solid focal point to build your song around.

A good riff can be all a song needs to get started. The best riffs feel as good to play as they sound, so go with your gut. Some music genres emphasize a riff more than others, but it's a helpful way to start for many styles. Try singing or humming to see if you can create an idea for your track. Riffs don't always come immediately, but they can pop into your head at the weirdest times. Save these ideas if you can and return to them for starting points.

3. Start with a groove

Starting with a groove is a great way to define the feel of a track. Start with a drum groove in your DAW, or use a looper pedal to create a rhythmic pulse with your instrument of choice. Looping a drum sample can work as well.

Think of it like a more musical click track to get you going. Try out some new meters or polyrhythms to expand your groove library. It can be easy to develop a melody by improvising over chords. The groove you start with doesn't need to end up in the final version of your song. Just let it be a starting point.

4. Start with the lyrics

Sometimes the whole mood of a song can come from one line. Don't worry if you get a great lyric before you have a piece to go with it. Writing lyrics first can help you create a setting for your song.

Start with a phrase and construct a melody to match your words with the theme. You may have to rephrase words or sentences to align with your song. Sometimes it's easier to change your melody rather than the lyrics. It can be a good starting point for helping the other elements emerge.

5. Start with the harmony

The chord progression is the foundation of your song. Developing a chord progression early on can help you solve structural issues upfront. Starting with harmony will give you a canvas to experiment with other elements.

Listen to how different chords complement each other as you mix and match. You don't have to play by the rules, either. Chords act more like starting points. Experiment with some odd progressions to get yourself started. If it sounds good, it's good!

6. Start with a tone

Getting a great tone on your synth or guitar rig can be inspiring. Starting with tone helps to craft the vibe of your track. The right style brings a mood into focus and helps you generate ideas. If you want your song to have a happy tone, write some lyrics that make you think about happiness or use a chord progression that sounds happy.

Once you've found the right tone, let the mood or colour lead your next steps. The other elements of your song should start to take shape—all in one inspiring manner.


These are some easy ways to help you get started. Writing music isn't hard when you open yourself up to new ideas. Let your mind soar and craft new ideas. Who knows? Maybe your next song could hit the charts!

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